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AGITPROPOTDEL

// АГИТПРОПОТДЕЛ // Агитационно-пропагандистский отдел Центрального Комитета ВКП(б) // Agitatsionno-propagandistskii otdel tsentral'nogo komiteta VKP(b) // Agitation and Propaganda Department of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks)

The Ninth Party Congress created the Agitation and Propaganda Department in September 1920.  With this creation, Bolshevik propaganda, central to political and everyday life, became "a surrogate reality" that reached beyond just informing citizens.  The Department developed theatre that staged political spectacles; the living newspaper was used on the street whereby actors read newspapers aloud to groups of citizens. Spontaneous readings later culminated into organized agitprop brigades that traveled to towns.  Another offering of Agitpropotdel was the Agitpunkt, a center often attached to a factory or institution offering workers a library, game room, chessboards, and in some cases, infant-sleeping areas.  The agitpunkt was also used in election seasons to inform citizens about campaign issues and the candidates running for the Communist Party. During the New Economic Policy era, Agitpropotdel had over thirty sub-departments for the press, science, schools, cinema, the arts, theater, literature, publishing houses and more. For example, Gosizdat, the State Publishing House, maintained its own agitation-propaganda department.Above all, Agitpropotdel's main directive was to monitor opinions of non-Bolshevik sources while developing Bolshevik views nationally and internationally. By the late 1920s, no Soviet citizen could become an editor, manager or writer of foreign news at any official Communist Party organ without approval by Agitpropotdel. It was also in charge of propaganda used by international Communist parties, and it directed Soviet radio propaganda around the world in various languages. After 1966, Agitpropotdel was re-named the Department of Propaganda, and prior to the collapse of the USSR, it was called the Ideology Department.