Pravda’s Anniversary

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A year has passed since the appearance of Pravda’s first issue. It originated as a workers’ newspaper, created by the celebrated upswing of the working-class movement in Russia in April and May 1912.

Pravda has withstood incredible hardships and harassments and has consolidated its positions (insofar as a workers’ newspaper can be “consolidated” in modern Russia) through the support of the working class. Pravda has been more than a workers’ newspaper in name: any newspaper can adopt a name. Pravda has been a workers’ newspaper in fact, in its orientation, in its range of readers from the working mass, and in its content in general, notably the mass of reports from the workers (1,783 workers’ reports in the first 99 issues; a total of almost 5,000), and, finally, in the support “Pravda” has been given by workers in general and by workers’ groups in particular.

Earlier on we pointed out in Pravda (see Nos. 80 and 103 for 1912)[1] the exceptional importance of the data on support for Pravda through cash contributions by workers groups. Their importance goes well beyond the framework of financial assistance, although workers’ financial assistance is extremely important and necessary to improve the newspaper at all times.

But contributions from workers’ groups are equally, if not more, important in their moral, educational and organisational significance for all class-conscious workers and for the working class of Russia as a whole.

By developing the habit of giving regular support for their own working-class newspaper not only through subscriptions and distribution but also through regular contributions, the workers are rallied even closer around a newspaper of their own trend, the workers are organised into some thing ideologically coherent, the workers verify the progress of their awakening as they read reports about the contributions at a neighbouring factory or one they know of. It is, therefore, impossible to over-emphasise the need to extend and develop in every possible way the custom of regular (it is better to have them small but regular) contributions and collections by groups of workers for the workers’ newspaper.

The published reports showed that before Pravda came out over 4,000 rubles had been collected and sent in through the newspaper Zvezda by 500 workers’ groups. From the day of our paper’s first issue up to April 10, contributions totalling 3,932 rubles 42 kopeks were received, only according to reports published in Pravda. Of them, 79.9 per cent came from proletarians of various categories, 20 per cent from various groups of intellectuals, and 0.1 per cent from the peasants. By districts the total is distributed as follows: St. Petersburg—66.3 per cent (2,605 rubles 81 kopeks), of which only 10 per cent falls to the intelligentsia; Moscow, Vladimir and Kostroma—4.6 per cent, of which contributions from the intelligentsia occur only in Moscow District (Let us explain at this point that apart from other reasons, these three districts showed small participation in collections for Pravda because they also made collections for the Moscow paper.[2] The money sent only through our newspaper comes to more than 2,000 rubles, of which 70 per cent falls to these three districts and 25 per cent to St. Petersburg District. Once again the St. Petersburg workers showed their political maturity: they also took an active part in setting up the Moscow newspaper); the Urals, Siberia, the Baltic Area and Poland—10.3 per cent; Kharkov and Yekaterinoslav districts—4.4 per cent; elsewhere (Finland, Western Europe, etc.)—14.5 per cent.

These figures are sufficiently eloquent evidence of who is the owner of the newspaper, who has kept Pravda going and how intimately it is connected with the workers’ masses.

In this context, Pravda’s successes in the first year were very great. To avoid tiring our readers with a lot of figures, we shall not give the monthly but the quarterly (that is, three-month) figures for workers’ group collections for Pravda.

YearsNumber of workers’ group


PravdaMoscow workers’


1912, first quarter . . . . . . .108
” second quarter . . . . . .396
” third quarter . . . . . . .81
” fourth quarter . . . . . .355
1913, first quarter . . . . . . .309129
1913, first 10 days of April . . .9343

And so we find that in its first year, Pravda met with support from more than 1,000 groups of workers and laid the foundation for the workers’ paper of Russia’s main industrial area, namely, the Moscow Central Area.

It goes without saying that financial support for Pravda from a thousand workers’ groups implies all kinds of support from a much greater number of workers’ groups; it means that tens of thousands of workers have rallied and united round Pravda. There is no doubt at all that the number of groups making cash contributions is only a small fraction of the groups of Pravda readers and friends, who helped it by their letters and reports, who helped to circulate the paper, to introduce it among new workers, new sections of the working people, etc.

The working class has advanced a whole vanguard of “front-rankers” who have given a start in the capital to their own, Marxist workers’ newspaper which is hostile to liberal vacillation, and have inaugurated a second workers’ newspaper in the heart of industrial Russia. What the advanced, class-conscious workers have done for Pravda and for the Moscow workers’ newspaper enables us to pass unerring judgement on the sum total of the great work done by the workers for the enlightenment and the organisation of their class. For, after all, Pravda and the Moscow newspaper are only a part, even if an important one, of this great cause.

Encouraged by the success of the first year of the workers’ newspaper, the advanced workers will join forces in untiring, persistent effort to continue the great cause of enlightening and rallying ever broader masses of the proletariat round the ideas of Marxism!

  1. See present edition, Vol. 18, pp. 187–202 and 299–301.—Ed.
  2. A reference to the newspaper Nash Put (Our Path) published from August 25 (September 7) to September 12 (25), 1913. Lenin took an active part in the paper, sending In his articles simultaneously to Pravda and Nash Put. Among the articles by Lenin published in Nash Put are: “The Russian Bourgeoisie and Russian Reformism”, “The Role of Social Estates and Glasses in the Liberation Movement”, “Class War in Dublin”, “A Week after the Dublin Massacre”, “Questions of Principle in Politics”, and “Harry Quelch”.
    Among those who contributed to Nash Put were Maxim Gorky, Demyan Bedny, M. S. Olminsky, I. I. Skvortsov-Stepanov J. V. Stalin and the Bolshevik deputies to the Fourth Duma, A. Y. Badayev, F. N. Samoilov and N. R. Shagov. The paper enjoyed wide popularity among the workers; 395 workers’ groups made contributions to run the paper. p. 279