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The Press of the White Movement
A Collection of Leaflets Issued in Territories under Anti-Bolshevik Governments (1917-1920)

Civil War
The collapse of the Tsarist regime and Provisional Government in 1917 created a power vacuum throughout the former Russian Empire. In the resulting chaos, a number of both real and shadow governments emerged, from the centralist (Bolsheviks, Whites) to the separatist-nationalist (Ukraine, Cossack Hosts, Transcaucasian Republics) to the peasant-anarchist (Makhno). The Bolsheviks were able to seize power easily in November 1917, but they only managed to consolidate their new position after several years of bitter struggle, in a major civil war with the counterrevolutionary forces referred to as the White Movement.

Leaflets and pamphlets
Leaflets and pamphlets of the White Movement are the most widespread, the most influential, and in many cases, the most reliable form of publication during watershed moments of the country's history. They include official documents (orders, laws, decrees) of civil and military authorities, as well as valuable information about the interrelationship between the civil population and military structures, the activity of Zemstvo organizations, philanthropic and co-operative societies, credit and savings institutions, popular libraries, and a great deal of other valuable local historical information. In addition, the leaflets reflect popular tales, soldiers' songs, and even examples of high artistic prose and poetry.

Varying content
Leaflets, pamphlets, and posters containing appeals to the populace make up a significant part of the collection, as do calls to volunteer for the army, and expositions of the goals and tasks of the White Movement. Another part of the collection represents the agitation-propaganda against the Bolshevik regime, its leaders, and the atrocities carried out in Soviet Russia. Of particular interest are the extremely rare prints of leaflets from military and regional publishing houses. In this collection there are no fewer than forty unique leaflets issued by the editors of the army newspaper Sibirskie strelki ("Siberian arrows") and other printing houses of military units.

“Hidden collections”
The first attempts to collect this sort of historical material were made by contemporaries and participants of the Civil War. In November 1918, understanding their value as historical sources, the West-Siberian Division of the Russian Geographical Society created a War Archive of collected materials, which included leaflets. Nevertheless, an enormous number of leaflets were lost to the flames of the Revolution and the Civil War, or were destroyed out of ideological and political considerations in the late 1920s and 30s. Currently, there are very few known collections of non-Soviet leaflets. Even in Russia, for many years they were kept in the files with “restricted access” ( spetskhran). To this day, most of the surviving leaflets remain undisclosed and practically unknown to scholarship. Unlike the Bolsheviks' press, which has been quoted by many researchers, the White Movement's press only recently became accessible to scholars.

Collection of the National Library of Russia
Of particular value is the collection of leaflets issued in territories under anti-Bolshevik governments during 1917-1920. The collection, kept in the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg, numbers around 2,500 leaflets, with a significant portion of them issued in the territory of the Volga basin, Ural, and Siberia. During this period the Committee of Members of the Constituent Assembly ( Komitet chlenov Uchreditel'nogo Sobraniia) was in power, which included: the Provisional Siberian Government of P.IA. Derber, the Western-Siberian Commissariat, the Provisional Siberian Government of P.V. Vologodskii, the Provisional All-Russian Government (Ufa Directorate), and the Supreme Commander A.V. Kolchak.

N.V. Iakovlev
The history of this collection is connected with the name of N.V. Iakovlev (1891-1981), a well-known literary scholar and a participant in S.A. Vengerov's Pushkin Seminar. In 1917 he started to work at the Book Chamber under the leadership of S.A. Vengerov. He represented the Book Chamber in several regions regions of Russia: Moscow, Samara, and Omsk. In 1919 the Russian (Omsk) government of A. Kolchak created a Temporary Bureau of the Book Chamber and appointed Iakovlev as its director. In Omsk, on August 1, 1919, he called for people to collect and preserve any and all printed material, "since the events we are living through have world-wide significance." He continued to collect Siberian press till 1920. Although the collection he had assembled was probably forwarded to Petrograd, it was lost without a trace. It was only found in 1993, in former spetskhran classification, in the National Library of Russia.

In 2000 a catalogue of this collection was completed by Dr. G.V. Mikheeva (NLR). The materials are organized by geographical regions, and within these regions, by corresponding "White" governments of Russia. Ministries, with their various subordinate bodies, and military structures are arranged in hierarchical order. Organs of local self-government, various organizations, and institutions are arranged according to the administrative-territorial division of Russia of that period ( guberniias, uezds, volosts), which significantly facilitates finding local, historical information. Indexes of personal names, titles of publications, corporate bodies, places of publication, geographical names, printing houses and publishing houses, as well as a chronological index, complete the catalogue. The catalogue will be made available together with the microfiche collection.