The University Library is delighted to introduce to Cambridge three new digital archives comprising historic and rare newspapers from nineteenth century Russia and from the recent period of insurgency in the Ukraine.
Together these archives encompass the political and cultural life of the pre-Soviet era Russia and the voices of the separatist movements fighting for the establishment of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic, in the reporting of 10 newspaper titles through 2013 to 2015.
Niva, an illustrated weekly journal of literature, politics and modern life was the most popular magazine of the late-nineteenth-century Russia. It was published from 1870 to 1918 in St.Petersburg. The journal was widely read by an audience that extended from primary schoolteachers, rural parish priests, and the urban middle class to the gentry. It contained large colored prints of art by famous Russian artists. The journal had a section on Russian classical writers: Gogol, Lermontov, Goncharov, Dostoevsky, Chekhov and many others. By the early 20th century Niva had a circulation of over 200,000.
The Niva archive includes its supplement Dlia detei (“For children“), of only 12 issues printed in 1917.
“I would have pawned this money with pleasure” — Dlia detei, 1917:6
One of the first Russian literary and political journal. Together with literature and arts the journal enlightened its readers on problems of internal and foreign policy of Russia, history and political life of foreign countries. It became conservative since 1815
This database incorporates 10 rare newspapers from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk (Lugansk, in local spelling) regions of Ukraine. Both Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic were established as independent state entities after local referendums conducted in May 2014 and organized by the separatists leaders. Although the results of the referenda have not been recognized neither by Ukraine, the EU or the United States, its direct result led to an all out war between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian separatists resulting in thousands of deaths from both sides.
Although punctured by several significant developments, the conflict in Eastern Ukraine took several dramatic turns grabbing the attention of the media around the world. The two most dramatic events that redefined the perceptions of the conflict both locally and globally, were the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, or MH17, over the city of Torez, Donetsk Oblast, and the Battle of Illovaisk, where an estimated 1000 Ukrainian military personnel were killed. If the result of the shooting down of the Malaysian Boeing was the jarring realization in the West of the international implications of the conflict, the Illovaisk debacle effectively forced the government in Kiev into negotiations with Insurgents and their Russian backers. Naturally the western media as well as those in Ukraine and Russia were awash with analysis of both watershed moments, with diametrically opposed narratives, spins and counter-spins. And although insurgent leaders were almost omni-present in the Russian media to tell “their side of the story,” their international media visibility has since diminished.
Since at least the Russian Revolution of 1917, rebels of all stripes have understood the power of media in shaping the information field and have made no little effort to control them at the first chance. Therefore it is no surprise that following their declaration of independence from Ukraine, the pro-Russian insurgents have taken over the media, both independent and formerly government-run, both print and broadcast, thereby influencing and controlling the information flow to and from territories under their control. Aside from taking over already existing media, these new governments, and their backers have created new media outlets, with limited circulation, but with a much tighter agenda reflecting the war-time mood.
Staying true to its motto Uncommon Information, Extraordinary Places East View Information services has been able to acquire some of these new newspapers and incorporate them into a single database allowing analysts and researchers unprecedented access to articles and reports from these insurgent regions at the most important and critical junctures. Thus researchers will be able to read news reports and local analysis on the above-mentioned two critical events as insurgents understood it, and as insurgents wanted them to be understood providing an invaluable if critical insight into the local thinking, especially important given the fact that many of these areas are still dangerous no-go zones.
Newspapers in this database cover the important period of military hostilities between the unrecognized states and the government of Ukraine (2013-2015) and contain valuable research material for anyone studying the development of separatist movements in this part of the world