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On the eradication of illiteracy by the Bolsheviks

О ликвидации безграмотности большевиками

Those who are one of the main merits of Bolshevism is called the elimination of General ignorance (and ignorance of course it was big enough, especially in rural areas), absolutely do not understand why so much effort, the Bolsheviks spent on the fight against illiteracy. And the answer is banal.

Why Lenin repeatedly expressed the phrase “the most Important art for us is cinema” (although the phrase itself in this form belongs not to him)? Yes, because people are uneducated, were closed for Communist propaganda and they can be presented except in the form of film agitation. Lenin, speaking about the movie, the least thought about art films (which are generally evaluated quite low – he even “stabbed” in 1922 the idea of a feature film about the revolution). Much more he was interested in documentary propaganda or educational films.

But there was a huge problem – first, movies were silent, which greatly reduced its impact, and, secondly, the film was a terrible deficit.

Initiating a resolution of the Council of defence on may 13, 1919, Lenin ordered all nodal railway stations to organize a special “awareness-raising items”. (AMS). There are lectures, put plates were shown special movies. And distributed literature: leaflets, brochure, etc. But to read a flyer or promotional brochure, you should be able to read. Here was the desire of the Bolsheviks to train all the people to read and write. Why do people diploma? Yes, to read articles of eminent personalities of Bolshevism and Marxists of other countries. Well, the Soviet newspaper, of course – as without them?

That’s why from the very first steps the Bolsheviks took so much strength and energy the complete elimination of illiteracy. To even last a shepherd in a remote village or a shepherd back in the village, browsing in your free time on the hill, he could read another fiery article of Lenin or Trotsky.

Anything else, according to the Bolsheviks, the letter of the so-called “ordinary people” do not need. And, in fact, all this “elimination of illiteracy” was not further mooing in unison: “we not slaves, slaves we are.” In order to be considered an educated person – that, to put it mildly, is not enough. But to the syllables to read the pamphlet Kautskogo or, especially, Lenin at the time.

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That is the main function of literacy is to provide one hundred percent the ability to read these pamphlets (clickable):

О ликвидации безграмотности большевиками
(scan from the magazine “Smena”, №18, 1924)

Well, let us not forget that in the period from 1918 to 1921 educational institutions almost did not work or worked somehow. Against this background, any talk of the eradication of illiteracy was a sham.

And one more thing. Red is the eternal curse at the king: “it is a huge part of the population was illiterate.” Here, too, must make a difference between the modern concept of literacy and education, and that was during the time therein. Here is an example.

A friend of mine, when he suddenly computer stopped to see the connected drives, began to inquire what he should do now. He himself with this ridiculous problem to solve was not able to. The same it over the shoulders of Soviet higher education. But from my point of view, in modern society, he is semi-literate. Because in modern society everyone should be literate in the computer field. So, anyway, to be able to connect your computer to an external storage device.

I’m not talking about the fact that in our time people do not know how to program and unable to write or at least read the text at least simple computer programs – completely illiterate. And on this basis, I argue that today the lion’s share of the population of Russia (and other countries) is ignorant.

But this is my point of view. The other person, it can say: “And what do I need to know programming languages or to know the intricacies of the settings of the operating system? Am I a system administrator? But if you have problems, I turn to the one who owns it and for the friendship or for money me my problem will solve”. I could argue that ownership of the programming languages will help to decide many problems, and to find a well-paid job. But it is, however, not a fact. You know the PHP language, but still not be able to take the right social niche. That is, frankly, a moot point. I think one thing, another person something different.

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But the same was true for people of the early XX century. Well, what the hell the farmer was in need of literacy? For a peasant of that era to be able to read and write, it’s like for the modern man, who works as a programmer to know programming languages. Why? When is a modern man, not knowing how to properly connect a USB flash drive, can be formed in other areas, which helps him make the bread. But just as the peasant beginning of XX century (and earlier) was well educated in their fields. He well knew how to read nature, knew when to sow and when to clean up, possessed knowledge on a huge number of natural processes that he needed to know in his daily practice. That is, he was educated in the field that he needed to live. But to be able to read and write it was not necessary. And so the farmer never learned it himself and gave to learn to read and write children. Why waste time on empty?

And the whole “guilt” of the tsarist government was simply that there was no compulsory education law. But technically all the polls to teach the illiterate to be able to read and write scrawl – this was not a problem. Who wanted – well it was mastered, at least in them. Just as today anyone can learn programming if you really want to. But why?

This does not mean that I believe that the Imperial government was not to provide universal primary education. Be. But from a modern point of view. And at that time it was not considered so obvious.

Likewise, I believe that today all people – well, at least quite young – must be able to program and own programming languages. It definitely would have raised the level of logical thinking, which is so lacking today. But that’s a separate issue.


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