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The impressive series Mass Culture & Entertainment in Russia comprises collections of extremely rare, and often unique, materials that offer a stunning insight into the dynamics of cultural and daily life in imperial and Soviet Russia. The series is organized along six thematic lines that together cover the full spectrum of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian culture, ranging from the penny press and high-brow art journals in pre-Revolutionary Russia, to children’s magazines and publications on constructivist design in the early Soviet Union.

The materials brought together in this series are essential to Slavists and historians, but should be equally appealing to political scientists, art historians, and sociologists who no longer view mass culture as the arrière-garde of cultural evolution, but as a highly complex phenomenon that deserves to be studied in its own right.

The entire series will be made available on Brill Online Primary Sources.


Mass Media in Russia, 1908-1918
Part 2. The World of Penny (Kopeck) Magazines

The appearance of a "kopeck", the first working class daily newspaper press, in June 1908 finally gave Russia its "penny" equivalent and integrated a whole new stratum of readers into the newspaper audience. It promised the world, literally, every day for one kopeck. Kopeck newspapers soon became the most widely circulated in Russia.

Valuable cultural artefact
The new popular culture, which arose in Russia from 1861 to 1917, was embodied primarily in the commercially printed material that circulated among the lower classes. When the lower classes learned to read they turned from their oral heritage to the printed word, and new types of publications appeared to serve their needs. Among the new types of newspapers that appeared in the last third of the nineteenth century were some that contemporaries identified as “the street press”, “the little press” or less sympathetically as "boulevard press". These newspapers were intended for a wide urban audience, and they contained descriptions of the grim and sordid aspects of city life, crime, scandal and misfortune. “The editorial concept of Kopeika - a paradox of integration and escapism" made Kopeika so valuable as a cultural artefact. ( ref.: McReynolds, L. The news under Russia's Old Regime. The development of a mass-circulation press, Princeton University press, 1991. p. 230.)

St. Petersburg Gazeta Kopeika
The St. Petersburg Gazeta Kopeika (1908-1917) was a four-to-six page daily tabloid designed and priced to capture the interest of the new common reader. The newspaper was started by M.B. Gorodetskii (1866-1918), a liberal Jew who had learned his trade writing about poor and exploited labourers first in his native small town Gorlovka in Donetsk guberniia and then in Rostov-na-Donu. In the middle of the 1890s he moved to St. Petersburg. He recognized that the striking workers had commercial publishers who defended their interests, but none that appealed to them directly.
Gorodetskii teamed up with several relatives and V. Anzimirov, a popular writer, to produce a remarkably unique addition to the newspaper contingent in St. Petersburg, available for three rubles annually or one kopeck per single issue.
A year later in 1909, Anzimirov left St. Petersburg to inaugurate Moscow’s kopeck press, which far more radically, lived a precarious existence under a variety of names with different editors and publishers.
As the enterprise of Gorodetskii and his friends flourished, Gorodetskii branched out into other publications, and Kopeika became a joint stock company in 1913. One of the most interesting projects was the firm Contemporary Lubok, which issued propaganda posters by K Malevich and other well-known artists during World War I. The poet Vladimir Mayakovsky wrote captions for the pictures and drew a few illustrations of his own.

Phenomenal circulation
This working class daily immediately attracted a huge readership. From the first days of its existence the St. Petersburg Kopeika was an enormous success. Its circulation rose from 11,000 copies in the first days of publication in 1908 to 150,000 in 1909. By 1910 circulation peaked at 250,000 copies making Kopeika the most popular newspaper in the Russian Empire. Annual street sales of Kopeika started with 2.233.167 issues; it was reported to be selling 10.229.268 copies in 1910 and 17.308.717 in 1911.
The independent Moscow edition of the Kopeika was almost as successful as the St. Petersburg edition. Circulation of the Moscow kopeck paper reached 60,000 in the first year of publication and 150,000 copies by 1912.

The St. Petersburg Kopeika and Moscow Kopeika were read by lower-class readers, mainly newly literate migrants from the countryside or working people who had grown up in the city. The intention of the editors of the kopeck newspapers to address their papers to the lower-class population was particularly evident in the “workers life” column. Readers’ letters in Kopeika spoke out for society’s most marginal elements. They criticized existing institutions when they failed to protect them. The variety of issues under discussion ranged from arguments for improved health care for prostitutes to better salaries for clowns.

The editors of the kopeck newspapers in the capitals made their newspapers inexpensive, displayed serial fiction prominently, and paid lavish attention to crime, scandal, and human-interest stories. They allotted space to national and international news and they claimed an educational role. They also adopted a liberal political position. They promised “to give new masses of people, for whom the large newspapers are unsuitable because of price or language, the opportunity to know what is happening in the world.” ( ref.: Brooks, J. When Russians learned to read: Literacy and Popular Literature, 1861-1917. Princeton, 1985 p. 133).
The most discussed topics in the pages of this newspaper were, poor living conditions of the population’s lowest groups, inefficiency of authorities, prostitution, suicide, hooliganism, street crime, alcoholism and child abuse. Kopeika attacked the city government for not dealing effectively with the dilemma of infant mortality, just as it faulted the national government for its hypocritical attitude toward alcoholism.
The Russian Empire and world beyond were portrayed in the kopeck newspapers as a seemingly endless stream of places in which exciting or curious events took place. There were articles about the lives of coachmen, street artists, the bums’ bourse where old cloths and shoes were trade, prostitutes, etc.

Source for mass culture studies
The IDC microfiche edition of “Kopeika” press allows easy access to a unique and rare source practically unavailable in Western libraries. These newspapers document political and social developments in Russia in the pivotal years from 1908 to 1918 and at the same time provide a mirror of the colourful social and cultural life of the Russian capitals.

Jeffrey Brooks

Various Authors & Editors

Slavonic Reference Works

Primarily Russian dictionaries and encylopedias on the subjects of botany, geography, law, linguistics/literature, maritime topics, religion, statistics, technology and general.
• Dates (inclusive): 1923-1935 • Languages used: predominantly Russian, occasionally other European languages • EAD finding aids are available • Location of originals: Russian State Archive of Literature and Art (RGALI) The documents in this collection cover the period when state monopoly control over the Soviet cinema industry - production, distribution and exhibition - was being established and this is why they cover a number of different organizations and institutions. They include minutes of board meetings and discussions of the major issues confronting the medium during a crucial period in its development. The subjects covered deal not only with internal organizational, thematic and ideological matters, but also with external trade relations. These files will be of interest to anyone researching the history of Soviet culture in general and that of `the most important of the arts’ in particular, in both its domestic political and ideological context and in the light of the changing international political and economic background.

Various Authors & Editors

Book History in Russia

Reference works
In the first part of the catalogue, you can find the dictionaries, among them standard Russian bibliographical reference works, for example, the ones by V.S. Sopikov, Opyt Rossiiskoi bibliografii, ili polnyi slovar' sochinenii i perevodov, napechatannykh na slavenskom i rossiiskom iazykakh, and by P.M. Stroev, Obstoiatel'noe opisanie staropechatnykh knig slavianskikh i rossiiskikh, khraniashchikhsia v biblioteke… grafa F.A., Tolstogo.

The second part represents the genre of bibliographical magazines, the majority of which were published before the Revolution of 1917. All those titles have a great rarity value today and are difficult to obtain in Western libraries (for instance, Knizhnaai birzha, Pechatnoe delo, Polibiblion and Russkiii bibliofil).

The last part includes monographs on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from the invention of book printing in 16th-century Russia by Ivan Fedorov, the history of the first state and private publishing houses in Moscow and St.-Petersburg ( Gosudarev Pechatnyi Dvor, S.Peterburgskaia Sinodal'naia tipografiia), to the spreading of the book through the different strata of society, and the origin of the first Russian state and private libraries. Documents concerning censorship in pre-revolutionary Russia, and works on ownership marks, watermarks, the production of paper and the illustration of the book in medieval Russia (and later in the 18th and 19th centuries) have also been included.


Various Authors & Editors

World of Children in the USSR
Artek pioneer camp archives, 1944-1967

As part of our Mass Culture and Everyday Life in Russia publishing project, we are proud to announce a series of publications on the life of young people in the USSR and their subculture. The first set of documents we present are on the Artek Pioneer Camp, which are held in the Komsomol Archives.

Research Value of the Collection
This collection documents the history of Artek, the main Soviet pioneer recreation camp, and includes information on various aspects of youth policy and young people’s lives in the Soviet Union in the period from 1944 to 1967. It contains government documents, administrative, medical and financial records, transcripts of meetings, statistical reports, letters from Soviet and foreign children, diaries etc. These documents provide an insight into everyday life and mentality of Soviet children. The archive is a valuable resource for a wide circle of researchers in such fields as sociology, cultural studies, philology and political history.

• Everyday life of children/ pioneers in the USSR
• Soviet children and youth policy
• Social policy
• Totalitarian art
• Gender history
• Soviet mythology
• Ethnic policy and international relations

Artek as the Capital City of Soviet Children
This famous children camp was officially dubbed as “capital city of Soviet children”. Founded in 1925 as a medical rehabilitation centre for children, Artek soon became the model of children’s communist paradise intended as a showcase of the achievements of the State’s political and propaganda technologies. Indeed, the superb living conditions and facilities for the children staying in the camp were a dream come true compared with the usual living conditions of most Soviet people. By the 60s, tens of thousands children from various countries passed through the camp each season. The list of celebrity guests who visited Artek in the 40s and 60s includes Nikita Khruschchev, Clementine Spencer-Churchill, the British Prime Minister's wife, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Yuri Gagarin. Artek’s Archive reflects the camp’s history in the period between 1944 and 1967. All earlier records were lost during the Second World War when Artek was under the German occupation. The camp’s records covering the 70s and 80s are stored within the camp, and it is difficult for researchers to access these materials.

Children in the Soviet Union
The Soviet childhood phenomenon has recently become a subject of increasing attention of anthropologists, specialists in cultural studies, linguists, philologists as well as political and social historians. Soviet children’s culture had its own musical and language traditions, art, theatre, cinematography, powerful graphic symbols, elaborate ceremonies and rituals and its own literature. The world of the Soviet child was carefully controlled by adults. On the one hand, children immediately participated in the social life of Soviet adults: children partook in demonstrations with their parents, listened to political information on the school radio, etc. On the other hand a special microcosm was modelled for the Soviet child: the Pioneer organization. Children’s life had to flow along the stream of “rules for the behaviour of pioneers” and “pioneer laws”. A child’s time, space, everyday life and holidays were strictly regulated. Together with school, it was more effective than the family in having an effect on the upbringing of children. For many decades this guarantied the vitality of that special type of the human species, the Homo Sovieticus.

The collection contains
• Materials on Soviet social and health policies
• Children health reports, food rations and provision standards
• Materials on educational and ideological work carried out in the camp
• Numerous children’s letters including letters of foreign children
• A collection of songs and event plans
• Broadcast texts and lists of recommended films.


Edited by Kevork B. Bardakjian and Sergio La Porta

Conflict and Peace in Central Eurasia

Towards Explanations and Understandings


Babak Rezvani

Conflict and Peace in Central Eurasia combines theory with in-depth description and systematic analyses of ethnoterritorial conflict and coexistence in Central Eurasia. Central Eurasia is at the heart of the Eurasian continent around the Caspian Sea. Much of this macro-region is made up of the post-Soviet republics in Central Asia and the Caucasus, but it also covers other areas, such as parts of Russia and Iran. Central Eurasia is subject to a number of ethnoterritorial conflicts. Yet at the same time, a large number of ethnic groups, speaking different languages and following different religions, coexist peacefully in this macro-region. Babak Rezvani explains ethno-territorial conflicts not only by focusing on these conflicts but also by comparing all cases of conflict and coexistence in (post-)Soviet Central Asia, the Caucasus and Fereydan, the so-called Iranian little Caucasus. Aiming at formulating new theories, this book makes use of qualitative comparative analysis (QCA), as well as case studies and statistical analyses. It provides an innovative and interesting contribution to Eurasian Studies and Conflict Analysis, and at the same time demonstrates a detailed knowledge of the relevant literature. Based on thorough research, the study offers a deep and insightful history of the areas and conflicts concerned.

Dmitry Tartakovsky

continued even after and outside of the Soviet Union, where suspicions persist of Jewish organizations, for example. At times, in analyzing the motives of the interviewees and establishing the necessary distance between author and subjects, her criticism can be harsh. Yet, the overall exploration is

Asif Siddiqi

of socialist expertise who were “designed” to be an idealized version of the Soviet subject. In practice, this meant the creation of a highly sanitized image of the cosmonaut, devoid of imperfection and devoted to Communism, who was both extraordinary and ordinary at the same time. Gerovitch places