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The communist propaganda was extensively based on the Marxism-Leninism ideology to promote the Communist Party line. In societies with pervasive censorship, the propaganda was omnipresent and very efficient. It penetrated even social and natural sciences giving rise to various pseudo-scientific theories like Lysenkoism, whereas fields of real knowledge, as genetics, cybernetics, and comparative linguistics were condemned and forbidden as "bourgeois pseudoscience". With "truths repressed, falsehoods in every field were incessantly rubbed in in print, at endless meetings, in school, in mass demonstrations, on the radio".
Main Soviet censorship body, Glavlit employed seventy thousand full-time staff not only to eliminate any undesirable printed materials, but also "to ensure that the correct ideological spin was put on every published item". Telling anything against the "Party line" was punished by imprisonment. "Today a man only talks freely to his wife - at night, with the blankets pulled over his head", said writer Isaac Babel privately to a trusted friend.
According to Robert Conquest, "All in all, unprecedented terror must seem necessary to ideologically motivated attempts to transform society massively and speedily, against its natural possibilities. The accompanying falsifications took place, and on a barely credible scale, in every sphere. Real facts, real statistics, disappeared into the realm of fantasy. History, including the History of the Communist Party, or rather especially the history of the Communist Party, was rewritten. Unpersons disappeared from the official record. A new past, as well as new present, was imposed on the captive minds of the Soviet population, as was, of course, admitted when truth emerged in the late 1980s".
An important goal of Communist propaganda was to create a new man. Schools and the Communist youth organisations, like Soviet pioneers and Komsomol, served to remove children from the "petty-bourgeois" family and indoctrinate the next generation into the collective way of life. One of schooling theorists stated:
We must make the young into a generation of Communists. Children, like soft wax, are very malleable and they should be moulded into good Communists... We must rescue children from the harmful influence of the family... We must nationalise them. From the earliest days of their little lives, they must find themselves under the beneficient influence of Communist schools... To oblige the mother to give her child to the Soviet state - that is our task.".
The most effective means to achieve this objective "was the denial of the victim's humanity through the process of dehumanisation", "the reduction of real or imaginary enemy to a zoological state". In particular, Vladimir Lenin called to exterminate enemies "as harmful insects", "lice" and "bloodsuckers". According to writer and propagandist Maksim Gorky, "Class hatred should be cultivated by an organic revulsion as far as the enemy is concerned. Enemies must be seen as inferior. I believe quite profoundly that the enemy is our inferior, and is a degenerate not only in the physical plane but also in the moral sense". He also called to use enemy of the people as "human guinea pigs" for human experimentation in the USSR Institute of Experimental Medicine in 1933, which would be "a true service to humanity", according to him . According to The Black Book of Communism, an example of such demonising animal rhetoric were speeches by state procurator Andrey Vyshinsky during Stalin's show trials. He said about the suspects:
"Shoot these rabid dogs. Death to this gang who hide their ferocious teeth, their eagle claws, from the people! Down with that vulture Trotsky, from whose mouth a bloody venom drips, putrefying the great ideals of Marxism!... Down with these abject animals! Let's put an end once and for all to these miserable hybrids of foxes and pigs, these stinking corpses! Let's exterminate the mad dogs of capitalism, who want to tear to pieces the flower of our new Soviet nation! Let's push the bestial hatred they bear our leaders back down their own throats!"
CIA estimated in 1980s that the budget of Soviet propaganda abroad was between 3.5-4.0 billion dollars.
Propaganda abroad was partly conducted by Soviet intelligence agencies. GRU alone spent more than $1 billion for propaganda and peace movements against Vietnam War, which was a "hugely successful campaign and well worth the cost", according to GRU defector Stanislav Lunev . He claimed that "the GRU and the KGB helped to fund just about every antiwar movement and organisation in America and abroad". According to Oleg Kalugin, "the Soviet intelligence was really unparalleled. ... The KGB programs -- which would run all sorts of congresses, peace congresses, youth congresses, festivals, women's movements, trade union movements, campaigns against U.S. missiles in Europe, campaigns against neutron weapons, allegations that AIDS ... was invented by the CIA ... all sorts of forgeries and faked material -- [were] targeted at politicians, the academic community, at the public at large."