St. Petersburg Telegraph Agency (SPTA)
The St. Petersburg Telegraph Agency (SPTA), the first official news agency of Russia and the predecessor of ITAR-TASS, began to operate on September 1, 1904.
The creation of the agency was initiated by the Finance, Interior and Foreign Ministries. On July 4, 1904 a meeting of representatives of the ministries empowered "to consider issues concerning the project of a government telegraph agency" adopted the basic documents for the creation and operation of SPTA.
The project to launch SPTA was approved by last Russian Tsar Nicholas the Second. The agency had to "report within the Empire and abroad political, financial, economic, trade and other data of public interest". Three directors, one from each of the Finance, Interior and Foreign Ministries, comprised the panel that managed the agency.
On December 31, 1909 the agency was subordinated directly to the Council of Ministers upon a submission of Prime Minister Petr Stolypin.
Petrograd Telegraph Agency (PTA)
On August 19, 1914, one day after Nicholas the Second ruled to rename St. Petersburg into Petrograd, SPTA changed its name accordingly and became the Petrograd Telegraph Agency (PTA).
During the Bolshevik revolution on October 25 (November 7) 1917 the PTA building in Pochtampt Street was seized by revolutionary Baltic Fleet seamen headed by Military Commissar Leonid Stark. The first reports written by Stark about the Bolshevik revolution were immediately wired by PTA to the whole world.
On November 18 (December 1) 1917 the Bolshevik government (Sovnarkom) decreed PTA to become the central government information agency. In March 1918 PTA moved to Moscow where it merged in June with the Press bureau of the government.
Russian Telegraph Agency (ROSTA)
On September 7, 1918 the government presidium resolved to rename PTA and the Press bureau into the Russian Telegraph Agency (ROSTA).
ROSTA became "the central information agency of the whole Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic".
Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS)
On July 10, 1925 the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) was founded and took over the main functions of the Russian Telegraph Agency as the central information agency of the country. TASS enjoyed "exclusive right to gather and distribute information outside the Soviet Union, as well as the right to distribute foreign and domestic information within the Soviet Union, and manage the news agencies of the Soviet republics". TASS comprised news agencies of all the Soviet republics: RATAU (Ukraine), BELTA (Byelorussia), UZTAG (Uzbekistan), KAZTAG (Kazakhstan), GRUZINFORM (Georgia), AZERINFORM (Azerbaijan), ELTA (Lithuania), ATEM (Moldavia), LATINFORM (Latvia), KIRTAG (Kirghizia), TAJIKTA (Tajikistan), ARMENPRESS (Armenia), TURKMENINFORM (Turkmenia), ETA (Estonia). TASS news and photos were received by 4,000 Soviet newspapers, TV and radio stations and over a thousand foreign media outlets. The news agency ran one of the biggest networks of correspondents in the world - 682 offices in the country and 94 bureaus abroad, and employed close to 2,000 journalists and photo correspondents.
The news agency was named the Information Telegraph Agency of Russia (ITAR-TASS) in January 1992 after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the proclamation of sovereignty by democratic Russia.
Russian news agency TASS
In September 2014 the agency returned to its former and world-famous name for delivering news to global audiences - simply titled TASS. Rebranding the oldest news agency in Russia is destined to become a symbol of professionalism, enthusiasm, readiness of its team for personal development and the agency’s bid to preserve and develop its best traditions.