Agitprop ( _ru. агитпроп) is a contraction of "agit"ation and "prop"aganda". [ [ Definition by] ] The term originated in Bolshevist Russia (the future Soviet Union), where the term was a shortened form of отдел агитации и пропаганды ("otdel agitatsii i propagandy"), i.e., "Department for Agitation and Propaganda", which was part of the Central and regional committees of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The department was later renamed "Ideological Department".

The term "propaganda" in the Russian language didn't bear any negative connotation at that time. It simply meant "dissemination of ideas". In the case of agitprop, the ideas to be disseminated were those of communism, including explanations of the policy of the Communist Party and the Soviet state. In other contexts, propaganda could mean dissemination of any kind of beneficial knowledge, e.g., of new methods in agriculture. "Agitation" meant urging people to do what Soviet leaders expected them to do; again, at various levels. In other words, propaganda was supposed to act on the mind, while agitation acted on emotions, although both usually went together, thus giving rise to the cliché "propaganda and agitation".

The term "agitprop" gave rise to agitprop theatre, a highly-politicized leftist theatre originated in Europe of 1920s-1930s and spread to America as well, with plays of Bertold Brecht being a notable example. [Richard Bodek (1998) "Proletarian Performance in Weimar Berlin: Agitprop, Chorus, and Brecht", ISBN 1571131264] Gradually the term "agitprop" came to describe any kind of leftist politicized art.

In the western world, agitprop has a negative connotation. In the United Kingdom during the 1980s, for example, socialist elements of the political scene were often accused of using agitprop to convey an extreme left-wing message via television programmes or theatre.

After the Bolshevik revolution, an agitprop train toured the country, with artists and actors performing simple plays and broadcasting propaganda. It had a printing press onboard the train to allow posters to be reproduced and thrown out of the windows if it passed through villages. [Paul A. Smith, "On Political War", pg. 124, National Defense University Press, 1989]

See also

* Soviet propaganda during World War II
* The Blue Blouse
* Propaganda in the Soviet Union


Further reading

*The Soviet Propaganda Machine, Martin Ebon, McGraw-Hill 1987, ISBN 0070188629
*cite encyclopedia|last=Rusnock|first=K. A.|year=2003|title=Agitprop|editor=Millar, James|encyclopedia=Encyclopedia of Russian History|publisher=Gale Group, Inc|isbn=0028656938| url=

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  • AgitProp — ist ein Kunstwort aus den Wörtern Agitation und Propaganda und bezeichnet einen zentralen Begriff der kommunistischen politischen Werbung seit Lenin. Agitprop war zunächst die Kurzform von Otdel agitacii i propagandy (Abteilung für Agitation und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Agitprop — ist ein Kunstwort aus den Wörtern Agitation und Propaganda und bezeichnet einen zentralen Begriff der kommunistischen politischen Werbung seit Lenin. Agitprop war zunächst die Kurzform von russisch отдел агитации и пропаганды (otdel agitazii …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Agitprop — est l acronyme de отдел агитации и пропаганды (otdel agitatsii i propagandy), c est à dire Département pour l agitation et la propagande, organe des comités centraux et régionaux du Parti communiste de l Union soviétique. Ce département fut… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • agitprop —    Agitprop, a compression of agitational propaganda, can be considered as both a theatrical form and a distinctive function for artistic works (Szanto 1978). Evolved during the Russian Revolution, it was employed by socialist activists… …   Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture

  • agitprop — n. 1. [agitation + propaganda.] 1. agitation and propaganda; used especially for such activities carried out on behalf of communist activists. [PJC] 2. a person who disseminates messages calculated to assist some cause or some government; one… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • agitprop — àgitprop m DEFINICIJA ideol. pov. 1. odio partijskih komiteta za agitaciju i propagandu u nekadašnjim komunističkim zemljama 2. meton. djelatnost toga odjela u političkom i kulturnom životu 3. pren. pejor. agresivna propaganda suvremenih… …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • agitprop — [aj′it präp΄] adj. [Russ < agitatsiya, agitation (< Fr: see AGITATION) + propaganda (< Ger: see PROPAGANDA)] of or for agitating and propagandizing: a term originally used in the Communist movement, esp. of certain plays, leaflets, etc.… …   English World dictionary

  • àgitprop — m ideol. pov. 1. {{001f}}odio partijskih komiteta za agitaciju i propagandu u komunističkim zemljama 2. {{001f}}meton. djelatnost toga odjela u političkom i kulturnom životu 3. {{001f}}pren. pejor. agresivna propaganda suvremenih nedemokratskih… …   Veliki rječnik hrvatskoga jezika

  • agitprop — (n.) also agit prop, 1938, from Rus. agitatsiya agitation (from Fr. agitation; see AGITATION (Cf. agitation)) + propaganda, from German (see PROPAGANDA (Cf. propaganda)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Agitprop — Cartel de agitprop, creado por el poeta Vladimir Mayakovsky.: 1. ¿Quieres vencer el frío? 2. ¿Quieres vencer el hambre? 3. ¿Quieres comer? 4. ¿Quieres beber? [Entonces] ¡apúrate y entra en las brigadas de choque! La agitprop, propaganda de… …   Wikipedia Español

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