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Mass Media and Censorship

Documents on propaganda and media control in the Soviet Union. The documents discuss Soviet attempts to control the flow of information, censoring media from both internal dissidents and external sources like the United States. See also Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (Image, Soviet stamp showing Ostankino TV Tower, Joseph Morris)

Popular Documents

December 20, 1980

Memorandum from the KGB Regarding the Planning of a Demonstration in Memory of John Lennon

KGB memo on plans to stop unauthorized gatherings mourning the death of John Lennon.

February 16, 1968

Memorandum to the CPSU CC from N. Mesyatsev, Chairman, Broadcast and Television Committee, Council of Ministers, USSR

This document discusses Western radio programming aimed at the intelligentsia and dissidents, and cites the use of samizdat by Western broadcasters.

January 17, 1957

Letter to Khrushchev from Radio Moscow Service Urging Creation of Warsaw Pact Radio Station

The following letter to Khrushchev in 1957 by members of the German Service of Radio Moscow proposed establishing a Soviet international broadcaster structured along the lines of Radio Free Europe, with formal independence from the government. Indirectly it acknowledges the effectiveness of RFE broadcasts.

June 2007

Once More about Radio Liberty. Folder 66. The Chekist Anthology.

Contains information on KGB active measures to undermine the activities and credibility of Radio Liberty, Radio Free Europe, and Voice of America during the mid 1970’s and early 1980’s. In one operation, personally authorized by KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov, the Spanish journal “Arriba” and 42 other Spanish journals published articles stating that Radio Liberty broadcasts into the USSR violated the Helsinki Accords because they impinged upon Soviet sovereignty, and were contrary to Spanish national interests. Following this activity, the Spanish leadership decided not to extend its agreement with the US which allowed Radio Liberty to broadcast from Spain. During a 1976 operation, an East German agent who worked as an international lawyer spread disinformation about Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty’s ‘illegal’ activities in 35 foreign embassies in Vienna. In October 1977, the KGB sent letters to a variety of Western news outlets, including the Washington Post, claiming to be from a group of Radio Free Europe employees. These letters were directed specifically at US Senators Edward Kennedy, Charles Percy, and Frank Church, and Representatives Edward Derwinsky, Clement Zablocky, Herman Badillo, and Berkley Bedell. In 1981, with the help of the journal “Pravda,” the KGB exposed the role of Radio Liberty in the ‘events’ in Poland.

June 2, 1988

Military Exercise Shchit-88 Intelligence Summary No. 2 for the period 0800 2 June to 1900 6 June 1988

This document provides background information on a hypothetical political/military scenario leading up to the command staff exercise SHICHT-88 [TARCZA-88 in Polish]. In the scenario 'Blue' military leaders have begun to oppose the policy of detente pursued by their governments and consequently have raised their level of combat readiness by increasing the frequency of military exercises and pressured 'Blue' governments into ending the destruction of intermediate-range nuclear forces as required by the 1987 Treaty on Intermediate Nuclear Forces in Europe. In response the 'Reds' have also raised their combat readiness. The increased international tension has affected the situation within Poland, contributing to increased anti-government sentiment.