Speech at a Meeting of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the CPSU

(October 27, 1952)

I.V. Stalin

Our propaganda is bad, it is faeces, and not propaganda. Everybody is unhappy about the state of our propaganda. There is not a single member of the Politburo, who would have been pleased with the work of the Propaganda Department. Our cadres, especially the youth, have no in depth knowledge of Marxism. The strength of our older generation was in our good knowledge of Marxism, of political economy. Especially poor is the state of propaganda in newspapers, in particular in “Pravda”. The editor of “Pravda” Ilyichev is weak. He’s just too small a person for such a huge task. It is necessary to appoint a chief editor of “Pravda” who would be stronger than him, and let him learn.

“Pravda” is a daily newspaper. It should summarize the experience of all other newspapers. It should be reprinting good articles and excerpts from other newspapers. “Pravda” should be the main basis for the work of the Propaganda Department. Well, whom do you propose to appoint as the chief editor of “Pravda”? You cannot postpone this for a hundred years. - No one spoke. - Well, you don’t know people.

We must also think of better management of the industry. We must have a single Department of Industry and Transport and place at the head of it a capable man. We have to supervise the cadres, to scrutinize them and to nominate young people timely for leadership positions. We have many talented young people, but we do not know the young cadres. But if a person is nominated to do some work and will sit at this place for 10 years without further promotion, he ceases to grow and is lost as an employee. How many people have been lost because of the fact that they were not promoted in time.

It going is bad with the agriculture. Party officials do not know the history of agriculture in Europe, do not know how business is done with livestock in the United States. They only sign papers and by doing so they corrode the work.

Our young staff is poorly trained in theoretical terms, they need help to grow. Lectures, of course, are a useful thing, but a major role in the growth of staff must be played by printed propaganda.

In order to manage the whole Party’s ideological work it is necessary to create a Permanent Commission on ideological issues within the Presidium of the Central Committee. The committee must choose 10-20 skilled workers - the apparatus of the commission. We must have people there with the knowledge of languages - English, German, French (now it is less common), Spanish (Spanish is spoken by over 120 million people). We need to find who knows the Chinese language. Maybe take Fedorenko? We must ensure that all of them receive good salary.

The Commission on ideological issues should help to raise the printed propaganda of Marxism. The basis for the work of this commission should be the journal “Bolshevik.” This magazine isn’t functioning properly, cheapskate-like. You need to put it together so that it sets a standard for other journals. We need to revise the composition of the Editorial Board. What for do we need Ilyichev? We can even have two editors in there.

In “Bolshevik” we have to give reviews and critical articles on local magazines, “firing” at them, helping them to improve their work. The Commission should take under its supervision the work of the journals “Problems of Philosophy,” “Economic Issues”, “Questions of History” and perhaps of some other magazines. It’s time to end the shameful practice of reprinting various decisions of the Party and government in theoretical journals, because it means trailing behind the events.

We need to seriously promote political economy and philosophy. Just do not get too involved in the unity of opposites, this is Hegelian terminology.

Americans reject Marxism, slander us, trying to discredit us. We must expose them. It is necessary to acquaint people with the ideology of the enemy, to criticize this ideology, and this will equip our workforce.

We have now not only national policy to conduct, but the world politics as well.

Americans want to subordinate everything to themselves. But America is not respected in any capital city of the world.

It should be up to “Pravda” and party journals to expand horizons of our people, to take wider horizons, we are a world power. Do not dig in small matters. We are afraid to write on foreign policy issues, waiting for the signals from above.

We need popular brochures on various topics. In the olden days there were such pamphlets as “Who lives from what?” Or “What does every worker need to know?” Many workers began their political economy education with this booklet. We now need brochures that would be more serious, more deep, but these brochures are indeed needed.

In our lectures there is little depth, but they do give something. Sometimes we must travel to give lectures on location. In general, for ideological work, for control we must go on location for a couple of weeks.

Questions of History, 1998. Number 7, pp. 33-34.
Recorded by D.T. Shepilov and P.F. Yudin. [C. 590]

I.V. Stalin, Works, Volume 18. – Tver: Information Publishing Centre “Union”, 2006, pp. .588-590.

Translated from the Russian by Dr. Elena Lavrina

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