A Survey of Soviet Propaganda During
In recent times, the Communist party has become especially interested in the education of school children and academic youth. The pages of the press are aglitter with articles urging more concern for the fostering of a materialistic world view among the youth and their indoctrination with the principles of "Soviet patriotism" and "proletarian internationalism."
1. Negation and belittlement of Lithuania's past
"During lessons dealing with the history of the LSSR, anything through which in one way or another is expressed the idealization of reactionary manifestations of the past must be resolutely eliminated. In explaining historical events that occurred in Lithuania, concrete examples must be used to prove that the true creator of history was the populace and not the grand dukes, those representatives of the exploiting class" (Tarybinė Mokykla[The Soviet school], 1971, no. 3).
A. Sniečkus, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Lithuanian Communist party, spoke as follows at the March meeting of the Republic's Party activists: "There is cause for concern in that during studies of the historical past there is at times the tendency to succumb to its idealization of sorts... For instance, instead of investigating present-day subjects, certain workers at the ethnography department of the Institute of History began to analyze nearly exclusively the problems of the past... Publishing houses shoud also evaluate their work critically. Occasionally in their undertakings obvious concessions could be noted toward the exaggerated, usually artificial fascination of certain individuals with the days of yore..."
Tiesa [Truth] demanded obstinately: "It is absolutely necessary to fight against each occurrence of the tendency to idealize the past" (March 27, 1973).
Lietuvos TSR istorija [History of the LSSR] by J. Jurginis and V. Merkis, which comprises barely 105 pages and also distorts many Lithuanian historical facts, was criticized in Tiesabecause it had raised too few "ideological questions" and because "in the textbook the class viewpoint of historical events is sometimes overwhelmed by secondary matters" (March 10, 1973).
2. "Patriotic" and "internationalist" education of students
The Soviet press is particularly concerned about fostering the spirit of "internationalism" among students. "In the entire educative system, first place within the complex of the means useful in influencing ideology is occupied by Soviet patriotism and socialist internationalism" (Tarybinis mokytojas [The Soviet teacher], March 21, 1973).
What, in fact, is this "patriotism" and "internationalism" mentioned in Soviet propaganda?
A. Sniečkus stated at the meeting of Party activists that "the ties between Lithuanians and Russians in the schools are being strengthened through the languages being taught" (emphasis ours—ed.).
"A very important means in trying to instill in students the spirit of friendship is to have them study the Russian language. All the nations and nationalities of the USSR consider Russian their second native
tongue... the study of Russian fosters the students' love and respect for this language, and develops the sentiments of Soviet patriotism, internationalism and friendship among nations. Hence, the need arises to constantly keep perfecting the instruction of Russian. (Tarybinė mokykla [The Soviet school], 1973, no. 3).
Tarybinis mokytojas [The Soviet teacher] praised S. Lokit, the principal of the secondary school in Kalesninkai, and the Russian language instructors L. Su-pron and V. Voitkun for making special efforts and using all possible means to instill the love of the Russian language in students (February 14, 1973). For this purpose, Russian-language concerts of revolutionary songs are organized in this school and Russian works are committed to memory, etc.
Military training in Russian has been established in all schools. Its purpose is the fostering of "patriotism" in students. "With great devotion the schools' military advisors are instilling feelings of patriotism in our youth" (ibid., March 21, 1973).
3. Atheistic education of students
Speaking at the meeting of Party activists, A. Sniečkus demanded an intensification of efforts in the atheistic cause: "We cannot reconcile ourselves with the fact that individual Party organizations have recently noticeably decreased their efforts in the atheistic cause. Our times demand not only comprehensive but also constant and profound atheistic propaganda."
Tiesa urged that "all Communists, all members of the Young Communist League, and all intellectuals would work for the atheistic cause" (March 4, 1973).
Why has so much attention been devoted lately to atheistic propaganda?
Doctoral candidate in philosophy I. Galickaya indicates that handwritten religious literature is being disseminated among the youth, that priests discuss religious topics with young people and visit their parents, that the youth has an excessive interest in the early days of the Church, and that they collect holy cards and crosses (In her article "Jaunimas ir religija" [Youth and religion] published in various newspapers of the Republic).
In Tarybinis mokytojas it was printed that: "The clergy is becoming increasingly active among the believers. ... they organize the preparation of children for catechization, for assisting at church services during religious festivals, and they even make a practice of joint excursions of children with parents..."
To the question of why a struggle against religion must be waged in Lithuania, A. Sniečkus was perhaps the one who answered the most truthfully: "Religious superstitions very often are closely associated with nationalist prejudices. Recently, the obscurants have even attempted to depict church traditions as being nationalist."
New tasks are being assigned to atheistic propaganda:
a. To conduct sociological studies about man's religiosity and its causes (Tiesa [Truth], March 4, 1973)-
b. To work individually with each believing student (Tarybinis mokytojas [The Soviet teacher], March 30, 1973)-
c. To convince parents that they should not interfere with the atheistic indoctrination of youth (ibid.).
The petition from Lithuania's believing parents and children to the Ministry of Public Education of the LSSR appeared as a response to this intensified atheistic indoctrination and attempted ethnic assimilation of students.