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National newspapers and magazines available in the Presidential Library’s collections

13 January 2021

January 13 is the Russian Press Day. In 1703, on this day in Moscow, by the decree of Peter the Great, the issue of the first Russian printed newspaper Vedomosti was published.

Among many, this innovation of the tsar-reformer remained one of the most effective levers and accelerators of social development; today, thousands of newspapers and magazines of various formats are published in Russia. The binders and individual rare numbers of printed materials are available, in particular, in the electronic collection National periodicals in the Presidential Library’s collections.

“The First Russian Vedomosti was published in Moscow, January 2, 1703, in church letters, in the 12th part of the sheet; continued alternately in church, then in civil letters, were issued indefinitely ... <...> The first Petersburg Vedomosti appeared in 1711, which is proved by the issue reported below from May 11, 1711 ... ", - says Sergei Poltoratsky in the study News of the first printed Moscow and Petersburg Vedomosti, published under Peter the Great, and also indicates that "this ... the first, hitherto known, issue of Petersburg Vedomosti consists of three pages of the civil press, in the 12th part of the sheet ... ".

In the 18th century, printing began to develop throughout Russia. According to the scientist and historian of Siberia, Alexander Dmitriev-Mamonov, in the publication Beginning of Printing in Siberia (1900), back in 1703, the educated pastor of the Tobolsk and Siberian Metropolitanate appealed to Peter I with a petition: "and for children's teachings, create a friend in Tobolsk ..." ... “From the time of Peter the Great, - the historian continues, - until the decree of 1783, the printing business developed very slowly, since the opening of free printing houses was subjected to various restrictions and constraints by the government. Only with the publication of the decree on January 15, 1783, which followed under the influence of liberal ideas, did private printing activity begin to expand in Russia..."

One of the first provincial periodicals in Russia is considered to be Tambovskie Izvestia, a newspaper that was published in Tambov during 1788, in a printing house created by the personal permission of Catherine II by Gabriel Derzhavin.

The historical calendar issued by the Presidential Library Marking Year of Literature in Russia was dedicated to the history of the formation of public opinion around the emerging journalism in the country. From the quotes given in it, one can learn that Russian writers, publicists, publishers and public figures hoped for the development of journalism, newspaper and magazine and printing and publishing business, primarily in order to disseminate truthful and objective information about Russia. They viewed journalism as an important tool for interacting with society.

Thus, a statesman, a member of the State Council, director of the Imperial Public Library Modest Korf wrote to the Minister of Public Education: “... First of all, I cannot but express my conviction in the absolute necessity of such a newspaper in our country, which would have the main goal of spreading healthy and patriotic thoughts about internal and external events and to oppose all harmful or false interpretations. <...> ... A newspaper that portrays and considers current events from the point of view of a Russian person ... would be positively useful and could become a very important indirect organ for the good types of government".

In turn, the poet, literary critic, historian Pyotr Vyazemsky was sure: “... It is impossible not to see that today the press is a powerful force. <…> The number of Russian readers is increasing from day to day, the press is becoming more active, the need to give thought to work is manifested in all classes of society. The government must pay attention to this phenomenon, it must master this mental movement, give it a healthy direction. <…> ... We need an active force, creative force, the force of the press, which does good”.

... Preservation of the invaluable inheritance we have inherited, presented in the form of newspapers and magazines, is one of the important directions of the Presidential Library's activity. Today the collections contain about 200,000 electronic copies of issues of periodicals, among them - more than 48,500 issues of magazines of 900 titles and more than 150,000 issues of newspapers 383 titles. In 2020 alone, more than 29,000 issues of newspapers and magazines entered the library’s collections.