First, the work of the editorial offices is being reorganized in the direction of achieving the effectiveness of the performances of the slave farmers.
In some places on its first pages there were even elements of political discussions between supporters of Bolshevism, ie criticism of the then leaders, there were even friendly caricatures of Lenin, Trotsky and other party leaders and leaders of the Soviet state. In Stalin’s time such "arbitrariness" was impossible, and it was not so much an inevitable punishment as a change in the mentality of those who remained to work in the newsrooms after numerous waves of "cleansing" and repression. After 1929, the party’s policies or its consequences could not be criticized. It was allowed, in agreement with the party committees, to criticize individual lower-level party workers.
The local press did not have such "privileges", and therefore continued to publish materials on the strengthening of Soviet power in the country, in particular, on the progress of spring work, the resumption of industry, the need to reduce prices, and so on.
In the short Leninist period, another powerful social phenomenon, the Robsilkor movement, originated. Based on the leader’s will to have 50 or 500 contributors from among the workers and peasants in each editorial office for 5 full-time employees, the editorial offices began not only to give readers the opportunity to publish in newspapers (of course, under the close supervision of editors and within strict limits). them before.
In contrast to the so-called "bourgeois" newspapers, where the circle of authors was very narrow (professional journalists of high quality, politicians, intellectuals, etc.) in the party-Soviet press editorial offices were obliged to give at least 60 percent of newspaper space for publications of workers ‘and peasants’ correspondents. …
Until 1922, party newspapers simply printed a large number of letters to the editorial offices from workers, Red Army soldiers from the fronts, and peasants. In some places, they contained harsh criticism of certain local figures, and, in accordance with the procedure adopted at the time, the responses of those who had been criticized soon appeared.
At the same time, the editorial offices did not delve into the real state of affairs (for example, with repeated control by journalists as to the veracity of the answers sent). In the binders of those years, it is very difficult to find examples of newspapers returning to previous publications – even in the central Pravda, which has always set the tone for the local press. What was not in the central body of the party, could not be in other publications.
But as early as the end of 1923, the editorial board began to raise the issue of slave labor to a new organizational level. Thus, in the newspaper "Visty of the All-Ukrainian Executive Committee of the Soviets of Workers ‘, Peasants’ and Red Army Deputies and the Provincial Executive Committee of Kharkiv Region" the column "They write to us" becomes permanent.
In general, the letters define a fairly accurate vision of local problems, openness in their formulation, a sincere desire to solve them as soon as possible with the help of the press. However, those letters could not have very deep generalizations, much less contain "counter-revolutionary" views that would differ from the party’s proclaimed line.
Editors try to expand the author’s assets in every possible way, and since they have thousands of copies, it is used quite effectively: for example, in the center of the pages of the mentioned "News …", composed of letters, typed in large letters the appeal: "Read? Write about yourself." For the same purpose, the editorial offices openly support the bold speeches of activists. For example, the article "Attention to Robsilkor’s word" condemns the activities of the director – the clamp of criticism.
Subsequently, the editors move to a more complex form of cooperation with slaveholders: begin to give them editorial tasks, and the All-Ukrainian Communist Party press puts them in a broad sense:
"The matter of public catering, which is becoming more and more acute every day, … is a matter of public character, the nature of its organization must also be public … This matter is very important and it would be very desirable for our slavery and the whole working community to accept most active participation in its discussion in the pages of our press ("News …", 1924, April 3).
An even more eloquent example of the complication of the forms and methods of working with slaveholders is the holding, according to the newspaper’s announcement, of a demonstration "trial" of three slaveholders on the stage of one of the theaters.
A qualitatively new stage of this movement began when the practice of printing letters under the pseudonyms "Rabkor Cloud", "Burning", or simply "Rabkor" ("News …", 1924, December 17) spread. This, on the one hand, allowed the editors to increase the sharpness of the publications – but, on the other hand, increased the irresponsibility of the authors of the letters. Conflicts between them and the "heroes" of their speeches grew from the level of specific situations to the level of a political problem. This is evidenced by the dispute that arose during the All-Ukrainian meeting on work in the countryside:
"Regarding the work of farmers, which caused a lot of discussion among the delegates, Comrade. Kholyavsky (Head of the Organizing Committee of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Belarus) notes that the opinion in his theses about the management of the work of farmers is not to limit their work, as several delegates understood, but the management. Silkors are the leaders of rural society and it is necessary that their work does not discredit the Soviet apparatus in the countryside in vain. it is necessary to manage the villagers so that they work for the benefit of the party. "(News …", 1924, December 5).
At least three important conclusions can be drawn from this short quote. First, the Silkor movement felt resistance not only among the real class enemies, but also among the new Soviet bureaucracy, and thus it became a real force.
The fact is that the decisions of the VIII Congress of the RCP (B) contain an extremely important provision that annoyed both enemies and party bureaucrats: “Persons or institutions whose actions are mentioned in the press are obliged to give as soon as possible on the pages of the same newspaper business factual rebuttal or indicate corrected deficiencies and errors. If such a rebuttal or instruction does not appear, the Revolutionary Tribunal shall institute proceedings against the said persons or institutions. "
For the local government, which Lenin did not like and called "the worst medium between the workers and the Soviet government," this situation became very burdensome precisely with the rapid development of newspaper activity. There was a problem of leadership: from whose side, on what basis, in whose interests? The answer was as follows: it is necessary to govern in favor of the party, not the local leadership. in other words, the local Soviet apparatus could not be discredited "for nothing," but only for the benefit of the whole party.
Secondly, not everything in the Silkoriv movement itself was unquestionable, and reasonable criticism was leveled against it. Sometimes the slaveholders, without the permission of the party, annoyed those who could not be criticized. Sometimes "insufficiently substantiated" notes were printed. There was a question of increasing the level of preparation of their materials. It is very interesting that the problem of "authorship", which with the beginning of the use of pseudonyms gained additional incentives, was not covered in the then personal narrative writing ideas Communist Party press.
But it was written about abroad, which indicates the widespread use of this disgraceful practice for the free press. In a slightly different period of time, in the first years after World War II, the publicist O. Hornovy wrote in the emigrant press:
"The Soviet press is constantly swarming with all sorts of appeals, letters, telegrams, which, as it were, are composed by the workers themselves. We are all well aware of the technique of composing and signing such appeals and letters. They are brought by Bolshevik officials ready from the district and forced to sign rallies under direct or indirect terror. "
It is no longer possible to quantify which part of the slaveholders actually wrote their materials for the editorial offices, and which signed the finished text "for the author."
Thirdly, not everything was in order in terms of "ideological purity": here the Communists also had to be vigilant, because the villagers, as we see, even at party meetings sought more freedom for themselves, and this could be dangerous: getting out of party control was one of the most dangerous political crimes of those and subsequent times.
Eventually, a significant increase in the number of slave farmers began to require improvements in organizational forms and methods of work. The same all-Ukrainian newspaper sets the task of strengthening this work: "We need to organize slaveholders and farmers" – and offers specific forms: to organize not around party committees, but around their newspapers ("News …", 1924, December 14).
Already at the end of 1924 the editorial board of the all-Ukrainian newspaper had grounds to report on the results of the work carried out:
"Our press has become a really mass press, tens of thousands of workers and peasants take part in it. If not so long ago our newspapers were agitators and propagandists mainly, now they become real" collective organizers ", because tens of thousands of workers and village correspondents, workers and village readers interfere in our construction "(" Visty … ", 1924). , December 14).
With the growth of quantitative indicators, the movement underwent certain qualitative changes. The main one should be considered the transition from "signaling" to real political struggle. First, the work of the editorial offices is being reorganized in the direction of achieving the effectiveness of the performances of the slave farmers. In Kharkiv’s "News …" there is a new permanent column "Responses to articles and notes of" News ".
In 1924, such a column was not here, and in 1925-1927 it already appears once a week and even more often, and the content of responses to criticism, including the signals of slave farmers, are specific, constructive (see for example, "News …", 1927, March 29, April 1 and beyond). The so-called "bourgeois" press of the time did not produce anything like this in terms of purpose, and due to the disunity of the editorial offices, their disobedience to one center, it was unable to do so, and did not consider it necessary. Above the concepts of efficiency and mass here was the concept of creative freedom and independence.
Secondly, the content of the speeches of the party-Soviet newspapers increasingly turned in the direction of intensifying the class struggle. Instead of solving the problems of building a society in which the majority of the population would be economically prosperous and politically united on this basis, the party’s course increasingly turned to inciting class hatred, harassing one part of the people against another, and keeping the population in poverty.