Pravda (Russian: Правда, IPA: [ˈpravdə] (listen), "Truth") is a Russian broadsheet newspaper, formerly the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, when it was one of the most influential papers in the country with a circulation of 11 million.[1] The newspaper began publication on 5 May 1912 in the Russian Empire, but was already extant abroad in January 1911.[2] It emerged as a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union after the October Revolution. The newspaper was an organ of the Central Committee of the CPSU between 1912 and 1991.[3]

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Pravda was sold off by Russian President Boris Yeltsin to a Greek business family, and the paper came under the control of their private company Pravda International.[1][4]

In 1996, there was an internal dispute between the owners of Pravda International and some of the Pravda journalists which led to Pravda splitting into different entities. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation acquired the Pravda paper, while some of the original Pravda journalists separated to form Russia's first online paper (and the first online English paper), which is not connected to the Communist Party.[4][5] After a legal dispute between the rival parties, the Russian court of arbitration stipulated that both entities would be allowed to continue using the Pravda name.[6]

The Pravda paper is today run by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, whereas the online is privately owned and has international editions published in Russian, English, French and Portuguese.

Газета Правда
Kotlasskiy kraevedcheskiy musey (093)
The front page of Pravda on 23 June 1941, including a printed radio speech by Molotov
TypeTriweekly newspaper
Owner(s)Communist Party of the Russian Federation
EditorBoris Komotsky
Founded5 May 1912 (officially)
Political alignmentCommunism
Headquarters24, Pravda Street, Moscow
Circulation100,300 (2013)
WebsitePravda's website (CPRF branch)


Pre-revolutionary Pravda

Though Pravda officially began publication on 5 May 1912 (22 April 1912 OS), the anniversary of Karl Marx's birth, its origins trace back to 1903 when it was founded in Moscow by a wealthy railway engineer, V.A. Kozhevnikov. Pravda had started publishing in the light of the Russian Revolution of 1905.[7]

During its earliest days, Pravda had no political orientation. Kozhevnikov started it as a journal of arts, literature and social life. Kozhevnikov was soon able to form up a team of young writers including A.A. Bogdanov, N.A Rozhkov, M.N Pokrovsky, I.I Skvortsov-Stepanov, P.P Rumyantsev and M.G. Lunts, who were active contributors on 'social life' section of Pravda. Later they became the editorial board of the journal and in the near future also became the active members of the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP).[7] Because of certain quarrels between Kozhevnikov and the editorial board, he had asked them to leave and the Menshevik faction of the RSDLP took over as Editorial Board. But the relationship between them and Kozhevnikov was also a bitter one.[7]

The Ukrainian political party Spilka, which was also a splinter group of the RSDLP, took over the journal as its organ. Leon Trotsky was invited to edit the paper in 1908 and the paper was finally moved to Vienna in 1909. By then, the editorial board of Pravda consisted of hard-line Bolsheviks who sidelined the Spilka leadership soon after it shifted to Vienna.[8] Trotsky had introduced a tabloid format to the newspaper and distanced itself from the intra-party struggles inside the RSDLP. During those days, Pravda gained a large audience among Russian workers. By 1910 the Central Committee of the RSDLP suggested making Pravda its official organ.

First Issue of PRAVDA
First published PRAVDA dated 5 May 1912 (22 April 1912 OS).

Finally, at the sixth conference of the RSDLP held in Prague in January 1912, the Menshevik faction was expelled from the party. The party under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin decided to make Pravda its official mouthpiece. The paper was shifted from Vienna to St. Petersburg and the first issue under Lenin's leadership was published on 5 May 1912 (22 April 1912 OS).[9] It was the first time that Pravda was published as a legal political newspaper. The Central Committee of the RSDLP, workers and individuals such as Maxim Gorky provided financial help to the newspaper. The first issue published on 5 May cost two kopeks and had four pages. It had articles on economic issues, workers movement, and strikes, and also had two proletarian poems. M.E. Egorov was the first editor of St. Petersburg Pravda and Member of Duma N.G. Poletaev served as its publisher.[10]

Egorov was not a real editor of Pravda but this position was pseudo in nature. As many as 42 editors had followed Egorov within a span of two years, till 1914. The main task of these editors was to go to jail whenever needed and to save the party from a huge fine.[10] On the publishing side, the party had chosen only those individuals as publishers who were sitting members of Duma because they had parliamentary immunity. Initially, it had sold between 40,000 and 60,000 copies.[10] The paper was closed down by tsarist censorship in July 1914. Over the next two years, it changed its name eight times because of police harassment:[11]

  • Рабочая правда (Rabochaya Pravda, Worker's Truth)
  • Северная правда (Severnaya Pravda Northern Truth)
  • За правду (Za Pravdu, For Truth)
  • Пролетарская правда (Proletarskaya Pravda, Proletarian Truth)
  • Путь правды (Put' Pravdy, The Way of Truth)
  • Рабочий (Rabochiy, The Worker)
  • Трудовая правда (Trudovaya Pravda, Labor's Truth)

During the 1917 Revolution

16 March 1917: Pravda reports the declaration of Polish independence.

The overthrow of Tsar Nicholas II by the February Revolution of 1917 allowed Pravda to reopen. The original editors of the newly reincarnated Pravda, Vyacheslav Molotov and Alexander Shlyapnikov, were opposed to the liberal Russian Provisional Government. However, when Lev Kamenev, Joseph Stalin and former Duma deputy Matvei Muranov returned from Siberian exile on 12 March, they took over the editorial board – starting with 15 March.[12] Under Kamenev's and Stalin's influence, Pravda took a conciliatory tone towards the Provisional Government—"insofar as it struggles against reaction or counter-revolution"—and called for a unification conference with the internationalist wing of the Mensheviks. On 14 March, Kamenev wrote in his first editorial:

What purpose would it serve to speed things up, when things were already taking place at such a rapid pace?[13]

and on 15 March he supported the war effort:

When army faces army, it would be the most insane policy to suggest to one of those armies to lay down its arms and go home. This would not be a policy of peace, but a policy of slavery, which would be rejected with disgust by a free people.[14]

Soviet period

Delegates at the 17th Congress of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks)
A delegate at 17th Congress of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) holding Pravda newspaper (1934)
RIAN archive 669616 Wartime city life - Moscow in October - December 1941
A soldier reading Pravda during the Second World War. October -December 1941-RIAN
Inside Pravda editorial office.
RIAN archive 708414 Front pages of Pravda newspaper issues
Pravda frontpages from the 1960s.

The offices of the newspaper were transferred to Moscow on 3 March 1918 when the Soviet capital was moved there. Pravda became an official publication, or "organ", of the Soviet Communist Party. Pravda became the conduit for announcing official policy and policy changes and would remain so until 1991. Subscription to Pravda was mandatory for state run companies, the armed services and other organizations until 1989.[15]

Other newspapers existed as organs of other state bodies. For example, Izvestia, which covered foreign relations, was the organ of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, Trud was the organ of the trade union movement, Bednota was distributed to the Red Army and rural peasants. Various derivatives of the name Pravda were used both for a number of national newspapers (Komsomolskaya Pravda was the organ of the Komsomol organization, and Pionerskaya Pravda was the organ of the Young Pioneers), and for the regional Communist Party newspapers in many republics and provinces of the USSR, e.g. Kazakhstanskaya Pravda in Kazakhstan, Polyarnaya Pravda in Murmansk Oblast, Pravda Severa in Arkhangelsk Oblast, or Moskovskaya Pravda in the city of Moscow.

Shortly after the October 1917 Revolution, Nikolai Bukharin became the Editor of Pravda.[16] Bukharin's apprenticeship for this position had occurred during the last months of his emigration/exile prior to Bukharin's return to Russia in April 1917.[17] These months from November 1916 until April 1917 were spent by Bukharin in New York City in the United States. In New York, Bukharin divided his time between the local libraries and his work for Novyj Mir (The New World) a Russian language newspaper serving the Russian speaking community of New York.[18] Bukharin's involvement with Novyj Mir became deeper as time went by. Indeed, from January 1917 until April when he returned to Russia, Bukharin served as de facto Editor of Novyj Mir.Z[18] In the period after the death of Lenin in 1924, Pravda was to form a power base for Nikolai Bukharin, one of the rival party leaders, who edited the newspaper, which helped him reinforce his reputation as a Marxist theoretician. Bukharin would continue to serve as Editor of Pravda until he and Mikhail Tomsky were removed from their responsibilities at Pravda in February 1929 as part of their downfall as a result of their dispute with Josef Stalin.[19]

A number of places and things in the Soviet Union were named after Pravda. Among them was the city of Pravdinsk in Gorky Oblast (the home of a paper mill producing much newsprint for Pravda and other national newspapers), and a number of streets and collective farms.

As the names of the main Communist newspaper and the main Soviet newspaper, Pravda and Izvestia, meant "the truth" and "the news" respectively, a popular saying was "there's no truth in Pravda and no news in Izvestia".[20]

Post-Soviet period

Pravda was closed down for a brief period on 30 July 1996. Some of Pravda's journalists established their own English language online newspaper known as Pravda Online.[21] Pravda is witnessing hard times and the number of its staff members and print run has been significantly reduced. During the Soviet era it was a daily newspaper but today it publishes three times a week.[22]

Pravda still operates from the same headquarters at Pravda Street from where journalists used to prepare Pravda every day during the Soviet era. It operates under the leadership of journalist Boris Komotsky. A function was organised by the CPRF on 5 July 2012 to celebrate 100 years since the publication of the first official issue of Pravda.[23]


See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b Specter, Michael (31 July 1996). "Russia's Purveyor of 'Truth', Pravda, Dies After 84 Years". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  2. ^ V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Progress Publishers Moscow, Volume 17, p.45
  3. ^ Merrill, John C. and Harold A. Fisher. The world's great dailies: profiles of fifty newspapers (1980) pp 242–49
  4. ^ a b "Pravda | Soviet newspaper". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  5. ^ "Which Pravda did John McCain write about Syria for?". the Guardian. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  6. ^ "There is no Pravda. There is Pravda.Ru". English Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  7. ^ a b c White, James D. (April 1974). "The first Pravda and the Russian Marxist Tradition". Soviet Studies, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 181–204. Accessed 6 October 2012.
  8. ^ Corney, Frederick. (September 1985). "Trotskii and the Vienna Pravda, 1908–1912". Canadian Slavonic Papers. Vol. 27, No. 3, pp. 248–268. Accessed 6 October 2012.
  9. ^ Bassow, Whitman. (February 1954) "The Pre Revolutionary Pravda and Tsarist Censorship". American Slavic and East European Review. Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 47–65. Accessed 6 October 2012.
  10. ^ a b c Elwood, Carter Ralph. (June 1972) "Lenin and Pravda, 1912–1914". Slavic Review. Vol. 31, No. 2, pp. 355–380. Accessed 6 October 2012.
  11. ^ See Tony Cliff's Lenin (1975), Chapter 19
  12. ^ Leon Trotsky, History of the Russian Revolution, translated by Max Eastman, Chicago, Haymarket Books, 2008, p. 209
  13. ^ See Marcel Liebman, Leninism under Lenin, London, J. Cape, 1975, ISBN 978-0-224-01072-6 p.123
  14. ^ See E. H. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, London, Macmillan Publishers, 1950, vol. 1, p. 75.
  15. ^ See Mark Hooker. The Military Uses of Literature: Fiction and the Armed Forces in the Soviet Union, Westport, CT, Praeger Publishers, 1996, ISBN 978-0-275-95563-2 p.34
  16. ^ Stephen F. Cohen, Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography, 1888–1938 (Oxford University Press: London, 1980) p. 43.
  17. ^ Stephen F. Cohen, Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography, 1888–1938, p. 44.
  18. ^ a b Stephen F. Cohen, Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography, 1888–1938, p. 43.
  19. ^ Stephen F. Cohen, Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography, 1888–1938, p. 311.
  20. ^ Overholser, Geneva. (12 May 1987). "The Editorial Notebook; Dear Pravda" New York Times. Accessed 6 October 2012.
  21. ^ "Russia's Purveyor of 'Truth', Pravda, Dies After 84 Years". The New York Times. 31 July 1996.
  22. ^ "The Communist Party of the Russian Federation today".
  23. ^ Sharma, Rajendra. (13 May 2012) "Pravda at a hundred: Alive and Fighting" People's Democracy (Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)). Loklahar, New Delhi. Vol. XXXVI, No. 19. Accessed 6 October 2012.

Further reading

  • Brooks, Jeffrey. Thank You, Comrade Stalin!: Soviet Public Culture from Revolution to Cold War (Princeton Up, 2001) on the language of Pravda and Izvestia
  • Cookson, Matthew (11 October 2003). The spark that lit a revolution. Socialist Worker, p. 7.
  • Merrill, John C. and Harold A. Fisher. The world's great dailies: profiles of fifty newspapers (1980) pp 242–49
  • Pöppel, Ludmila. "The rhetoric of Pravda editorials: A diachronic study of a political genre." (Stockholm U. 2007). online

External links

2019 Ukrainian presidential election

The 2019 Ukrainian presidential election was held on 31 March and 21 April in a two-round system.

There were a total of 39 candidates for the election on the ballot. The 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia and the occupation of parts of Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast prevented around 12% of eligible voters from participating in the election. As no candidate received an absolute majority of the vote, a second round was held between the top two candidates, Volodymyr Zelensky, who currently plays the role of Ukraine's president in a popular television comedy and the incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko, on 21 April 2019. According to preliminary results from the Central Election Commission, Zelensky won the second round with 73.22% of the votes.

Cassette Scandal

The Cassette Scandal (Ukrainian: Касетний скандал), also known as Tapegate or Kuchmagate, erupting in 2000, so named due to tape recordings of Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma apparently ordering the kidnap of a journalist, was one of the main political events in Ukraine's post-independence history. It has dramatically affected the country's domestic and foreign policy, changing Ukraine's orientation at the time from Russia to the West and damaging Kuchma's career.

The scandal started on 28 November 2000, in Kiev, when Ukrainian politician Oleksandr Moroz publicly accused President Kuchma of involvement in the abduction of journalist Georgiy Gongadze and numerous other crimes. Moroz named Kuchma's former bodyguard, Major Mykola Melnychenko, as the source. He also played selected recordings of the President's secret conversations for journalists, supposedly confirming Kuchma's order to kidnap Gongadze. That and hundreds of other conversations were later published worldwide by Melnychenko.

Journalists nicknamed the case after the compact audio cassette used by Moroz. Melnychenko himself was supposedly using digital equipment, not cassettes, for recording in the President's office.

Christian Pravda

Christian Pravda (March 8, 1927 – November 11, 1994) was an alpine ski racer.

He was born in Kufstein, Austria.

At age 20, he participated in the 1948 Winter Olympics in the slalom, but was disqualified.

At the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway, Pravda won two medals: silver in giant slalom and a bronze medal in the downhill.

Pravda won the prestigious Hahnenkamm downhill twice, in 1951 and 1954. He also won the Wengen downhill in 1954, the first of only ten racers to win both of these classic downhills in the same year.

Civil Position

Civil Position or Civic Position (Ukrainian: „Громадянська позиція“) is a political party in Ukraine registered in March 2005. It is led by former Minister of Defence of Ukraine Anatoliy Hrytsenko.

Democratic Alliance (Ukraine)

Democratic Alliance (Ukrainian: Демократичний альянс) is a political party in Ukraine, registered in September 2011, formed on an anti-corruption platform.

Dizzy with Success

"Dizzy with Success: Concerning Questions of the Collective-Farm Movement" (Russian: Головокруже́ние от успе́хов. К вопро́сам колхо́зного движе́ния, tr. Golovokruzhéniye ot uspékhov. K voprósam kolkhóznogo dvizhéniya) is an article by Joseph Stalin that was published in Pravda on March 2, 1930. In the article, Stalin claimed that agricultural collectivization had been carried out with excessive zeal, leading to "excesses" that had to be corrected.

Komsomolskaya Pravda

Komsomolskaya Pravda (Russian: Комсомо́льская пра́вда; lit. "Komsomol Truth") is a daily Russian tabloid newspaper, founded on 13 March 1925.

Pionerskaya Pravda

Pionerskaya Pravda (Пионе́рская Пра́вда) is an all-Russian newspaper. Initially it was an all-Union newspaper of the Soviet Union. Its name may be translated as "Truth for Young Pioneers".

The newspaper has been founded March 6, 1925 in Moscow. In the 1970s and 1980s its circulation approached 10,000,000 (almost every child in the Soviet Union had a subscription). Its title followed the name of the main Soviet newspaper of the time, Pravda, as did multiple other newspapers.

The newspaper continues to exist today, but now it is not associated with Young Pioneers, and the circulation is greatly reduced.

Similar newspapers were published in other languages of the USSR: as of 1974, six newspapers in Russian and 22 in other languages.

Pravda, Tajikistan

Pravda is a town and jamoat in north-western Tajikistan. It is located in Istarawshan District in Sughd province. The jamoat has a total population of 11,652.

Pravda-class submarine

The Pravda class or P-class submarines were built for the Soviet Navy in the mid-1930s. They originally served as training ships, then later served in World War II for mainly transport duties. They were intended to operate with the surface fleet but failed to meet specifications, particularly for surface speed. The initial design envisaged 130 mm (5 in) guns for surface action. These boats had a long building time, being laid down in 1931 and completed in 1936.

They were double hull boats with eight compartments. Their main shortcomings were underpowered machinery, a long diving time and poor seakeeping. Weakness in hull strength had to be remedied by stiffening and weight cutting. Yakubov and Worth state that these were the least successful Soviet submarines of this era and were relegated to secondary duties on completion. The two surviving boats had their conning towers re-built to resemble the later K class. (Russian: Правда.Ру, lit. 'truth') formerly Pravda Online, is a Russian internet news website established in 1999 and owned by Holding headed by Vadim Gorshenin.

Pravda (Slovakia)

Pravda (the Slovak word for "Truth") is a major centre-left, newspaper in Slovakia. It is owned by PEREX.

Pravda (play)

Pravda is a satirical play by David Hare and Howard Brenton exploring the role of journalism in society. It was first produced at the National Theatre in London on 2 May 1985, directed by Hare and starring Anthony Hopkins in the role of Lambert Le Roux, white South African media mogul. It is a satire on the mid-1980s newspaper industry, in particular the Australian media and press baron Rupert Murdoch. Its title refers to the Russian Communist party newspaper Pravda.

The play won 1985 Best Play Award from both the London Evening Standard Awards and City Limits magazine.


Qılıncbəyli (known as Pravda until 1998) is a village and municipality in the Shamkir Rayon of Azerbaijan, located at 243 metres above sea level. It has a population of 1,277.

Russkaya Pravda

Rus' Justice (Rus' Justice or Rus’ Law; Old East Slavic: Правда роусьскаꙗ, Pravda Rusĭskaya (13th century, 1280), Правда Руськая, Pravda Rus'kaya (second half of the 15th century); Russian: Русская правда, Russkaya Pravda; Ukrainian: Руська Правда, Rus'ka Pravda) was the legal code of Kievan Rus' and the subsequent Rus' principalities during the times of feudal division. It was written at the beginning of the 12th century and remade during many centuries. The basis of the Russkaya Pravda, Pravda of Yaroslav was written at the beginning of the 11th century. Russkaya Pravda was a main source of Old Russian Law.In spite of great influence of Byzantine legislation on the contemporary world, and in spite of great cultural and commercial ties between Byzantium and Kievan Rus', Rus' Justice bore no similarity whatsoever to that of the Byzantine Empire. The absence of capital and corporal punishment rather reflects the Norse way of thought.

Ukrayinska Pravda

Ukrayinska Pravda (Ukrainian: Українська правда, literally Ukrainian Truth) is a popular Ukrainian online newspaper founded by Georgiy R. Gongadze on 16 April 2000 (the day of the Ukrainian constitutional referendum). Published mainly in Ukrainian with selected articles published in or translated to Russian and English, the newspaper is tailored for a general readership with emphasis on the hot issues of the politics of Ukraine. The Ukrainian government has at times reportedly exerted pressure on the publication to restrict access to information.Along with Hromadske TV and Center UA (Center for United Action), Ukrayinska Pravda is part of the Kyiv MediaHub.

Volodymyr Zelensky

Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelensky (Ukrainian: Володимир Олександрович Зеленський, also romanized Zelenskyi or Zelenskyy; Russian: Влади́мир Алекса́ндрович Зеле́нский , also romanized Zelenskiy; born 25 January 1978) is a Ukrainian politician, screenwriter, actor, comedian, and director who was elected President of Ukraine in the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election.

Prior to his political career, he obtained a degree in law and created a production company, Kvartal 95, which produces films, cartoons and TV comedy shows. Kvartal 95 created a television series called Servant of the People, in which Zelensky played the role of President of Ukraine. The series aired from 2015 to 2019. A namesake political party bearing the same name as the television show was created in March 2018 by employees of Kvartal 95.Zelensky announced his candidacy on the eve of 31 December 2018, upstaging the New Year's Eve address of President Petro Poroshenko on 1+1 TV Channel. Six months before Zelensky announced his candidacy, he was already one of the frontrunners in opinion polls for the election. Zelensky won the election with 73.22% of the vote, defeating incumbent Petro Poroshenko.

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