Moscow Hosts Exhibition Dedicated to the 300th Anniversary of the Russian Press

An exhibition dedicated to the 300th anniversary of the Russian press opened at Moscow's Novy Manezh exhibition center on Tuesday. The event is being sponsored by Moscow's Union of Journalists.

On display are faded historical documents, newspapers and magazines, rare tomes and data books, posters of all sorts, badges, ancient lithographs and portraits.

Opening the exposition is a collection of 18th century editions, the period that marked the emergence and brisk development of the Russian press. The first issue of Vedomosti (Gazette) came out on January 13, 1703 and was edited personally by Tsar Peter the Great. The paper was published until 1727.

Russia's first popular science edition was the Monthly Historic, Genealogical and Geographical Adversaria magazine /1728-1742/, which published works by Vasily Trediakovsky, Russian literary theoretician and poet.

Trudolyubivaya Pchela, or Busy Bee, under the editorship of Aleksandr Sumarokov laid the foundation of satirical publications. The magazines Truten (Drone), which came out in 1769-1770, and Zhivopisets, or Artist, /1772-1773/ owned by Nikolai Novikov, Russian publisher, journalist and writer, soon took up the idea and pioneered in exposing parasitism of the Russian nobility and atrocities of serfdom.

Analysts agree that Russian printing editions of the late 18th century prefigured the phenomenon of political journalism. Sobesednik Lyubitelei Russkogo Slova (Interlocutor of Admirers of the Russian word), which was published in 1783-1784, Moskovsky Zhurnal (Moscow Magazine) of 1791-1792, historian Nikolai Karamzin's almanacs and Aleksandr Radishchev's radical publications, for one, offered severe criticism of serfdom.

In the 19th century, the tsarist government started persecuting freethinking press outlets. In 1818, it banned any serfdom-related statements whatsoever in the press. In those days, voicing the public stance was moderately liberal Vestnik Yevropy, or European Herald, /1802-1804/, which published Karamzin's articles, and blatantly retrogressive Russky Vestnik, Russian Herald, /1808-1820/ published by Sergei Glinka and Otechestvenniye Zapiski (Domestic Comments), /1818-1830/ edited by Pavel Svinyin.

In the late 1850-60s, Aleksandr Herzen's Kolokol (Bell) "awakened" Russia's democratic intelligentsia. Sovremennik (Contemporary), which came out since 1854, Russkoye Slovo (Russian Word) published since 1860, Otechestvenniye Zapiski /since 1868/ and Vestnik Yevropy /1866-1918/ were other newspapers that had a powerful spell over the Russian public in those days.

The first social-democratic newspapers advocating workers' interests appeared in Russia in the late 19th century and came as essentially new editions. Iskra (Spark) started to be published in 1900 and was the first Marxist edition although illegal. Pravda (Truth) was set up in 1912. Later on, it emerged as a principal mass public and political newspaper of the Soviet republic along with Izvestia Sovetov Deputatov Trudyashchihsya SSSR (News Bulletin of Soviets of People's Deputies of the USSR), Komsomolskaya Pravda (Truth of Komsomol), Trud (Labor), Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star), Selskaya Zhizn (Rural Life), etc. The Bolshevik 1917 decree On the Press was crucial for establishing those newspapers.

The first post-Soviet commercial papers were Nezamisimaya Gazeta and Kommersant.

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