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Signals from Stalin: The Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union in the Midst of the Soviet-Finnish War, 1939-40

Spencer, MLG; (2013) Signals from Stalin: The Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union in the Midst of the Soviet-Finnish War, 1939-40. Slovo , 25 (1) pp. 48-64. Green open access

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Abstract

The Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) occupies very little space in the historiography of Stalin’s Russia. Yet from newly uncovered documents held within the Soviet leader’s personal archive, it is clear that TASS began to play a significant role in the mechanics of the Stalinist state by the end of the 1930s. The catalyst was the turbulent and rapidly shifting nature of events witnessed in this period. Coinciding with the Red Army’s faltering record in its war with Finland, various strategies of crisis-management, censorship, and control were employed by the Kremlin in an attempt to manage how news from the Finnish front spread amongst audiences at home and abroad. This paper will trace how, from the early stages of the relationship between the Telegraph Agency leadership and Stalin, the responsibilities of TASS became broader and more rigorously exploited. Eventually emerging as a global mouthpiece, pseudo-espionage network, tool of foreign policy, and versatile propaganda weapon for the Soviet Union, it was employed by a regime desperate to limit the damage caused by global condemnation of the invasion and the faltering position of the Communist International.

Type: Article
Title: Signals from Stalin: The Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union in the Midst of the Soviet-Finnish War, 1939-40
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://ojs.lib.ucl.ac.uk/index.php/Slovo/article/v...
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0 UK: England & Wales License. Under the terms of this license, you are allowed to build upon this work non-commercially, but must give the original author credit and license your new creation under the identical terms. To view a full copy of this license, visit: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1387980
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