Civil War The collapse of the Tsarist regime and the Provisional Government in 1917 left a power vacuum in the former Russian Empire. In the resulting chaos, a number of both real and shadow governments emerged. These ranged from centralist (Bolsheviks, Whites) through separatist-nationalist (Ukraine, Cossack Hosts, Transcaucasian Republics) to peasant-anarchist (Makhno) governments. Although the Bolsheviks had no trouble seizing power in November 1917, they managed to consolidate their new position only after several years of bitter struggle in a major civil war with the counterrevolutionary forces referred to as the "White Movement."
Miraculous survival Until recently, the sources that could shed new light on Russia's civil war period (1918-1922) were not available to researchers. Because of the instability and constantly changing conditions of the civil war, it was impossible to collect the numerous volatile, short-lived newspapers, which were constantly appearing and disappearing. Daily papers meant for mass consumption were sent to the front line, and over it into the enemy's territory. Once read, they were used either to roll cigarettes or to bind feet, and consequently disappeared without trace.
In the 1920s, 1930s, and early 1950s, there were "ideological purges" of the newspaper stocks held by Soviet libraries. During these purges, many of the White Movement press items that had miraculously escaped destruction were now destroyed, because they were regarded as ideologically harmful and superfluous. Those that were not destroyed were withdrawn from scholarly circulation and packed away in special depositories. All information about them was proscribed, which is why none of the larger archives or libraries possesses a complete list of titles or sets of the White Movement press of the period. This makes any copy of a newspaper - let alone whole sets - of the utmost importance.
Unique Collection The collection is unique in that its contents reflect all aspects of life in that stormy period, which was replete with revolutionary upheavals and civil strife. The variety of material published in these newspapers is astounding. Alongside material reflecting political issues and the burning topics of the day, the collection presents the widest range and variety of newspapers, from those carrying marriage announcements to a batch titled "On the way: News from Chairman of Revolutionary Council Trotsky's Train." This latter newspaper was dubbed "anti-Bolshevik" after Trotsky's rift with J. Stalin. The IDC collection contains official civic and military documents from the White Movement executive organs, central and local news, news from the civil war fronts, information about the activities of regional and local administrations, and press releases from credit, industrial, and cooperative stablishments and savings banks. Juxtaposed with these are facts about everyday life, reflecting the work of various charitable societies and organizations, theatrical performances, concerts, and other major and minor cultural events. Interspersed with these is a very wide range of advertisements. Thus, the collection will provide researchers with not only a rich store of materials to examine, but also the opportunity to make new discoveries.
Literary Treasures The collection contains lots of material dealing with
belles-lettres and literary criticism that holds indispensable information yet to be assessed by literary critics and scholars. Many prominent Russian politicians, scholars, and writers who later lived in exile, published their works in the newspapers of the period. For example, the well-known writer A.I. Kuprin published the newspaper
The Prinevsky Krai; N.V. Ustrryalov - the ideologist of the
Smenovekhovstvo - was in charge of the Russian Press Bureau under Admiral A.V. Kolchak's government, and also actively cooperated with a number of White newspapers in Siberia; the fathers of the "White Idea" - namely N.N. Lvov and V.V. Shulgin - were active in the south of Russia; and B.A. Suvorin was the publisher of
The Evening Time, the largest White newspaper in southern Russia.
A number of widely known writers and poets - for example, Vs. Ivanov, M. Voloshin, Teffi, A.V. Amphiteatrov, and A.T. Averchenko - published their literary pieces and essays in various White newspapers. These newspapers also contain a great variety of drawings, caricatures, and
chastushkii (two- or four-line ditties on some topical or humorous theme).
Structure of the Collection The term "anti-Soviet newspapers" embraces all the newspapers containing anti-Bolshevik propaganda published in the territories controlled by the Whites and the Reds in the period 1918-1922. In accordance with the character of its materials, the collection can be divided into three parts.
The first, and largest, part contains 405 White Movement newspapers. This is the periodic press of different White Guard governments, along with press items from various military and civic organs, establishments and organizations of anti-soviet orientation. Also in this category are most newspapers published in the territories that were controlled by White Movement governments. Such newspapers, which on the whole were either neutral to the White governments or showed some respect for them, were delegated to the care of the special depository for the simple reason of having been published in the territories controlled by the Whites. Practically all the newspapers of the White Movement governments are represented in the NLR collection.
The second part, though smaller (287 titles), is also of extreme importance: it comprises the newspapers that were published in the territories controlled by the Soviets but which were opposed to the "Bolshevik commissars state," though some of them supported the idea of keeping the Soviets "without Bolsheviks," and were extremely critical about some of the Bolshevik government's decisions. These included Social Revolutionary (SR) newspapers, newspapers that were dubbed "petty-bourgeois" by the Bolsheviks, and anti-Bolshevik newspapers with different Russian Social Democratic Labor Party affiliations. The "petty-bourgeois" newspapers were primarily meant for various categories of service providers (e.g., small shopkeepers, cooks, etc.), and paid little attention to the "class struggle" or the glorification of the power of the People's Commissars; in fact, they simply ignored this power.
The third, and smallest, part (six titles) comprises émigré newspapers published by Russians in Harbin, China.
Provenance 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 1919, the Russian (Omsk) government of A. Kolchak created the Temporary Bureau of the Book Chamber and appointed Iakovlev as its director. In Omsk, on August 1, 1919, Iakovlev called for people to collect and preserve any and all printed material, "since the events we are living through have world-wide significance." The result is the world's largest collection of regional White Movement newspapers and leaflets. In 1920, the collection was taken to Petrograd and handed over to the custody of the Petrograd Book Chamber. When, later in the same year, the capital was moved to Moscow , the collection was transferred to the Russian Public Library (now the NLR).
Finding aids A catalogue of this collection -
Nesovetskie gazety 1918-1922. Katalog sobraniia Rossiiskoi natsional'noi biblioteki. Sankt-Peterburg: Rossiiskaia natsional'naia biblioteka, 2003 - was completed by Prof. G.V. Mikheeva and published by NLR. The catalogue provides an alphabetical list of newspapers' indexes of personal names and places of publication. It is available together with the microfiche collection.
Researchers who are interested in the regional spread of the newspapers can get this information from the regional subdivisions of the newspapers in the collection, which groups newspapers territorially (i.e., those published in southern Russia, Siberia, etc.). This list is available on the IDC website.
The National Library of Russia The National Library of Russia St. Petersburg (www.nlr.ru) is one of the world's largest libraries: its collection numbers more than 32.8 million items, 6 million of which are written in a foreign language. The library possesses one of the largest collections of White Movement materials. Until recently, these newspapers were sealed in a special depository at the NLR and were unavailable to researchers. Until now, neither facsimile nor any other type of reproduction of these
Nothing illuminates the lost world of late Imperial Russia better than the pictorial magazines of the era. The illustrated weeklies that appeared following the Emancipation open a wide window on Russian cultural, social, and political life. Their editors traced the sweep of the Russian imagination at the apogee of Russian cultural power from the peak years of Dostoevskii and Tolstoi to the modernist era and the chaos of 1917. They captured imperial expansion, cultural innovation, high fashion, graphic arts, performing arts, grand funerals and anniversaries, occasions of state, wonders of science, and domestic and foreign politics. In addition, the weeklies inscribed the changing image of Russia’s great cities, its landscapes, and its multinational citizenry, together with literary life and a visual and verbal chronicle of all and sundry occasions and events.
The selected journals show how Russia and its peoples were imagined and events recorded and memorialized. They also document Russia’s physical landscape including churches no longer standing, vanished landscapes, rituals no longer performed, and scenes that will never again appear, all through the eyes of contemporaries. Each issue of these magazines contains surprises for historians and scholars of culture alike.
Main topics • Russian culture of the early 20th century
• Daily life and entertainment in pre-revolutionary Russia
• Politics, the First World War
• Urban and social life
• Literature and the Arts
Subject areas • Slavic and Eurasian Studies
• Cultural Studies
• Art History
• Social Sciences
Russian Emigré Journals, 1855-1917 From the International Institute of Social History
Journals and newspapers published abroad by different political parties and groups such as the Russian Social-Democrats (RSDRP) and Party of Socialist-Revolutionaries (Esery). Collection based on the bibliography by Tatiana Ossorguine-Bakounine entitled
L'Emigration Russe en Europe, Catalogue collectif des périodiques russes 1855-1940 and on the collection held by the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam.
Collection of 1,213 titles of Pre-Revolutionary Russian periodicals and serials selected from various collections published by IDC Publishers. Includes many kinds of magazines, newspapers and serials ranging from publications of academies of science, universities, and learned societies to magazines for women and children. A separate group contains indexes to periodicals and serials, and monographs on the history of journalism in Russia. The material in the collection was published in the territory of the Russian Empire and the USSR (including the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belorussia, Baltic Republics, Azerbaydzhan, Armenia, and Georgia, as well as several Polish provinces which were once part of the Russian Empire). Collection also contains Russian emigrant periodicals printed abroad.
Periodicals offer not only important information in various fields but also serve as one of the most authoritative barometers for assessing the culture of an epoch, a nation or a group. The number of journals and newspapers and their circulations measure the size of the educated or literate public; their subject matter indicates the areas of widest interest; the quality of the contents suggests the level of sophistication among both writers and readers; the intellectual bent of periodicals offers evidence of the political climate or opinion.
In Imperial Russia, journals emerged as an important force, much stronger and more central to cultural life than in other European countries. Nearly every self-respecting or self- important “circle” founded periodicals.
German-language press in Russia has more that 200 hundred years’ history. It appeared during the reign of Peter the Great, who invited to Russia many professionals from various countries of Western Europe, especially from Germany.
German language communities were especially numerous in both capitals of the Russian Empire – Moscow and St. Petersburg, in the Volga region (Povolzh’e) and in the south of the Empire (Prichernomor’e). They played an important role in the economic, social and cultural life of the Russian Empire. The first and the most important German-language newspaper
Sankt-Peterburger Zeitung was launched in 1727 and existed without interruption until 1914.
Carl Röttger (1815-1884) From 1849 till 1897 at Nevskii prospekt 4, there was a bookshop which specialized in publishing and selling books and periodicals in the German language. For twenty years (1863-1883), the head of this publishing house was Carl Röttger (1821-1884). His main goal was to provide western readers with information about Russia and to supply Russian readers with information about Western Europe. In August 1872 he launched the monthly German-language journal
Russische Revue. Carl Röttger invited mainly prominent scientists and professors, working both in Russia and in Germany, to collaborate with his journal. They wrote original articles and translated the work of the Russian authors as well. Röttger managed to keep the permanent staff of the journal’s authors for more than 20 years. Among them were A. Brukner, A. Schmidt, A. Garkavi, and F. Matto, who contributed to almost every issue of
The content This journal aimed at spreading information about the Russian Empire, especially outside the Russian borders. The focus of the journal was history, economics and literature. By means of original articles, essays and translations the journal gave an account of the political, social, economic and scientific life in all parts of the Russian Empire. A good deal of material was devoted to Russian-German relations, Russian trade, transport, industry, and migration.
For instance, F. Matto wrote an overview of Russian foreign and domestic trade and Russian industry in almost every Issue of the journal. Each year a budget of the Russian Empire was published. Every issue had an article devoted to one branch of industry or another, and to banking and finance. The development of telegraphy and the construction of railroads attracted particular attention of the editors.
In addition, every issue contained a statistical description of a city in Russia, such as Warsaw, Viatka, Baku, Tiflis, Samara, Omsk, Irkuts and others. There were also statistical and ethnologic reviews about different regions of the Russian Empire, mainly in Siberia and Central Asia, such as Turkmenistan, Chukotka, etc. In such ethnological material the reader could find descriptions of the customs and traditions of different people, their clothes, etc.
Almost every issue of the journal contained "Kleine Mitteilungen” - a short description of current political and cultural events; and "Literaturbericht" - reviews of recently published books. Vol. 31 includes General register.
In 1883, Carl Röttger went to Germany for medical treatment and died there in 1884. His a son–in law Rudolf Hammershchmidt became editor-in-chief. The journal became more and more commercial. It was published quarterly rather than monthly, and it ceased to exist in 1891.
Sankt-Peterburgskie Vedomosti [St.-Petersburg News], the second oldest Russian newspaper, was born in 1728 as a successor of
Vedomosti o voennykh znaniiakh i inykh delakh dostoinykh znaniia i pamiati [News about Events, Both Military and Otherwise, Fit Both to Know and to Remember], which was published between 1703 and 1727.
Sankt-Peterburgskie Vedomosti, the only Russian newspaper, that was published without interruption between 1728 and 1914. For several decades, it was the only Russian periodical; it did not have to face competition until 1756, when the
Moskovskie Vedomosti [Moscow News] appeared. It makes it one of the most important sources for the history of Imperial Russia during its final two centuries.
Sankt-Peterburgskie Vedomosti is now completely available on microfilm. All the lacunae in the old collection of IDC Publishers have been filmed in the most prominent Russian libraries in St. Petersburg: the National Library of Russia and the Library of the Academy of Sciences (BAN).
Ukraine Serials and large sets from and related to the Ukraine
IDC Publishers is pleased to present you this selection of titles related to the Ukraine. For some collections, special catalogues are available. At the last page of this catalogue you can find two of them. For more information please contact IDC Publishers and we will send you additional catalogues free of charge.
In this catalogue, IDC Publishers has assembled titles of materials from a large collection of books and archives. The material is related to the history, ecomomics, legislation and culture of Poland, the Ukraine and regions in southern Russia. The current collection contains 309 titles of monographs, sets of periodicals and manuscripts (many of them difficult to obtain) written in Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, other European languages, as well as in Hebrew.
The collection covers a broad range of topics, including the history of “Kievskaia Rus”, wars with the Turks, the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, and contemporary statistical data concerning economics and demography. Also included are publications related to: ethnology and folklore; archaeology; the history of Ukrainian and old Russian literature, language and art; religious texts; the history of Jews in the Ukraine, Poland and southern Russia; Ukrainian Law (the constitution; civil and criminal codes; administrative, labour, land, marriage and family law; etc.).
Of special interest to scholars might be such materials as publications from historical sources which are preserved in archives and libraries in the Ukraine and Russia (TsGADA, TsGVIA). Included here are old slavic manuscripts and chronicles, the lives of saints, Pecherskii Pateric, catalogues of libraries, and detailed surveys of collections dealing with the Ukraine (the library of Kievsko-Pecherskoi Lavry, the Saltykov-Shchedrin Library, the Iavors'kii Collection, Biblioteki A.I. Bortnevskogo and many others).
Moscow News, founded in 1930, for years represented the official English-language press organ of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Its establishment stemmed from a large influx of foreign, mostly American, workers who emigrated to Russia during the Great Depression. Its mastermind was American journalist and activist Anna Louise Strong, who acted in cooperation with Stalin’s cultural propagandists with the aim of providing English-speaking newcomers with an informative – and often edulcorated – view of the Soviet standards of life. Thus, throughout the years,
Moscow News served as a tool of positive propaganda that the Soviet regime employed to embellish and polish its public image. As a consequence, censorship heavily affected its rhetoric, narrative, and contents, determining which issues were worthy of being reported and which ones had to be dismissed or ignored. For this reason, the newspaper is a rich resource for those who are interested in assessing the internal mechanism of the Soviet Union’s cultural diplomacy and consensus-building machine.
In the late 1940s, the newspaper and its editors became the target of Stalin’s purges. With the exacerbation of the Cold War confrontation and the worsening of the nuclear arms race, the newspaper came to represent an unnecessary open window to the regime’s internal dynamics. The newspaper’s publication was therefore interrupted between 1949 and 1956. Nevertheless,
Moscow News was resuscitated during Khrushchev’s thaw. The general editorial policy of the newspaper did not change, as it continued providing a rather orthodox interpretation of the Cold War and the role of the Soviet Union in world affairs. It also continued to focus on the achievements of Russian society, covering fields ranging from sports to technology. But its structure changed completely, as it became a modern media outlet translated in as many as a dozen different languages, including Russian, and distributed worldwide. It relied on professional interpreters, translators, and copyeditors, and its style, layout, and reporting matched those of Western presses.
Moscow News remained substantially aligned with the Politburo’s policy, thus blaming American policy and simultaneously ignoring or underestimating crucial events in the Eastern bloc, as in the case of the Prague Spring or the revolts in Budapest. This all changed, however, with the launch of the policies of
perestroika in the 1980s, when the paper progressively endorsed a transparency campaign aimed at uncovering some of the most disturbing elements of Stalin’s reign of terror. The institutional changes that affected Russia after the end of the Cold War represented both a challenge and an opportunity for the newspaper, which moved from being Stalin’s mouthpiece to promoting democracy and the free press in Russia. Mounting criticism by
Moscow News toward the current political setting in Moscow led to its definitive closure in 2014.
Substantial portions of the
Moscow News Archives have been digitized in cooperation with the
International Institute of Social History. For a complete list of contents, please see below under the "Downloads" tab.