A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 10, 2016
“There is no truth in news and no news in truth” (Russian Izvestia and Pravda adage)

The Soviet Union had two important propaganda newspapers. Pravda ("truth") was the communist party newspaper and was published between 1912 and 1991. Izvestia ("news") was the government newspaper and was published between 1917 and 1991.

An old Russian joke was:

“There is in pravda in Izvestia, and no izvestia in Pravda.”
(’There is no truth in news, and no news in truth.")


The joke was cited in English at least as early as September 1934, in a letter to the Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette:

“There is a current joke in Russia about the two principal newspapers of the Soviet regime, ‘Pravda’ (the truth) and ‘Izvestia’ (the news): ‘Neito Pravda uv Izvestia a uv Izvestia nieto pravda (There is no news in the truth and there is no truth in the news’ ).”


Wikipedia: Pravda
Pravda (Russian: Правда; IPA: [ˈpravdə], “Truth") is a Russian broadsheet newspaper, formerly the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, when it was one of the most influential papers in the country with a circulation of 11 million.

The newspaper began publication on 5 May 1912 in the Russian Empire and emerged as a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union after the October Revolution. The newspaper was an organ of the Central Committee of the CPSU between 1912 and 1991.
(...)
As the names of the main Communist newspaper and the main Soviet newspaper, Pravda and Izvestia, meant “the truth” and “the news” respectively, a popular saying was “there’s no truth in Pravda and no news in Izvestia”.

Wikipedia: Izvestia
Izvestia (Russian: Известия; IPA: [ɪzˈvʲesʲtʲɪjə]) is a long-running high-circulation daily broadsheet newspaper in Russia. It was a newspaper of record in the Soviet Union from 1917 until the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.

The word izvestiya in Russian means “delivered messages”, derived from the verb izveshchat ("to inform”, “to notify"). In the context of newspapers it is usually translated as “news” or “reports”.

4 September 1934, Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette, “Letters From Our Readers,” pg. 8, col. 6:
Russia, a Prison.
Editor of the Post-Gazette:
There is a current joke in Russia about the two principal newspapers of the Soviet regime, “Pravda” (the truth) and “Izvestia” (the news): “Neito Pravda uv Izvestia a uv Izvestia nieto pravda (There is no news in the truth and there is no truth in the news").
(...)
LOUIS JOFFE.
Pittsburgh, Pa., September 2, 1934.

Google News Archive
29 December 1939, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, “On Broadway” by Walter Winchell, pg. 8, col. 1:
Distortion of the news from Finland in the Moscow rags—Pravda (which means Truth) and Izvestia (which means News) has, according to G. E. R. Gedye, revived a pun among the critics of Communism, to wit: “There is no pravda in Izvestia and no izvestia in Pravda!”

Google Books
The Writer’s Monthly
Volume 66
1945
Pg. 163:
Cynics in Moscow slyly say that there is no izvestia in Pravda and no pravda in Izvestia.

Google Books
Collier’s: Incorporating Features of the American Magazine
1948
Pg. 62:
A fairly common joke in Moscow has it that there is no “izvestia” — the Russian word for “news” and the name for the Soviet government’s official newspaper — in Pravda — the Russian word for “truth” — and no “pravda” in Izvestia.

Google News Archive
24 July 1965, The Times-News (Hendersonville, NC), “U.S.-Soviet Confrontation Element Of Harriman Visit” by Henry J. Taylor, pg. 2, col. 4:
Pravda and Izvestia are often confused by our public as being merely two large, twinlike Soviet papers. But each has a distinct status inside Russia. Pravda is the official party newspaper. Izvestia is the government newspaper. Pravda means truth. Izvestia means news. It’s a prevailing joke in Moscow that “there is no Pravda in Izvestia and no Izvestia in Pravda.” But the controlled editorials are nevertheless very significant.

Google News Archive
20 March 1970, Sarasota (FL) Journal, “In ‘Classless’ Moscow—The Moskvitch and The Zis” by Henry J. Taylor, pg. 6A, col. 1:
“Pravda,” the government party newspaper, means Truth. “Izvestia,” the government newspaper, means News. A Moscow joke goes: “There is no Pravda in Izvestia and no Izvestia in Pravda.”

Google News Archive
29 July 2005, Fort Scott (KS) Tribune, “Propaganda machine encounter reality” by Gene Lyons, pg. 4, col. 6:
Under communist rule, Moscow had two newspapers: The standard joke was that “There is not Pravda in Izvestia, and there is no Izvestia in Pravda.” ("There is no truth in News, and no news in Truth.")

Google News Archive
24 June 2007, Southeast Missourian (Cape Girardeau, MO), “Shooting up a hornet’s nest” by Gene Lyons, pg. 7A, col. 1:
During the Cold War, Moscow had two major newspapers. Propaganda-wary Russians joked bitterly that “There is no Pravda in Izvestia, and no Izvestia in Pravda” ("There is no truth in News, and no news in Truth.")

Columbus (OH) Dispatch
Michael Arace commentary | Cold War heating up in Olympics
By Michael Arace
Wednesday August 10, 2016 8:22 PM
(...)
Russian president Vladimir Putin holds sway over state media, just as his communist forebears once did. The old joke among Eastern Bloc non-communists used to be, “There is no Pravda in Izvestia and no Izvestia in Pravda” — which is to say there is no truth in News and no news in Truth. An echo remains.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMedia/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • Wednesday, August 10, 2016 • Permalink