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Soviet newspapers: Can I search the contents of Soviet newspapers?

Can I search the contents of Soviet newspapers?

Is it possible to search the contents of Soviet newspapers without having to browse thousands of pages? Yes, sort of, for certain titles.

Летопись газетных статей

Letopis' gazetnykh statei ("Chronicle of newspaper articles") is an index to all substantial articles published in a number of Russian-language newspapers. It has been published since 1936, initially monthly, then, since 1977, weekly. It includes coverage of the following titles:

  • "Central" or national-level newspapers:
    • Водный транспорт (earlier title: Речной транспорт), Воздушный транспорт, Гудок, Известия, Комсомольская правда, Красная звезда, Лесная промышленность, Литературная газета, Медицинская газета (earlier title: Медицинский работник), Правда, Сельская жизнь (earlier title: Сельское хозяйство), Советская культура, Советская торговля, Советский спорт, Социалистическая индустрия, Строительная газета, Труд, Учительская газета, Экономическая газета.
  • Republic-level newspapers:
    • Бакинский рабочий, Заря Востока, Казахстанская правда, Коммунист (Ереван), Коммунист Таджикистана, Литературная Россия (earlier title: Литература и жизнь), Правда Востока, Правда Украины, Советская Белоруссия, Советская Киргизия, Советская Латвия, Советская Литва, Советская Молдавия, Советская Россия, Советская Эстония, Туркменская искра.
  • City newspapers:
    • Ленинградская правда, Московская правда, Московский комсомолец.

Other titles were also indexed throughout the publication's history, for example Московский строитель and Ленинское знамя (Петрозаводск) in the 1950s, Совхозная газета before it became defunct in 1954, and Книжное обозрение, Московские новости, Поиск, Правительственный вестник, Рабочая трибуна, as they emerged or grew in prominence during perestroika and glasnost.

Letopis' gazetnykh statei is organized by topic according to the Soviet bibliographic classification scheme, which underwent several changes over the years, though "Marxism-Leninism" always remained the first category. The basic outline of the classification scheme was typically included in each issue. Quarterly name and geographic indexes (указатели) were also published (in the 1980s included with each issue).

Letopis' gazetnykh statei is a powerful, though very clunky tool. If you are working with a short range of dates, it is absolutely indispensable. If you are tracing developments across many years or decades, working with its hundreds of issues becomes unwieldy and too laborious. Nevertheless, there is no substitute for it, and, criminally, no publicly available digital version as of 2022 (a subscription service exists in the Russian Federation:; UNC University Libraries is investigating it.)

  • 1954, 1968-2004 in print (with some issues missing) via UNC University Libraries.
  • 1943-1984 on microfilm (with some issues missing) via UNC University Libraries.
  • 1959-2011 in print via Duke University Libraries.


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Kirill Tolpygo
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