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The first issue of ‘Pravda’ newspaper published

5 May 1912

On April 22 (May 5), 1912 in Petersburg was published the first issue of the first daily legal worker’s newspaper in Russia created on Lenin’s initiative called ‘Pravda’. The newspaper issue started upon the resolution of the 6th All-Russian conference of RSDRP which took place in Prague in 1912 in reply to workers’ desire to have their own daily paper.

The editor in chief and head of ‘Pravda’ was V. I. Lenin. He determined its trend, selected its editorial personnel and authors, developed the paper’s structure. ‘Pravda’s editors and its active employees were Bolsheviks, the deputes of the 4th State Duma: A. E. Badayev, M. K. Muranov, G. I. Petrovsky, F. N. Samoilov, N. R. Shagov.

The paper’s objective was to ‘illuminate the path of the Russian workers movement with the international socialist and democracy light, spread the truth among workers about friends and enemies of the working class, watch over the interests of the workers policy…’.

‘Pravda’ was issued by means of volunteer inpayments of workers many of whom were its active employees, correspondents and distributors. Owing to their mass support the paper had a significant circulation for that time, in average 40 000 copies daily and up to 60 000 during some months.

In 1912-1914 ‘Pravda’ had been publishing the reports on the course of proletariat struggle in different Russian cities, letters about the conditions of work and everyday life of workers, materials on village life. The paper wrote about the necessity of confiscation of all landlords’ estates in favor of peasants, called to all the workers for struggling against monarchy, social and national oppression under the leadership of the working class.

‘Pravda’ had been subject to constant persecution of police. Within 2 years’ period it was closed down 8 times but continued to be issued under different names: ‘Rabochaya Pravda’, ‘Severnaya Pravda’, ‘Pravda Truda’, etc. On July 8 (21), 1914 the paper was closed down, its issue resumed on March 5 (18), 1917. The Provisional government continued to persecute the paper and it was obliged to change its names; ‘Listok Pravdy’, ‘Proletariat’, ‘Rabochiy’, ‘Rabochiy Put’.

On October 27 (November 9), 1917 the Central Organ of Bolshevik’s Party started to be issued under its original name. ‘Pravda’ promoted the strategy and tactics of Bolshevik’s party, conducted a serious ideological and educational work, published the Party’s key documents and materials, the works by Lenin.

With the liquidation of non communist press in 1918 ‘Pravda’ became the principal paper in the country. On its pages were always discussed the most significant issues of the day regarding the state policy and public life.

In 1922 to mark the occasion of the first ‘Pravda’ issue the 10th congress of RKP adopted the Decree on celebration of the Press Day on May 5.

In 1945 the paper was awarded with the Order of Lenin for outstanding achievements in mobilization of the Soviet people for building the socialist society and defense of Motherland during the Great Patriotic War. The 50th and 60th anniversaries of ‘Pravda’ were marked with awarding the second Order of Lenin and the Order of October Revolution respectively.

In 1975 the paper’s general one-time circulation was 10.6 million copies. It was printed simultaneously in 42 cities and towns. The paper was subscribed for in over 120 countries.

In the beginning of 1990s ‘Pravda’ repeatedly suspended and resumed its issue.

From April 1997 the paper became the organ of KPRF (Russian Federation Communist Party) which was confirmed by a special decree of the Party’s IV congress.

Lit.: День печати // Большая советская энциклопедия. М., Т. 8. 1972; Ежедневная рабочая газета «Правда». 22 апреля (5 мая) 1912 г. № 1; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: http://oldgazette.ru/pravda/05051912/index1.html; Андронов С. А., Цукасов С. В. Правда // Большая советская энциклопедия. М., Т. 20. 1975.