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TASS headquarters in Moscow
TASS building entrance

The Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (Russian: Телеграфное агентство Советского Союза, Telegrafnoye agentstvo Sovetskovo Soyuza; abbr. TASS), was the central agency for collection and distribution of internal and international news for all Soviet newspapers, radio and television stations. It had a monopoly on official state information which was delivered in the form of TASS Report (Russian: Сообщение ТАСС, Soobshcheniye TASS).

It was established on 25 July 1925 by a decree Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. Tass was created from the Russian Telegraph Agency (ROSTA), the first state news agency in Soviet Russia. The agency was frequently infiltrated by the Soviet intelligence and security agencies, the NKVD and GRU. Many of its employees also voluntarily served as information sources of intelligence to the NKVD (later, the KGB).

After 1971, TASS was elevated to the status of State Committee at the Government of the Soviet Union. Tass had affiliates in 14 Union republics (Russian republic was covered by Tass itself):

Over the history other affiliates existed, e.g., KarelfinTAG (КарелфинТАГ), or Telegraph Agency of the Karelo-Finnish SSR.

TASS had bureaus and reporters in 110 countries, with a daily output equal to 750 newspaper pages, translated into eight (non-Soviet) languages. It had nearly 5000 employees, with about a fifth being journalists.

TASS had the following Main Editorial Boards: Main Editorial Board of Union Information, of Foreign Information, of Socialist Countries, of Information for Foreign Countries, of Photoinformation and Main Directorate of Communications.

In 1992, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, it was inherited by the Information Telegraph Agency of Russia (ITAR-TASS).

See also



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