General Directorate for the Protection of State Secrets in the Press
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General Directorate for the Protection of State Secrets in the Press under the Council of Ministers of the USSR (Russian: Главное управление по охране государственных тайн в печати при СМ СССР) was the official censorship and state secret protection organ in the Soviet Union. The censorship agency was established in 1922 under the name "Main Administration for Literary and Publishing Affairs at the RSFSR Narkompros", abbreviated as Glavlit (Главлит). The latter term was in semiofficial use until the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Since the word "Glavlit" hints at "literature", the organization is often confused with Goskomizdat, which performed another type of censorship: it controlled the political content in fiction, poetry, etc.
Chronology of names
- 1922: Main Administration for Literary and Publishing Affairs under the People's Commissariat of Education of the RSFSR (Главное управление по делам литературы и издательств при Наркомате просвещения РСФСР):
- 1946: Administration for the Protection of Military and State Secrets in the Press under the USSR Council of Ministers. (управление по охране военных и государственных тайн в печати при СМ СССР)
- 1953: Main Administration for the Protection of Military and State Secrets in the Press under the USSR Council of Ministers. (Главное управление по охране военных и государственных тайн в печати при СМ СССР)
- 1966: General Directorate for the Protection of State Secrets in the Press under the USSR Council of Ministers. (Главное управление по охране государственных тайн в печати при СМ СССР:)
The function of Glavlit was to prevent publications of information that could compromise state secrets in books, newspapers and other printed matter, as well as in radio and TV broadcasting.
There existed a special list of kinds of information forbidden for publication in sources open for general public. Initially there were three major categories of secret information: military, economical and "other". In later lists these were detailed further, e.g., "finance", "politics", "science and engineering", etc. were added. The first version of the list was decreed on October 13, 1921, before the creation of Glavlit, when censorship was a duty of a department of Vecheka. This list was updated several times. There were the following categories of secrecy: "top secret", "secret", and "not for disclosure".
In addition, for the purposes of the law the secrets were classified into "state secrets" (secrets related to the overall functioning of the state), "military secrets", and "official secrets" (secrets related to immediate functioning of an office or enterprise).
Glavlit performed its functions via regional offices. In the late Soviet Union, at institutions and enterprises the immediate censorship was performed by the so-called First Departments controlled by KGB. In fact, tight cooperation of Soviet secret services and Glavlit was unbroken from the very beginning.
|Full name||Start of powers||End of term|
|Nikolai Leonidovich Meshcheryakov||June 6, 1922||October 23, 1922|
|Pavel Ivanovich Lebedev-Poliansky||October 24, 1922||July 1931|
|Boris Mikhailovich Volin||July 1931||1935|
|Sergey Borisovich Ingulov||1935||December 16, 1937|
|Alexander Stepanovich Samokhvalov||December 17, 1937||January 12, 1938|
|Nikolay Georgievich Sadchikov||January 13, 1938||1946|
|Konstantin Kirillovich Omelchenko||1946||March 5, 1957|
|Pavel Konstantinovich Romanov||March 6, 1957||1965|
|Alexey Petrovich Okhotnikov||1965||17 August 1966|
|Pavel Konstantinovich Romanov||August 18, 1966||July 1986|
|Vladimir Alekseevich Boldyrev||July 1986||October 24, 1991|
- First Department (also known as "secret department")
- USSR State Technical Commission - Commission for Counteracting Foreign Engineering Intelligences
- Military censorship was handled by the military counterintelligence of Soviet Army.
- This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/. - Soviet Union