Public Opinion in Soviet Russia: A Study in Mass Persuasion

Public Opinion in Soviet Russia: A Study in Mass Persuasion

Public Opinion in Soviet Russia: A Study in Mass Persuasion

Public Opinion in Soviet Russia: A Study in Mass Persuasion

Excerpt

This book neither pretends nor seeks to be a "definitive" investigation of the media of mass communication in the Soviet Union. The complexity of the Soviet communication system is such that a really exhaustive study of the techniques and institutions utilized for propaganda and agitation would have to be several times the length of the present work. At the same time, it should be recognized that this book is not an analysis of Soviet public opinion as such. It does not describe what the Soviet people think of the regime and the Communist Party, or about the United States, international relations, and the chances for peace. Although those questions are extremely important, the answers to them can be obtained only through direct contact with the Soviet people. Unfortunately, such contact is not now possible, nor is it likely to become more feasible in the immediate future, although research investigations among the numerous Soviet citizens who decided not to return home after the recent war may provide partial answers to many questions about the state of public opinion in the Soviet Union.

Accepting these limitations, I have sought to present an adequate, up-to-date description and analysis of the functioning of the media of mass communication in the Soviet Union. This study attempts to explain how Soviet mass communication works, and why it has the particular characteristics it possesses. But it is by no means intended primarily as a technical discussion of the Soviet press, radio, and film. On the contrary, I hope that this work will promote a more adequate evaluation of the implications of the Soviet system. Since exposure to a steady flow of propaganda and agitation is a major facet of the daily life of every Soviet citizen, no assessment of his life situation can be complete if it does not take account of that fact. Furthermore, Soviet philosophy and practice in the realm of public opinion are important indexes to the nature of the regime. This book is therefore addressed not merely to students . . .

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