The Library of Congress has a remarkable collection of Russian periodicals published in the eighteenth century. Most of the periodicals are part of the Yudin collection, an extensive selection of mostly Russian print materials which was acquired by the Library of Congress in 1907. For more information about the Yudin collection, see this guide. In addition to having original paper copies of many hard-to-find periodicals from this period in Russian history, the Library of Congress often has complete print runs of these periodicals, giving researchers the opportunity to study a particular journal in its entirety.
The emergence of periodicals in Russia is connected to the success of the nation's first newspapers - Viedomosti (1702-1727) and Sankt-Peterburgskiia viedomosti (1728-1917). In 1728 a supplement to Sankt-Peterburgskiia viedomosti was introduced entitled Mesiachnykh istoricheskikh, genealogicheskikh i geograficheskikh primechanii v Vedomostiakh. Initially, the primary purpose of the supplement was limited to providing additional commentary to articles published in the newspaper, but, as the articles in the supplement became more extensive over time, the publication obtained many of the characteristics of a journal rather than a newspaper supplement, namely a format featuring in-depth essays and articles. The first "born-periodical" in Russia appeared in 1755 with the release of Ezhemesiachnye sochineniia, k pol'ze i uveseleniiu sluzhashchie by the Imperial Academy of Sciences.
Periodical publishing gradually expanded with the debut of the first journal by a private publisher, A. P. Sumarokov's Trudoliubivaia pchela in 1759. The breakthrough moment for periodicals in Russia arrived with the era of satirical journals between 1769-1774. The main periodicals of this era included the journal Vsiakaia Vsiachina, widely understood as an unofficial outlet for the Empress Catherine the Great, and the journals of the prolific publisher, Nikolai Novikov (Truten', Pustomelia, Koshelek, Zhivopisets). Although the major underlying debate of these journals was the nature of satire itself, other pressing topics were discussed as well, such as serfdom and the question of national identity. As the era of satirical journals drew to a close, Russian journalism continued to develop in the late 18th century through the efforts of two major players - Ivan Krylov (Pochta dukhov, Zritel'), who would later become a popular fabulist, and Nikolai Karamzin (Moskovskii zhurnal), a prominent writer and historian who pioneered the Sentimentalist style in Russian literature.
Many Russian periodicals of the eighteenth century feature an eclectic range of content, not having a particular editorial direction per se. It would not be unusual, for example, to find articles about literature, science and agriculture in the same journal. Periodicals became more specialized later in the century in large part due to the trailblazing work of Nikolai Novikov, who published journals with specific audiences in mind, such as children (Dietskoe chtenie dlia serdtsa i razuma) and women (Modnoe ezhemiesiachnoe izdanie, ili, Biblioteka dlia damskago tualeta). As with Russian publishing during the eighteenth century in general, a significant focus for many journals was translation, especially of German, French and English content.
This guide contains bibliographic information for the Russian 18th-century periodicals held by the Library of Congress, including detailed holdings information for each periodical. Most of these periodicals are available in the Rare Book & Special Collections Reading Room. This guide also includes information about Russian 18th-century almanacs and calendars and secondary sources available at the Library of Congress related to Russian 18th-century publishing.