Soviet Union Information Bureau


NEWSPAPER circulation in the Soviet Union has grown with the growth of literacy. Before the war the combined circulation of the newspapers was 2,500,000 and in the spring of 1928 it was 8,250,000. There were fewer newspapers in 1928 than in 1913, but individual circulations were much larger. Magazines, which had but a slight circulation before the Revolution, now have a circulation even greater than the newspapers.

  Newspapers Total Circulation
1913 859 2,500,700
1923 485 3,013,139
1924 53! 4,447,603
1925 589 7,557,104
1926 622 8,295,201
1927 56 7,683,747
1928 (April 1) 559 8,250,200
  Magazines Circulation
1927 1,291 8,403,540

Of the newspaper circulation in 1928 over 5,000,000 represented daily newspapers. Of this about one-fifth was represented by the circulation of the two principal dailies, Izvestia and Pravda, both published in Moscow. In August, 1928, the daily circulation of Izvestia averaged 432,325 copies and of Pravda 572,183 copies.

The distribution of the newspapers among the six Constituent Republics in 1927 was as follows:

  Newspapers Total Circulation
R.S.F.S.R 395 6,318,000
Ukraine 89 878,000
Transcaucasia 34 278,000
White Russia 19 102,000
Uzbek and Turkoman 19 108,000
Total   7,684,000

At the present time newspapers, magazines and books are being published in 49 languages, in 27 of which there was no publication prior to the war. There were 206 newspapers with a circulation of 831,753 published in non-Russian languages in 1927, as well as 130 magazines. The non-Russian nationalities had 34 book publishing houses. Between 1919 and 1925 a total of 5,430 books were published in the Ukrainian language, more than had been published in the previous 120 years.

Before the war there were only four peasant papers with a negligible circulation. To-day there are over 200 with a total circulation of nearly 2,000,000. Of these 9 with a circulation of 435,670 are printed in languages other than Russian. On the average one farm out of ten subscribes to a newspaper.

The worker and peasant newspaper correspondents constitute an enormous army. There were 192,889 peasant correspondents in 1927, and 115,607 worker correspondents, a total of 335,448, as compared with 216,000 in 1925.

The peasant periodicals have done much, by a ceaseless warfare against inefficiency in village Soviets, to improve the character of local administrations. Chief among these periodicals is the weekly Peasant Gazette (Krestyanskaya Gazeta) with a circulation of well over a million, with upwards of 6,000 village correspondents. This paper receives close to a million letters annually from peasant subscribers.

BOOKS.- There are some 2,000 organizations in the Soviet Union engaged in the publication of books, but these include not more than 100 with any considerable output, and of these 30 central publishing houses produce 80 per cent of the entire output of books. Of these the State Publishing House (Gosizdat) of the R.S.F.S.R. is by far the most important, publishing half the number of copies issued in the Soviet Union and furnishing half the total book trade turnover. Private publishing houses in 1927 furnished less than 25 per cent of the total number of titles and only 6 per cent of the number of copies. They are declining both in number and output.

The total book production amounts to from $50,000,000 to $60,000,000 annually, at cost price.

The State Publishing House originated in 1919 as a departmental publishing office of the People's Commissariat of Education. With the inauguration of the new economic policy it was placed on an independent and nominally profit-making basis. It issues from 3,250 to 3,750 titles annually.

Statistics of book publishing in U.S.S.R.:

  Titles Copies
1912 34,620 133,562,000
1925 36,416 242,036,000
1927 44,000 190,000,000

Titles of books published in 1926 were divided under the following categories:

Textbooks 40
Sociology and Economics 6
Lenin Literature 5
Propaganda (1) 20
Peasant Literature 16
Science 5
Popular Science 2
Children's Literature 2
Belles Lettres and Art 4
Total 100

(1) The term "propaganda," as used in the Soviet Union, has a much broader connotation than that commonly applied in the United States. The hooks so listed include the huge literature on such diverse subjects of popular instruction as personal hygiene, cam of children, home economics, diet, temperance, exercise, mental improvement, personal efficiency, etc.