Suppression of Hostile Newspapers

Soviet of People’s Commissars, Extract from the Sovnarkom Decree. November 9, 1917


Original Source: Izvestiia, No. 209, November 10, 1917, p. 2.

Everyone knows that the bourgeois press is one of the mighty weapons of the bourgeoisie. In a critical time like this, when the new Workers’ and Peasants’ Government is just getting started, it is not possible to leave in the hands of the enemy a weapon no less dangerous than bombs and machine guns. This is why temporary and special measures were taken to stop the flow of mud and lies from the green and yellow press which would have drowned the young victory of the people.

  1. Those organs of the press will be closed which (a) call for open opposition or disobedience to the Workers’ and Peasants’ Government; (b) sow sedition by a frankly slanderous perversion of facts; (c) encourage deeds of a manifestly criminal character. . . . .
  2. The closing of the press, provisionally or permanently, can come into effect only upon the resolution of the Soviet of People’s Commissars.
  3. The above regulations are of a temporary nature and will be removed by a special decree just as soon as normal conditions are reestablished.

Vladimir Ulianov (Lenin)
President of the Soviet of People’s Commissars

Source: James Bunyan and H.H. Fisher, ed., Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-1918; Documents and Materials (Stanford: Stanford University Press; H. Milford, Oxford University Press, 1934), p. 220.

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