Soviet Union. TASS

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TASS, the Telegraph Agency of the USSR, was founded in July 1925 with the goal of centralizing control over the distribution of foreign news in the Soviet Union under the oversight of the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs and the Soviet of Peoples' Commissars (Sovnarkom ). Until the collapse of the USSR, TASS remained the single most important supplier of foreign news to the Soviet mass media, a major producer of domestic news, and a key instrument for conveying information and propaganda from the Soviet government to foreign governments and populations. After 1991 TASS became ITAR-TASS (Information Telegraph Agency of Russia), the central information distributor for the Russian Federation.

TASS's predecessor, the Russian Telegraph Agency, or ROSTA, was founded by the Bolsheviks in September 1918 and charged with an array of functions including provision of news reports to the Soviet press, instruction of journalists in training, and supervision of provincial newspapers. ROSTA staff and financial resources were clearly not adequate to these huge tasks and, in fact, the provincial press was run by local initiatives during the civil war. In the winter of 1921 to 1922 the newly created Press Section of the Party Central Committee's Agitprop Department took over supervision of the provincial press and ROSTA was restricted to wire service functions.

TASS never had a monopoly on the collection and distribution of either foreign or domestic news. Until the late 1920s RATAU, the Ukrainian Republic's official wire service, maintained correspondents abroad and engaged in a series of turf wars with ROSTA/TASS over distribution of foreign news in Ukraine. Major newspapers such as Pravda, Izvestia, and Trud (the central labor union newspaper) generally posted several correspondents abroad.

In addition to its public news distribution functions, TASS supplied "Not for Press" information bulletins to Soviet leaders during the late 1920s and most likely for most of Soviet history.

See also: journalism; sovnarkom


Hopkins, Mark W. (1970). Mass Media in the Soviet Union. New York: Pegasus Publishing.

Mueller, Julie Kay. (1992). "A New Kind of Newspaper: The Origins and Development of a Soviet Institution, 19211928." Ph.D. dissertation, University of California-Berkeley.

Matthew E. Lenoe

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TASS (acronym for Telegrafnoye Agentsvo Sovyetskovo Soyuza) News agency of the former Soviet Union. Affiliated with press agencies around the world, it was one of the major news services used by the Western press.

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Tass / täs; tas/ the official news agency of the former Soviet Union, renamed ITAR-Tass in 1992.

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Tass the official news agency of the former Soviet Union, renamed ITAR-Tass in 1992.

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a heap; a small cup, hence, its contents; a pile.

Examples : tass of the bodies dead, 1386; of brandy, 1818; of cherry brandy, 1859; of corn, 1440; of hay, 1887; of tea, 1825; of wine, 1583.

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tass cup, small goblet. XV. — (O)F. tasse — Arab. ⃛ass(a) basin — Pers. tast.

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Tass (tæs) Telegrafnoye Agentstvo Sovetskovo Soyuza (Russian news agency)

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TASS Transport Aircraft Servicing Specialist (in the RAF)