American newspaper editors often call newspapers the first rough draft of history. Newspapers are primary sources for research because of eye-witness accounts, photojournalism, original maps and graphics, advertising, and so many other aspects. These riches from Russian newspapers are available for those who can read Russian, but for those who cannot, this page presents resources and work arounds to tap into some of that information.
One of the most frequent questions about Russian newspapers is whether there exists an English translation of Pravda and Izvestiia. Except for 1985-1988 of Pravda, there is no English translation of these titles. However, some English language access is available via the Current Digest of the Soviet Press and its successors Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press and Current Digest of the Russian Press. Beginning in 1949 and continuing to this day, these digests translated selectively important articles from major Russian news sources including Pravda and Izvestiia. Most content from the digests is from the central Russian press, with less from regional news sources. The Library of Congress has the complete run of the three digests in print and/or electronic formats. See the section below on the digests for more details.
Very few newspapers from Russia were published in English. Often these titles were propaganda aimed at non-Russian audiences. Below in the section English-Language Newspapers from Russia are entries and holdings for all of these titles held in the Library of Congress collections.
The final section on this page is a list of several subscription databases with English-language news content from Russia. The databases are available only onsite within one of the Library of Congress buildings. Keep in mind that most Russian newspapers have not been translated into English, but for titles in digital format an online translation software can be used to get the gist of an article or to help ascertain if it is worth the time to make a proper translation. For English-language information about Russia, but not published in Russia, try using websites of major newspapers outside of the country such as the New York Times, the Times of London, or the Washington Post. The Library of Congress has these three and many other English-language newspapers in its subscription database collection.
Even after more than 70 years the Current Digest is still a useful tool for English-language researchers who want an overview of current news stories from Russia, that is, articles written for Russian readers. The digest selects tops stories from major Russian news sources and translates them into English, also providing citations to the original articles. The translation process takes times, so each digest issue contains content published in previous weeks in Russia, so when looking for coverage of a particular event, look at issues that appear at least one week to one month later than the actual event. Started in 1949 by the Joint Committee on Slavic Studies, appointed by the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council, the publication has changed titles several times, but it continues the same work. In the very first issue the editors write: "The translations will be presented as documentary materials, without elaboration or comment." As they are documentary materials, the editors strive to "preserve the sense and spirit of the Russian text." Some titles may be summarized or condensed, but that is indicated in the entries. Because this source has been so valuable to researchers over the decades it has been digitized in its entirety. The Library of Congress holds not only the print edition, but also the database of the digital version.
Although the vast majority of newspapers from Russia have been published in Russian or one of the languages of the peoples of Russia or the Soviet Union, selected newspapers have appeared in English. The Library of Congress does not hold every issue or even every title that appeared in English, but others can be identified using the various bibliographies described on the page devoted to Online Catalogs and Russian Newspaper Bibliographies. Many of these bibliographies have indexes by language of publication, so the English titles are easy to locate within the bibliographies. Below are entries for English-language newspapers from Russia which are held in the Library of Congress collections. All of these entries appear within the main body of this guide, but are repeated here for convenience. They are arranged by city of publication.
The following abbreviations have been used for the various locations within the Library of Congress:
The Library of Congress subscribes to several databases containing some English-language news content from Russia. The most important source for the Soviet period is Moscow News, with coverage from 1930-2014. From the Putin era is the Moscow Times, available inside the Universal Database of Central Russian Newspapers beginning with 2017 until the present day. In addition, some English content from news agencies such as ITAR-TASS Daily is available in the Universal Database of Russian/CIS Newswires from approximately the late 1990s to 2013. Sources of translated materials include the Current Digest described above and World News Connection.
Subscription resources marked with a padlock are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.