The truth has to be with teeth. As “Arguments and facts” have lived up to 40 years

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Vyacheslav Kostikov. © /

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If very briefly, in a special relationship with readers. And Central to this relationship was and still is a trusting conversation. This formula is the basis of the newspaper laid its first editor-in-chief V. Starkov. But in terms of the Soviet regime and censorship was necessary to proceed with caution. Because in the old days how? One drastic step – and the newspaper banned. To understand how difficult for journalists to do a newspaper, where I believe people need to remember about the origins.

40 years together. How did AIF

The first issue was published in 1978, the Country was still in the arms of communism. Still in full raging party censorship. In fact, people have been deprived not only true words, but also their own history. The history of Russia was replaced by the history of the CPSU. The real life of the country to be replaced by endless reports of the victories of the builders of communism, hymns about the wise policy of the party and the government. And, of course, stories about the inevitable crisis of capitalism and the imminent collapse of the dollar. The country was saturated with lies. And on this lie the people answered with a deep distrust of the government, to Newspapers, to television. Outlet found in the songs of Vysotsky and Galich, jokes and conversations in the kitchen. The truth was hunting the waves of foreign radio stations “Voice of America” Bi-bi-si.


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A breath of freedom

In such circumstances, to lead a true conversation with readers was extremely difficult. At first it was helped by the fact that the newspaper was produced as a newsletter for lecturers and political information. That is, to narrow the “proven” audiences. Considering this, the government turned a blind eye to some liberties. Taking advantage of this, the newspaper began to place on their pages of statistics and facts, which party press to publish avoided. Was a solid “cover”. The AiF was officially recognized as one of the organs of the all-Union society “Knowledge”. Here under the guise of “dissemination of knowledge” newspaper and tried to bring to the attention of the readers at least fragments of real life countries and people. “No need to climb to power with his fists, – said V. stark, you need to push it the truth.” At first it was, of course, metered portions of the truth. Because the first editions “AIF” in 1978, nothing was said, for example, deprivation of Soviet citizenship of M. Rostropovich and G. Vishnevskaya. No mention about the fate of “dissidents”, nor about “the GULAG Archipelago” by A. Solzhenitsyn.


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In those hard times for the journalism of the times newspaper and found another “clever” way to tell the reader about the delicate problems of contemporary life. As soon As the first readers understood that the “Arguments and facts” is a breath of truth, they began to write to the newspaper letters with very uncomfortable questions. And the journalists sent these letters to various Soviet authorities – and demanded a response. The party ethic of those years assumed that in the letter the workers should react. Officials had perforce to answer. The genre has survived in the newspaper and now what proof – current superdomes of questions and answers.

Live in journalism has become easier with beginning of perestroika. Form confidential conversation with the reader got a second wind. It did not have every issue of the newspaper fear of reprimand from the Ideological Department of the CPSU Central Committee. The number of readers began to grow rapidly. Have stalls where they sold “Arguments and facts”, in the days of the newspaper queues. By the summer 1990 edition of “AIF” has grown to 33 million, and the number of readers has exceeded 100 million In one of his visits to Paris I was surprised to find a newspaper shop in the courtyard of the famous Russian Church on the street Give. The newspaper was lying among religious literature.

As Afca became a symbol of the newspaper “AIF”?

“The merry widow”

During Yeltsin”s “Arguments and the facts” have become one of the important sources of information for the Kremlin about the attitude of the population to power. Critiques of “AIF” is constantly included in the press reviews for the President. In an atmosphere of “freedom without banks” of those years even the President had to endure the “injections of truth”. In those days I was the press Secretary of Boris Yeltsin and repeatedly heard reproaches: “Is there no way to rein in this Starkova?” I said, “Boris Nikolayevich, of course, possible. But we quarrel with the press, the intelligentsia. And with whom will work? With the officials?” Boris, enjoyed in the first years of the great support of the democratic press, sighed and withdrew.

Being in a fiduciary relationship with most editors, of course, I told Vladimir Starkov on the Kremlin”s “thunder and lightning”. Remember his words on this subject: “the Newspaper and should be with teeth. If the teeth fall out, then journalism becomes “the merry widow”. She was invited to the Royal mansion, encouraging Pat on the rump. But I do not respect”, “the more the newspaper criticizes the government, the more this government respects them”.


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In this connection, I remember another story from the life of the AIF. In the Kremlin the practice was instituted regular meetings of the President with chief editors of Newspapers and TV channels. Ended these meetings are a good friendly drinking and socializing “without rank”. Unfortunately, due to the accumulation of fatigue, frustration with the reform process and inevitable for all the rulers of the “attack power” such meetings the President has become over time to weigh. Annoyed Frank statements editors-in-chief of the Kremlin”s policy, on the situation in the country, where the background of the humiliating poverty of the people started to develop oligarchic system, with its disgusting slogans “Life is good” and “Everything is permitted.” In preparation for the next meeting of the Club of chief editors, I phoned the “customer”, asking for a meeting in the Kremlin. V. Starkov, who was one of the most active participants in such meetings, balked: “why should I go there? What are you we going to say?” And to meet defiantly didn’t come.

There came other times. But the story of “Arguments and facts”, continued. And toothless in “the merry widow” the staff of the newspaper to become is not intended.


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