‘When the Soviet Information Bureau, which is a government body, registers the heroic deeds of one or another soldier or commander, it does not hand out honour and glory in the way some of our correspondents do. It seems to me that these people do not attach enough importance to the meaning of words in the Russian language. They do not understand that glory is not something that is handed out, but has to be won. Stalingrad, that big city with historical fighting traditions, has for two months now held the enemy hordes at bay in bitter battle, inflicting such losses on them as have to all intents and purposes, stabilised the rest of the front. Here heroic deeds are a daily occurrence. This should be shown by citing facts, without indulging in rhetoric and loud phrases. Our men do not need a reporter’s praises – the best praise for them is a faithful account of their deeds.
In agitation and propaganda everything should be done to avoid hullabaloo. Now is not the time for noisy speeches, rhetoric and didactism. They have little effect. If you come to a meeting of workers or kolkhozniks and launch on a bombastic speech, begin to lecture them, they may say: “What are you lecturing us for?” The thing to do now is to give people a clear and patient explanation of what is going on, to tell them the truth about the difficulties we are undergoing.
If you avoid exclamations and rhetoric in your agitational and propaganda speeches, and do not admonish or lecture your audience – I realise, of course, that it is somewhat difficult not to sometimes – your agitation and propaganda will, undoubtedly, be far more effective.’
MI Kalinin: Regarding Certain Problems of Agitation and Propaganda – Speech at a Conference of Komsomol Regional Committee Secretaries in Charge of Propaganda – September 28th, 1942. Published in ‘MI Kalinin On Communist Education’, Foreign Language Publishing House – Moscow, (1953), Pages 254-277 – Above Extract Pages 266-267 – First Published ‘Bolshevik Magazine’ No 17-18 1942