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Reading russia, vol. 3

 | 
Damiano Rebecchini
, 
Raffaella Vassena

Part III. After the Bolshevik Revolution

Reading During the Thaw: Subscription to Literary Periodicals as Evidence for an Intellectual History of Soviet Society

Denis Kozlov

Texte intégral

1There are many ways of defining and analyzing the reading audiences of the post-World War II Soviet Union. Because by that point the country had reached nearly universal adult literacy, a comprehensive analysis would have to encompass the multimillion readership of a monumental number and variety of books and periodicals: popular and specialized, in Russian and other languages, of nationwide, republican, regional, or local appeal. Such an objective is clearly beyond the scope of a chapter or perhaps even a monograph. A focused project may examine the readership of a particular locality, genre, title, author, periodical, publisher, etc. Methodologies differ widely as well. One may look at the social profiles of readers, mechanisms of reader response, particular themes, ideas, and languages that emerged in communications among readers, authors, editors, or other cultural and political entities. Depending on the approach, the end results will vary greatly.

2An especially challenging task is to build a bridge between the history of reading and an intellectual history of Soviet society. What can the examination of any segment of readership tell us about the generation and circulation of ideas in a Soviet community, region, or nation? How exactly did reading matter in such processes? To what extent can findings about one group of readers be projected upon other groups? A scholar of reading as a lens onto the intellectual history of Soviet society risks facing a dismissive attitude. The sample of evidence is usually imperfect, the group of readers under examination too small to allow reliable generalizations, and the whole project therefore is easily declared unrepresentative.

3One case in point is the epoch of the 1950s and 1960s, commonly designated as the Thaw. While common, the designation is not universal. On the one hand, these years were clearly marked by major political, social, intellectual, and linguistic changes, which found an outlet in literary and artistic conversations and thus were often the domain of readers. On the other hand, a broad societal impact of these conversations and changes remains a subject of controversy. Definitions and chronologies of the Thaw vary widely, depending on whether one takes a more or less inclusive approach, either limiting the Thaw to an intelligentsia of the capitals or interpreting it as a broader, far-reaching societal phenomenon.

4In an effort to measure the extent of the Thaw as a phenomenon, this chapter focuses on mechanisms by which Soviet literature during the 1950s and 1960s reached its audiences. Specifically, I examine the circulation of literary periodicals, including those that generated the landmark turbulent discussions of the time: about the tragedies of the Soviet past, about multiple flaws in the economy and daily life, about ethics, material culture, and about languages of self-expression in literature or the arts. In order to analyze how much of an influence those literary discussions had on society, it is necessary to answer a few questions. How many people read literary periodicals during the Thaw? Where and how did they access this literature? Who was reading, listening, responding? To what extent might the controversies that raged on the pages of literary journals and newspapers affect a larger society? How widespread was their circulation and impact, how do we distinguish between “circulation” and “impact,” and how do we measure those?

5My approach in this chapter is deliberately statistical and technical, rather than that of a history of ideas or linguistic evolution. As well, the evidence, and therefore the discussion, primarily focuses on the circulation of Russian-language literary periodicals and does not include literature published in the languages of other Soviet nationalities. For these and other reasons, my conclusions do not claim finality or comprehensiveness. Nonetheless, what follows may hopefully suggest a few links between, on the one hand, the mechanisms and geography of press dissemination during the Thaw and, on the other hand, a socio-intellectual history of this epoch.

1. Subscription and Retail: Official Dissemination Mechanisms of the Soviet Press

  • 1   For the elaboration of this idea, see R. Maguire, Red Virgin Soil: Soviet Literature in the 1920s(...)
  • 2   E.g. RGASPI (Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv sotsial’no-politicheskoi istorii), f. 17, op. 133, (...)

6By the 1950s, the Soviet literary landscape had taken well-established forms. At the center of this landscape stood the phenomenon of a thick literary journal, inherited from the imperial era and revived during the 1920s and 1930s. Affirming its own strategic “line” in matters far beyond the professional literary realm, a thick journal traditionally laid a powerful claim upon its readers, from an aesthetic credo to political views, to economic theories, to socio-ethical guidance. It is not an exaggeration to say that readers formed genuine proto-political parties by rallying around the platforms of particular thick journals. This would be especially the case during the times of relative intellectual permissiveness, such as the 1860s and the 1920s in the past or the upcoming Thaw in the near future.1 Politics aside, for purely literary purposes thick journals were of crucial importance as well. Before getting a chance to come out as a separate book, a major literary text was normally serialized in a thick journal, passing a rigorous test by editorial boards, critics, and censors. For a Soviet writer, publishing in a thick journal was the principal gateway to professional recognition.2

  • 3   “Postanovlenie Orgbiuro TsK VKP(b) O zhurnalakh ‘Zvezda’ i ‘Leningrad’, 14 August 1946,” Pravda, (...)

7Given their importance, the habitat of thick literary journals during the late Stalin years looked painfully small. Similarly to the well-known malokartin’e, the scarcity of new feature film productions at this time, one may also describe the late 1940s and early 1950s as a moment of malozhurnal’e, the scarcity of literary journals, especially the thick monthlies that formed the core of Soviet literature. In the year of Stalin’s death, 1953, there were only four thick literary journals in the capitals. Three were published in Moscow—Novyi mir (New World), Oktiabr’ (October), and Znamia (Banner)—established, respectively, in 1925, 1924, and 1931. The fourth journal, Zvezda (Star), had been published in Leningrad since its inception in 1924. One other major literary journal, Leningrad, which had existed in its latest incarnation since 1940, was eliminated by the Central Committee’s decree in August 1946 during the infamous ideological campaign that also targeted Mikhail Zoshchenko and Anna Akhmatova.3

  • 4Vtoroi vsesoiuznyi s’’ezd sovetskikh pisatelei. 15-26 dekabria 1954 goda. Stenograficheskii otche (...)

8It was not until after Stalin that new thick journals would be launched. In 1955, four of them appeared: Druzhba narodov (Friendship of the Peoples), Iunost’ (Youth), and Inostrannaia literatura (Foreign Literature) in Moscow, as well as Neva in Leningrad. In 1956, two more journals emerged: Nash sovremennik (Our Contemporary, previously an almanac which now became a quarterly, later a bi-monthly, and finally a monthly in 1964) and Molodaia gvardiia (Young Guard, resumed after its publication had ceased in 1941), followed in 1957 by Moskva (Moscow, also previously an almanac)—all published in Moscow.4 To these we should add the journal Avrora, published in Leningrad since 1969, and several regional periodicals, which were produced either in Russian or in the languages of ethnic republics and autonomies. Among the best-known regional Russian-language literary journals were Sibirskie ogni (Siberian Lights, published in Novosibirsk since 1922), Don (published in Rostov-on-Don since 1925), Zvezda Vostoka (The Star of the Orient, published in Tashkent since 1932, under this title since 1946), Ural (published in Sverdlovsk since 1958), and Volga (published in Saratov since 1966).

  • 5   RGAE (Rossiiskii gosudartsvennyi arkhiv ekonomiki), f. 3527, op. 27, d. 122, ll. 16, 21.
  • 6   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 122, ll. 16, 17ob. For Ukrainian population statistics in 1945, see L. (...)
  • 7   Thus, in 1945 800 yearly sets of Oktiabr’ went to Moscow, 300 to Leningrad, 1,650 to Ukraine, and (...)

9Noticeably, it was during the Thaw that new literary journals proliferated. As of the late Stalin years, not only were such journals few, but also their print runs were minuscule. At the end of World War II in 1945, Novyi mir’s nationwide circulation was only 21,000 copies in both subscription and retail, while Oktiabr’ sported an even lower 12,400.5 To see how tiny these numbers were, it is enough to say that in 1945 Moscow, a city of about four million people, received 2,500 copies of Novyi mir. Leningrad received seven hundred. All of postwar Ukraine, a country of at least 27.4 million people, received a paltry 2,000 copies of the journal, while Belarus, with its population of over seven million, got only 600 copies.6 The circulation of other thick journals was equally small.7

  • 8   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 152, l. 116.
  • 9   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 216, l. 18. Belarus also received 1,200 sets of Oktiabr’, 1,100 of Znam (...)
  • 10   RGASPI, f. 17, op. 132, d. 78, ll. 46-48, 50. On the involvement of top-level Soviet leadership i (...)

10After the war, print runs began to grow but remained modest. In 1947, Novyi mir circulated in 59,800 copies in both subscription and retail nationwide (that is, all over the Soviet Union), compared to 60,300 for Oktiabr’, 59,300 for Znamia, and 25,000 for Zvezda.8 This meant, for example, that in 1947 the seven-million population of Belarus received only 1,000 yearly subscriptions to Novyi mir.9 Two years later, in 1949, the journal’s nationwide circulation rose, but only slightly: to 63,300. In that same year, the writer and poet Konstantin Simonov (1915-1979) who was Novyi mir’s editor-in-chief in 1946-1950 and 1954-1958, urged Central Committee secretary Georgii Malenkov to increase the journal’s yearly circulation to 100,000. Simonov described the current circulation as “utterly insufficient to satisfy the readers’ demands.” Appealing to a first-rank political figure about a matter seemingly so technical was not an exception but a regular editorial practice, maintained since the early Soviet years. Under Stalin, literature was a matter of high political importance, with decisions about publication, circulation, editorial appointments, awards, or reprisals against editors and authors frequently becoming top state priorities. Strategic issues of literary policy, including circulations, were customarily resolved not by the Union of Soviet Writers but at the very top of the power hierarchy: by the Politburo, Orgburo, or the Secretariat of the Central Committee. At times, these issues were resolved by Stalin personally.10

  • 11   ORF GLM (Otdel rukopisnykh fondov Gosudarstvennogo literaturnogo muzeia), f. 168, op. 1, d. 40, l (...)

11And so, Simonov wrote to Malenkov. To advocate the circulation increase for his journal, he noted, for example, that a major industrial and research urban center, Stalino (the contemporary name for Donetsk), received only 102 copies of Novyi mir in 1949 for a population of nearly half a million, while Stalingrad got only 202—apparently even less than in 1945 when it had received 250 copies. Simonov was a skillful politician, and it might have been not accidental that he chose two cities bearing the leader’s name as his examples of a presumable vacuum in literary-ideological indoctrination. In yet another example he provided, Armenia, a republic with a population of about 1.3 million, received only 252 copies of Novyi mir in 1949—a drop in the ocean, although a drop five times larger than in 1945, when the republic had received a microscopic 50 copies of the journal.11

  • 12   RGASPI, f. 17, op. 132, d. 226, ll. 26-27. The circulation stated on the back page of Novyi mir’s (...)
  • 13   Ibid; RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 171, l. 138; ibid., d. 176, ll. 45, 47.

12Despite illustrating these deficiencies, Simonov failed to secure any drastic improvement in his journal’s circulation. All the Central Committee agreed to do was to increase it from 63,300 to 66,000 copies nationwide, and only because that was the amount by which subscription to the journal had exceeded the designated maximum print run. Characteristically, this technical issue was managed at the very pinnacle of political power: by a special decree of the Central Committee Secretariat.12 By May 1950, Novyi mir’s circulation grew a little further, to 67,300. Oktiabr’ circulated in an equally unimpressive 65,400 copies, Znamia had 61,300, and Zvezda 27,000.13

  • 14   Historiographically, the concept of the Soviet economy of shortages was developed by Elena Osokin (...)
  • 15   On the overall evolution of the Soviet press during the 1920s and 1930s see Brooks, Thank You, Co (...)
  • 16   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 203, ll. 9-11.

13The paltry circulation of literary journals was part of a general scarcity of printed matter, and more broadly, of the overall economy of shortages.14 The Soviet system of press dissemination was based not on market categories but on the principle of centralized allocation of resources, with ideological priorities as a constant additional factor. As a result, readers had to deal not directly with a publishing house or the editorial office of a periodical to which they wished to subscribe, but with a special government institution that carried out subscriptions. The system dated back to the early Soviet years, specifically to Lenin’s government decree of 21 November 1918, which had prescribed employing the postal service in the distribution of periodicals. During the 1920s, the post proved not up to the task, technically let alone ideologically, while the overall press distribution system remained in a state of improvised diversity that often resembled chaos. In the second half of the 1920s, a gradual centralization of the press distribution took place, until finally in 1930 a rigidly uniform state mechanism of press dissemination emerged.15 In that year, a government agency titled Soiuzpechat’—literally, “Union Press”—was formed, replacing its inefficient predecessors and monopolizing subscription to periodicals. Operating within the system of the People’s Commissariat of Posts and Telegraphs (in 1932 transformed into the People’s Commissariat of Communications), from 1937 Soiuzpechat’ became responsible not only for subscription but also for distribution of the press.16

  • 17   On the emergence of the Central Committee-regulated system of distribution quotas during the 1930 (...)

14World War II made the system even more strictly regimented, drastically reducing opportunities for individual readers to access periodicals. Information, just as paper on which it was printed, was now in especially short supply, while at the same time acquiring great strategic importance. Many newspapers and journals, including literary ones, were discontinued, while the circulation of others sharply dropped. Paper was channeled toward the publication of those newspapers, leaflets, and other venues of mass persuasion that directly served the military effort. In what largely replaced the prewar system of subscription (heavily regulated by the Central Committee as it already had been), most periodicals were now distributed according to centrally imposed “limits,” first priority in the military and then among various civil institutions, with a fixed quota for each title per institution.17

15After the war much of this regimentation stayed in place, the country only gradually returning to peacetime practices of subscription and retail. During the late Stalin years, a system of tight quotas imposed by the Central Committee and enforced via the regional party and Komsomol hierarchy continued to restrain subscription to periodicals. Under the party supervision, the technical distribution of quotas to institutions and localities—or “allocation of limits” (razmeshchenie limitov), as the contemporary term went—became the purview of Soiuzpechat’. Structurally a unit of the USSR People’s Commissariat (since 1946 Ministry) of Communications, and officially known as the ministry’s Central Directorate for the Distribution and Expedition of the Press, Soiuzpechat’ operated a wide network of regional branches. In co-ordination with the postal service, it reached the population via local post offices as well as managed its own retail outlets.

  • 18   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d, 123, l. 33; see also ibid., d. 191, l. 43.
  • 19   RGASPI, f. 17, op. 132, d. 226, ll. 26-27; RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 171, ll. 137-138; RGAE, f. 3 (...)

16Every year during and shortly after the war, the “allocation of limits” became a major headache for thousands of Soviet officials. In a characteristically militarized fashion, they described their yearly efforts as “subscription campaigns,” drafting numerous memos to emphasize every such undertaking as a matter of state importance. “The distribution of the press is not a technical but a political task. It is imperative for you to convey this idea to each and every employee,” senior Soiuzpechat’ bureaucrats in Omsk instructed their subordinates in November 1944 about subscription for 1945.18 Every such campaign required complex co-ordination among regional departments of education, planning, the military, the police, health care, etc., not to mention party and Komsomol committees. The institutions busily corresponded with each other about the proper allocation of press quotas to cities and villages, local soviets and collective farms, libraries and “reading huts,” schools, hospitals, or even veterinarian clinics. High authorities up to the minister of communications himself reminded their staff about strictly observing the quotas and bearing personal responsibility for exceeding those. Occasional instances of employee oversight that led to such excesses became political emergencies: heads rolled, metaphorically at least, and to satisfy the unforeseen extra subscribers, decisions to print additional copies had to be endorsed at the topmost level of power, as it happened with Novyi mir in 1949.19

  • 20   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 152, ll. 103-116; ibid., d. 159, ll. 16-18. On institutional subscripti (...)

17Much of this centralization of subscription persisted into the 1950s and 1960s. However, shortly after World War II there also emerged a trend toward liberalization and gradual diminution of the military language. Realizing how cumbersome the existing mechanism was, Soiuzpechat’ administrators began pushing for reform. In October-November 1946 the head of the agency, Fedor Ramsin, approached the Central Committee directorate of propaganda and agitation and its head Georgii Aleksandrov with suggestions for improving the system. In the first place, according to Ramsin, the very notion of a subscriber was to evolve. Institutional subscription, the practice by which an institution was allowed to subscribe to periodicals paying for the subscription out of a state-funded account, was to be drastically reduced. From now on, individual citizens would be encouraged to subscribe on their own. The advantages of the new system were obvious. Although limits on circulation and therefore subscription remained in place, periodicals could now reach a broader audience, as opposed to the earlier practice when much of the print runs ended up sitting in various institutional offices. The financial aspect was equally and perhaps even more important. Individual subscription meant that people would spend their own money on subscription rather than take advantage of copies of periodicals purchased by state enterprises on the government’s dime and freely available for reading, say, at a factory library. For example, for the thick literary journals, Novyi mir, Znamia, Oktiabr’, and Zvezda, 60% of circulation would be allocated for individual subscription. Retail sales via bookstores and kiosks were to grow as well. The state thus would end up with a net financial gain, turning press dissemination from a liability into an asset.20

  • 21   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 159, ll. 16-21, 26-27, 55-56; ibid., d. 1423, l. 173.

18These suggestions came into effect with the 30 November 1946 decree of the USSR Council of Ministers, “On the Order of Distribution of Newspapers and Journals.” That winter, thousands of subscription outlets for individual readers opened all over the Soviet Union, at local post offices and branches of Soiuzpechat’. Factories, administrative offices, institutes, or hospitals had to cut their subscription budgets, while individuals indeed subscribed more actively. The share of individual subscriptions in the overall subscription to central journals and newspapers grew from 37-42% in 1946 to 66-73% in 1947. During the post-Stalin years, the individual share in subscriptions appears to have increased even more, although much depended on a particular title and location. At least in Moscow, two decades later, in 1965-66, nearly 90% of all subscription to periodicals was individual.21

  • 22   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1196, l. 14 (K. Sergeichuk, deputy minister of communications of the US (...)
  • 23   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1196, ll. 24-26 (“Spisok izdanii, rasprostraniaemykh v 1964 godu ograni (...)

19Shortages of the press were not overcome, however. Print runs often remained insufficient, and subscription, although now to a large degree individual, continued to be limited for a number of titles—formally until 18 October 1964.22 Immediately prior to that date, the list of limited-subscription periodicals had included 53 titles. To be precise, as of 15 July 1964, according to the information sent by the USSR Minister of Communications, Nikolai Psurtsev, to the Central Committee, the official inventory of periodicals with limited circulation in the USSR consisted of 9 newspapers—Izvestiia, Sel’skaia zhizn’, Sovetskaia Rossiia, Komsomol’skaia pravda, Krasnaia zvezda, Sovetskii sport, Trud, Pionerskaia pravda, and Literaturnaia Rossiia—and 44 journals: Za rubezhom, Krestianka, Krokodil, Nauka i zhizn’, Ogonek, the literary supplement to Ogonek, Rabotnitsa, Smena, Sovetskaia zhenshchina, Sovetskii Soiuz, Iunost, Inostrannaia literatura, Bloknot agitatora, Vestnik protivovozdushnoi oborony, Voenno-meditsinskii zhurnal, Tekhnika i vooruzhenie, Tyl i snabzhenie sovetskikh vooruzhennykh sil, Sovetskii voin, Veselye kartinki, Vokrug sveta, Murzilka, Tekhnika molodezhi, Iunyi tekhnik, the supplement to Iunyi tekhnik, Zhenshchiny mira, Kur’er IUNESKO, Za rulem, Radio, Zdorov’e, Znanie – sila, Legkaia atletika, Sportivnye igry, Fizkul’tura i sport, Zhurnal mod, Modeli sezona, Muzykal’naia zhizn’, Okhota i okhotnich’e khoziaistvo, Roman-gazeta, Neva, Sovetskii ekran, Sovetskoe kino, Avtomobil’nyi transport, Mir nauki, and Sluzhba byta.23

20The long list shows that, in addition to several major newspapers and a few specialized publications, among limited-circulation periodicals were numerous magazines devoted to popular topics such as fashion, sports, home economics, health care advice, movies, hunting, driving, etc., as well as titles for children – all of which obviously enjoyed mass appeal. The list also included four literary journals: Roman-gazeta, Inostrannaia literatura, Neva, and Iunost’. Literature thus was not an exception but rather part of the general environment of scarcity of the printed word.

  • 24   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1423, ll. 18, 56.
  • 25   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 176, ll. 45, 13.
  • 26   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 213, l. 33 (January 1955).
  • 27   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1416, l. 44.

21Especially in big cities like Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, or Sverdlovsk, there were always more people who wished to subscribe to a newspaper or journal than the quotas allowed.24 Retail sales could not compensate readers for the limited subscription opportunities, because retail trade fared even worse. Kiosks were few and the supply of journals and newspapers in them was chronically insufficient. As a result, retail usually comprised only a small portion of a periodical’s circulation. To take literary journals as an example, in May 1950 no less than 98.3% of the circulation of Novyi mir, 98.3% of Oktiabr’, 92.8% of Znamia, and 100% of Zvezda was distributed via subscription, leaving negligible amounts for retail.25 To make things worse, local Soiuzpechat’ administrators often considered batches of periodicals designated for retail as a mere reserve to tap from when they ran out of subscription allocations.26 In subsequent years the proportion of retail sales of periodicals increased, but retail would always account for a minor share of circulation. Thus, in 1966 retail accommodated only 20% of Novyi mir’s nationwide circulation.27 Such shortages characterized not only literary periodicals. It was often hard if not impossible to buy any journal, and sometimes even a newspaper, in a retail kiosk.

  • 28   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 123, l. 30ob; M. Filimonov, “U gazetnogo stenda na Ploshchadi Revoliuts (...)

22The situation prompted the authorities to be creative and come up with various devices for providing broad public access to the printed word. One such device were the ubiquitous public newsboards. A common sight in the streets of a Soviet city was that of a group of people standing and reading a paper glued to a large newsboard. An occasional side effect of this practice of collective outdoor public reading were animated ad hoc discussions, in which readers exchanged opinions right there in the street.28

  • 29   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 176, ll. 16-17, 19 (1950); ibid., d. 204, ll. 15-16 (1954); ibid., d. 2 (...)
  • 30   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 204, l. 16.

23The shortages would plague the Soviet system of press dissemination throughout the late 1940s, 1950s, and afterwards. Official reports frequently noted that the readers’ demand for periodicals exceeded supply. Again, literary journals were not just unexceptional but not even prominent in this regard. From time to time, shortages would emerge even for such major central newspapers (officially limited or not) as Pravda, Izvestiia, Komsomol’skaia pravda, or for popular illustrated journals such as Rabotnitsa (The Working Woman), Krestianka (The Peasant Woman), and Ogonek (Little Fire), all of which had far greater print runs than Novyi mir, Oktiabr’, or Zvezda.29 In 1954 Soiuzpechat’ recorded a shortage of up to one million subscriptions for Pravda. Subscriptions (and shortages thereof) going into millions were something about which the editors of thick literary journals at the time could not even dream.30

  • 31   On paper supply shortages during the 1920s and 1930s, see Brooks, “The Breakdown in the Productio (...)
  • 32   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 705, l. 20 (Stepanov to Shepilov, May 6, 1957).
  • 33   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 213, l. 24 (N. Psurtsev to Khrushchev, March 8, 1955). For a similar sh (...)
  • 34   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 830, ll. 21-21a, 112-114.
  • 35   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 830, l. 115 (February 14, 1961).
  • 36   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 834, l. 138. For the Pskov population statistics as per the 1959 USSR c (...)
  • 37   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 19ob, 82ob, 114ob, 180ob, 212ob, 309ob.

24Print runs were not easily brought up to match the readers’ demand, in part because of a frequent shortage of paper supply in the publishing industry—an endemic issue that had afflicted Soviet printing and press distribution since the 1920s.31 Requests to increase print runs in spite of paper shortages continued to go straight to the highest-ranking party and government officials, just as in Stalin’s time. In May 1957, the head of Soiuzpechat’ Boris Stepanov wrote directly to the Central Committee Secretary Dmitrii Shepilov citing such a paper supply shortage and asking the CC to “find a possibility” for increasing print runs at least for some periodicals and at least between June and September of that year.32 Two years prior, in March 1955, the USSR minister of communications Psurtsev had sent a similar request to Khrushchev personally.33 In 1961, a particularly severe crisis of paper supply forced the party leadership to contemplate reducing the circulation of central newspapers two to five times.34 Readers sent angry letters directly to Khrushchev, complaining, as one Evgenii Voronikin from Pskov did, that retail kiosks in the city received only five to ten copies of each central newspaper. Naturally, those were sold out early in the morning. “Your statements and speeches, Nikita Sergeevich, inspire us,” the reader remarked caustically. “Only, it is not always possible to hear them […] on the radio. One cannot buy a central newspaper at a Soiuzpechat’ kiosk after work. […] Pravda and Izvestiia are farther away from us than the planet Saturn.”35 Subscription apparently provided no relief in this local crisis of newspaper retail. In 1961 Pskov oblast’, a region populated by nearly a million people, was allowed only 14,835 subscriptions to Pravda, or one for every 67 individuals. But these numbers looked generous in comparison to the minuscule local circulation of literary journals. Novyi mir, for example, circulated in the Pskov oblast merely in 393 yearly subscriptions in 1961, or one per every 2,545 individuals.36 Similar scarcity existed in many other regions—Altai and Arkhangel’sk, Belgorod and Astrakhan’, Vologda and Briansk.37

  • 38   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 213, l. 25 (B. Stepanov, acting head of Soiuzpechat’, to the Central Co (...)
  • 39   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 760, ll. 1-2; ibid., d. 830, l. 184.
  • 40   E.g., RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1380 (a reference note (spravka) by the Main Directorate of Soiuz (...)
  • 41   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1416, l. 109; ibid., d. 1423, ll. 5, 8-10.

25Soiuzpechat’ did try to improve the situation. So far as the readers’ demand and the paper supply allowed, the agency endeavored to minimize the list of titles with limited circulation. It also began moving away from centrally imposed circulation quotas to a system where circulation would be established not before but after a yearly subscription campaign, on the basis of readers’ demand. At least from the mid-1950s, Soiuzpechat’ officials regularly made the case, among themselves and before the Central Committee, for determining the print runs of periodicals upon receipt of subscription requests from regions and localities.38 This eventually worked, at least in part, as on 25 July 1958 the Central Committee implemented those suggestions by a special decree.39 By the second half of the 1960s, factoring subscribers’ requests (aggregated by local branches of Soiuzpechat’ and then submitted up the institutional ladder) into decision-making on circulations had become standard practice, at least officially.40 Overall, the trend during the late 1950s and 1960s was toward increasing co-ordination between the printing press and the readers’ interests. Circulation numbers became more flexible and could go up or down each year as well as fluctuate within a given year depending on local demand. The number of limited-circulation titles diminished, until eventually the subscription limits were removed in October 1964. Incidentally or not, this happened shortly after Khrushchev’s removal from power.41

26At the same time, even after 1965, the first officially “limitless” year, subscription remained centrally planned, and economic vicissitudes would occasionally force the authorities to re-impose limits, formally or informally. Such restrictions did not necessarily emanate from Moscow. Local officials responsible for press dissemination often felt uncomfortable and disoriented in the new “limitless” environment, as they had been accustomed to top-down distribution rather than any genuine advertisement of newspapers and journals. The central Soiuzpechat’ authorities had to remind their local subordinates that imposition and enforcement in the matter of subscriptions were no longer admissible.42 In reality, such practices often carried on. Readers would long remember the various subscription schemes improvised by local administrators—such as mandating Communist party members to subscribe to party press, inducing people to cast lots for the opportunity to subscribe to an interesting journal, or imposing mandatory subscription “packages” where titles of high demand were coupled with less popular ones. It was not until 1988-89, already under Gorbachev, that subscription limits were ultimately abolished.43

  • 44   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 687, l. 11.
  • 45   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1423, ll. 3, 174, 177-79.
  • 46   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1423, ll. 179-180.
  • 47   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 105; ibid., d. 1423, l. 175. See also ibid., d. 1423, l. 13 (a (...)

27What made the press shortages all the more acute during the Thaw years was the readers’ growing demand for the printed word, especially in the capitals. Muscovites, for example, had purchased 2.3 million yearly subscriptions to newspapers and journals in 1953, but in 1956 subscriptions in the city jumped up to 3.75 million.44 Literature apparently played an important role in this reading boom. A few years later, in the 1960s, the circulation of literary periodicals in Moscow rivaled that of the Communist party periodicals. In 1966, subscription to literary journals in the capital exceeded subscription to Communist party journals, even though the latter were closely monitored and imposed upon the audiences by all means available. In 1966, Muscovites purchased 246,419 yearly subscriptions to party journals, but as many as 316,182 subscriptions to literary journals. As for the main national newspaper, Pravda, it circulated in 320,400 subscriptions in Moscow in 1966, a number almost equal to the subscriptions to literary journals that year. The comparison mortified the city Soiuzpechat’ officials. In fact, subscriptions to Pravda went down in Moscow, from 345,007 in 1964 to 320,380 in 1965, and remained stagnant at 320,400 in 1966.45 Pravda’s counterpart for younger audiences, Komsomol’skaia pravda, remained chronically unpopular among university students. In 1965 all higher education establishments in Moscow mustered 9,291 subscriptions to Komsomol’skaia pravda, or merely 3.4% of city-wide subscription to the newspaper. In 1966, Komsomol’skaia pravda’s circulation in Moscow’s institutions of higher learning plummeted even further: down to 7,509 subscriptions.46 Literature, on the other hand, was doing remarkably well. Thus, the lifting of subscription limits in October 1964 prompted a nearly threefold increase in subscriptions to the journal Iunost’ in Moscow: from 59,646 on January 1, 1964, to 155,413 on January 1, 1965.47

  • 48   On relevant aspects of Soviet literary history during the 1960s, see, e.g., D. Spechler, Permitte (...)

28I will return to the question of readers’ demand for literary periodicals, but it is evident that at least in the capital the demand existed, and it was quite considerable. This demand may in part explain the growth in the literary periodicals’ circulation. Nationwide in the Soviet Union, despite occasional fluctuations, the circulation of literary journals gradually went up during the postwar decades. In what follows, I discuss some of the dynamics of this circulation, often focusing on two emblematic literary journals of the Thaw years. One was Novyi mir, edited in 1946-1950 and 1958-1970 by Aleksandr Tvardovskii (1910-1971); the other was Oktiabr’, edited in 1961-1973 by Vsevolod Kochetov (1912-1973). The strategic rivalry between these two journals became proverbial during the 1960s and is often mentioned in studies of Soviet literary history. Under Tvardovskii’s editorship, Novyi mir embarked on a long quest for a new literary ethos as well as language. The goal of this new literature, based on the critical and humanistic Russian literary tradition, was to enable writers and readers to face the tragic complexity of the twentieth-century experience. On the other hand, Kochetov’s Oktiabr’ adopted an ideologically conservative stance, seeking to mobilize literature for a defense of the Soviet order from a potentially destructive post-Stalin reassessment.48

29It is helpful to see what the circulations of these two journals were at the time, and how they compared to the overall background of Soviet literary periodicals.

  • 49   Cited from Novyi mir’s issues for those months.
  • 50   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 789, l. 6; ibid., d. 830, l. 124.
  • 51   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 830, l. 5; d. 708, l. 87; d. 896, l. 4; d. 1189, l. 12; d. 1274, l. 27.
  • 52   For 1966, 1968, and 1970, respectively: RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1416, l. 44; ibid., d. 1619, l. (...)

30Novyi mir’s circulation rose to 104,000 in June 1950, 130,000 in January 1952, and 140,000 in January 1954.49 Subsequently it dropped to 100,000 in 1960, and further down to 85,000 in 1961 (those were the years of the major paper supply crisis), but later began rising again.50 In 1962, the year when the journal published Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Odin den’ Ivana Denisovicha), its circulation increased to 90,000, then to 100,000 in early 1963, and by the end of that year apparently up to 113,000.51 By January 1966, the journal’s total circulation had risen to 150,000 copies, with 120,000 allocated for subscription and 30,000 for retail. By January 1968, in the Russian Federation alone the journal had surpassed its 1966 all-Union subscription figures, accumulating 121,000 subscriptions. As of January 1970, the last month of Tvardovskii’s second editorship, subscription alone (without retail) to Novyi mir in the USSR hovered at 146,000.52

  • 53   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, ll. 176ob, 178ob.

31To compare, in the same month of January 1970 the nationwide subscription to Oktiabr’ was 108,800 (down from 150,000 in 1965 and 1966). Among other thick literary journals, Zvezda accumulated 69,000 subscriptions, Druzhba narodov had 62,000, Znamia 108,000, Inostrannaia literatura 245,000, Avrora 45,400, Moskva 152,200, Nash sovremennik 62,000, and Neva had 222,000 subscriptions.53 All the numbers are cited without retail, which remained consistently small, anywhere between 10 and 20% of a journal’s total circulation.

  • 54   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, l. 177.
  • 55   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, l. 161.

32Of all literary periodicals, the one that enjoyed the largest circulation in the Soviet Union at the time was Roman-gazeta, which as of January 1970 was distributed nationwide in an impressive 2,087,100 copies in subscriptions alone.54 Roman-gazeta, whose title may be translated literally as “Novel-newspaper,” was not a traditional journal but a special combination of a periodical with a book, which usually devoted an entire issue to a single lengthy novel. It exceeded in circulation even the principal literary newspaper, Literaturnaia gazeta (Literary Gazette), whose nationwide subscription in January 1970 was 961,400 copies.55

  • 56   See, e.g., B. Menzel, Bürgerkrieg um Worte: Die russische Literaturkritik der Perestrojka (Köln, (...)
  • 57   V. E. Evgen’ev-Maksimov, Poslednie gody “Sovremennika.” 1863-1866 (Leningrad, 1939), 113; Maguire (...)
  • 58   J. Brooks, “Readers and Reading at the End of the Tsarist Era,” in W. M. Todd III (ed.), Literatu (...)
  • 59 Maguire, 368-370; V. Lakshin, “Pisatel’, chitatel’, kritik. Stat’ia pervaia [1965],” in his Liter (...)
  • 60   Vladimir Lakshin, the journal’s most famous literary critic of the Tvardovskii years, was the fir (...)

33With the possible exception of Roman-gazeta, the circulation of Soviet literary journals during the 1960s may look rather low, especially if compared to the million-some print runs that thick journals would boast a couple of decades later, during the Gorbachev perestroika.56 However, the circulation numbers of the 1960s were considerably higher than those of either the imperial or the early Soviet decades. For example, Nikolai Nekrasov’s Sovremennik (The Contemporary), the nineteenth-century reformist journal often mentioned as Novyi mir’s predecessor and ethical inspiration, had circulated in about 7,000 copies in 1860-1861, its best years, and usually far less than that.57 In the 1880s and 1890s, according to Jeffrey Brooks, the circulation of the most successful thick journals did not exceed 15,000.58 Soviet literary journals of the 1920s had circulations comparable to those of the imperial era. In 1927 Novyi mir circulated in 28,000 copies (a record among thick journals), while Oktiabr’ only reached 4,000 to 5,000 copies after 1924, 2,500 copies in 1928, and 10,000 copies in 1929.59 The late Stalin years, as shown above, yielded somewhat greater numbers, and yet even those were inferior to what came afterwards. It was during the post-Stalin 1950s and especially 1960s that literary journals made major progress in reaching their audiences. To take Novyi mir again as an example, the journal’s circulation increased sevenfold between 1945 and 1966: from 21,000 to 150,000 copies.60 If the numbers tell us anything, it is that, small as the circulation of literary periodicals may have been, during the Thaw they circulated more widely in Soviet society than ever before.

2. Regional Variations in Subscription to Literary Periodicals

34It is helpful to go further and analyze the regional dynamics of circulation and in particular subscription to literary periodicals. Such statistics are available, if fragmentary. Table 1 compares the subscription data for a selection of major Russian-language journals across several republics of the Soviet Union as of July 1964, adding Moscow to the comparison. The table includes not only literary journals but a variety of periodicals: three literary ones (Znamia, Oktiabr’, and Iunost’), the official political journal of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Kommunist), and four popular illustrated magazines: Krestianka, Rabotnitsa, Krokodil (The Crocodile) (a highly popular satirical magazine), and Ogonek.

  • 61   Sources: RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 13; “15 novykh nezamisimykh gosudarstv. Chislennost’ (...)

Table 1. Subscription to Russian-language journals, Moscow vs. selected Union republics, July 1964. (Limited-subscription journals are underlined)61

Moscow

RSFSR

Ukraine

Belarus

Kazakhstan

Georgia

Estonia

Population (thousands)

6,423

125,179

44,664

8,480

11,449

4,389

1,268

Journals

Subscriptions

(number of copies per 1,000 population indicated in parentheses)

Znamia

5,090

(0.79)

42,925

(0.34)

9,022

(0.2)

1,555

(0.18)

2,672

(0.23)

385

(0.09)

215

(0.17)

Kommunist

81,206

(12.6)

349,563

(2.79)

122,304

(2.74)

12,917

(1.52)

14,588

(1.27)

2,747

(0.63)

1,658

(1.31)

Krestianka

4,734

(0.74)

1,955,788

(15.62)

581,594

(13.02)

88,102

(10.4)

207,966

(18.2)

8,637

(1.97)

5,004

(3.95)

Krokodil

124,817

(19.4)

859,026

(6.86)

118,380

(2.65)

36,749

(4.33)

68,407

(5.97)

6,607

(1.5)

4,729

(3.73)

Ogonek

37,182

(5.79)

691,703

(5.53)

193,538

(4.33)

25,705

(3.03)

74,800

(6.53)

7,787

(1.77)

3,230

(2.55)

Oktiabr’

5,324

(0.83)

69,499

(0.56)

13,689

(0.31)

3,189

(0.38)

4,106

(0.36)

416

(0.09)

270

(0.21)

Rabotnitsa

336,306

(52.4)

2,366,810

(18.91)

455,702

(10.2)

99,030

(11.68)

150,922

(13.18)

41,038

(9.35)

12,039

(9.49)

Iunost’

65,474

(10.19)

382,771

(3.06)

112,287

(2.51)

22,359

(2.64)

32,463

(2.84)

6,944

(1.58)

2,561

(2.02)

  • 62   Moscow’s population was estimated as 6,423,000 by January 1, 1965. Chislennost’, sostav i dvizhen (...)
  • 63   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 13, 48; “15 novykh nezavisimykh gosudarstv,” in Demoscope Wee (...)

35It appears that the city of Moscow regularly enjoyed a higher rate of subscription to Russian-language journals, literary or not, compared to either the Russian provinces or the Union republics. In absolute numbers Moscow, whose population in July 1964 was about 6.4 million,62 accumulated the numbers of subscriptions to Znamia, Oktiabr’, and Iunost’ comparable to those in the entire Union republic of Ukraine, whose population exceeded 44.6 million. Moscow surpassed in absolute numbers the subscription to those journals in Belarus, a Union republic of 8.5 million people.63 Because retail was customarily low, it is safe to project this conclusion about a discrepancy between Moscow and some of the provinces to the journals’ entire circulation.

36This discrepancy becomes even better visible in subscription-to-population ratios, indicated in the table in parentheses. It is easy to see that such ratios were usually much higher in Moscow than either in the Russian Federation or in the ethnic republics. One steady exception was the journal Krestianka, which, perhaps because of its countryside-oriented content, may have appealed to rural audiences in the republics more than to urban dwellers in the national capital. The popular illustrated weekly Ogonek circulated more evenly than other periodicals, with Moscow occasionally even behind, e.g., Kazakhstan. But in most cases, Moscow was far ahead.

  • 64   D. Kozlov, “The Readers of Novyi mir, 1948-1969: A Social Portrait,” National Council for Eurasia (...)

37In turn, the Russian Federation normally surpassed the ethnic republics in subscription-to-population ratios for Russian-language periodicals. It is hardly possible at this point to analyze with any precision who the subscribers in the republics were. Novyi mir’s case, which I have analyzed elsewhere on the basis of readers’ letters from the 1950s and 1960s, suggests that many subscribers were Russian or primarily Russian speaking (it was readers with Russian-, Jewish- or Ukrainian-sounding names who responded to the journal’s publications with particular intensity).64

  • 65 “Spisok izdanii, rasprostraniaemykh v 1964 godu ogranichennymi tirazhami.” RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, (...)

38In other words, much of the circulation disparity between the capitals and the provinces, observed above for the late Stalin years, e.g. 1945, persisted into the 1960s, at least so far as Russian-language journals are concerned. It remains to be seen whether this disparity was a result of a higher reading interest for those particular journals in the capitals than in the Russian provinces, and in the Russian provinces compared to the non-Russian republics, or whether the disparity mainly resulted from a centralized allocation of print runs that privileged the capitals over the Russian provinces and the Russian Federation over the ethnic republics. Possibly a combination of both factors, interest and centralized allocation, was at work. What may distort conclusions about readers’ interest is that in July 1964 five journals out of eight in the table—Krestianka, Krokodil, Ogonek, Rabotnitsa and Iunost’—were still on the list of periodicals with officially limited subscription.65 Readers’ interest for those was likely higher than what the subscription numbers suggest. On the other hand, readers’ interest in Kommunist was likely lower than what the numbers imply, since the principal political journal of the Communist party was often a mandatory read for party members. Nor do the numbers in the table differentiate between individual and institutional subscription, a nuance which I will address below.

39Is it possible to trace and interpret geographical variations in subscription to different periodicals any further? In order to do that, it makes sense to move down from a republican level to a regional (oblast’) one. Table 2 presents the subscription statistics for several regions within the Russian Federation during the 1960s, for which relevant archival data is available. The table focuses on literary periodicals but incorporates a few others, too, such as the principal national newspaper, Pravda, or the illustrated magazine Ogonek, as reference points.

  • 66   For sources, see endnotes to each particular section of the table. Unless otherwise indicated, th (...)

Table 2. Geographic variations in subscription to periodicals, by selected regions (oblasts and krais) within the Russian Federation, 1961-1969. In absolute numbers of subscriptions66

  • 67   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 3, 4, 4ob, 6, 13, 18ob, 19ob, 20, 29ob. As of January 1.
  • 68   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105. As of January 1.
  • 69   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’ (Literature and Life).
  • 70   Subscriptions to the Ogonek Literary Supplement (Literaturnoe prilozhenie) together with subscrip (...)
  • 71   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 34, 35, 35ob, 37, 45, 50, 51ob, 52, 61. As of January 1.
  • 72   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105.
  • 73   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.
  • 74   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 66-67ob, 69, 77, 81ob, 82ob, 83, 92ob. As of January 1.
  • 75   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105.
  • 76   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.
  • 77   Subscription to the literary supplements is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.
  • 78   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 98, 98ob, 100, 108, 113ob, 114ob, 115, 124ob. Data for central (...)
  • 79   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105.
  • 80   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.
  • 81   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 131, 132, 132ob, 134, 142, 147ob, 148ob, 149, 158ob. As of Jan (...)
  • 82   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105.
  • 83   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.
  • 84   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 163, 164, 164ob, 166, 174, 179ob, 180ob, 181, 190ob. As of Jan (...)
  • 85   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105.
  • 86   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.
  • 87   Subscription to the literary supplements is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.
  • 88   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 195, 196, 196ob, 198, 206, 211ob, 212ob, 213, 222ob. As of Jan (...)
  • 89   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105.
  • 90   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.
  • 91   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 227, 228, 228ob, 230, 238, 243ob, 244ob, 245, 254ob. As of Jan (...)
  • 92   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105.
  • 93   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.
  • 94   Subscription to the literary supplements is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.
  • 95   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 259, 260, 260ob, 262, 270, 275ob, 277ob, 278, 287ob. As of Jan (...)
  • 96   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105.
  • 97   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.
  • 98   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 292-293ob, 295, 303, 308ob-310, 319ob. As of January 1.
  • 99   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1102, ll. 2-2ob, 3, 4, 6, 45ob, 47, 47ob, 49. As of January 1, 1963. In (...)
  • 100   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.
  • 101   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 91.
  • 102   Including 759 in the countryside.
  • 103   This figure is also in RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 95.
  • 104   Subscription to the literary supplements is indicated after the ‘+’ sign. Institutional subscript (...)
  • 105   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 99.
  • 106   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 834, l. 138.
  • 107   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105.
  • 108   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.
  • 109   Subscription to literary supplements is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.
  • 110   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1631, ll. 1, 2, 2ob, 17ob-20ob. Institutional subscription is shown in (...)
  • 111   Subscription to a supplement is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.
  • 112   Subscription to literary supplements is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.
  • 113   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1631, ll. 82, 83, 83ob, 98ob-101ob. Institutional subscription is shown (...)
  • 114   Subscription to a supplement is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.
  • 115   Subscription to literary supplements is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.
  • 116   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1139, ll. 2, 2ob, 3, 3ob, 4, 4ob, 7, 7ob, 46ob, 48, 48ob, 49ob, 50. As (...)
  • 117   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1347, ll. 10ob, 14, 15, 15ob, 20ob, 48ob, 50. Data for Leningrad city a (...)
  • 118   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1548, ll. 1, 2-2ob, 17ob-20ob. Institutional subscription is shown in p (...)
  • 119   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1640, ll. 1, 2, 2ob, 17ob-20ob. As of January 1. Institutional subscrip (...)
  • 120   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1747, ll. 1, 2, 2ob, 17ob-20ob. As of January 1. Institutional subscrip (...)
  • 121   Subscription to a supplement is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.
  • 122   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 92.
  • 123   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1548, l. 19ob.
  • 124   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1640, l. 19ob.
  • 125   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1747, l. 19ob.
  • 126   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 96.
  • 127   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1548, l. 17ob.
  • 128   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1640, l. 17ob.
  • 129   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1747, l. 17ob.
  • 130   Subscription to literary supplements is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.
  • 131   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 100.
  • 132   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105.
  • 133   For Leningrad region, see: RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1548, ll. 82, 83-83ob, 98ob-101ob. Instituti (...)
  • 134   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1640, ll. 82, 83, 83ob, 98ob-101ob. Institutional subscription is shown (...)
  • 135   Subscription to a supplement is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.
  • 136   Subscription to literary supplements is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.
  • 137   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1141, ll. 2, 2ob, 3, 3ob, 4, 4ob, 6, 6ob, 45ob, 47, 47ob, 48ob, 49. As (...)
  • 138   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1349, ll. Data for Moscow city and region (combined) for 1965. Institut (...)
  • 139   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1549, ll. 1, 2-2ob, 17ob-20ob. As of January 1. Institutional subscript (...)
  • 140   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1631, ll. 163, 164-164ob, 179ob-182ob. As of January 1, 1968. Instituti (...)
  • 141   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1746, ll. 1, 2, 2ob, 17ob-20ob. As of January 1. Institutional subscrip (...)
  • 142   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.
  • 143   Subscription to a supplement is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.
  • 144   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 93.
  • 145   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1549, l. 19ob.
  • 146   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1631, l. 181ob.
  • 147   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1746, l. 19ob.
  • 148   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 97.
  • 149   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1549, l. 18.
  • 150   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1631, l. 179ob. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.
  • 151   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1746, l. 17ob.
  • 152   Subscription to literary supplements indicated after the ‘+’ sign.
  • 153   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 101.
  • 154   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1349, ll. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.
  • 155   Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.
  • 156   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1631, ll. 179ob-180. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses
  • 157   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1746, l. 18. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.
  • 158   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 105.
  • 159   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1423, l. 13. As of January 1. The triple growth of subscription is than (...)
  • 160   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1423, l. 175.
  • 161   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1549, ll. 82-82ob, 96ob-99ob. Institutional subscription is shown in pa (...)
  • 162   Subscription to a supplement is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.
  • 163   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1549, ll. 98ob.
  • 164   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, ll. 96ob-97.
  • 165   Subscription to literary supplements indicated after the ‘+’ sign.
  • 166   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1549, ll. 161-162ob, 177ob-180ob. Institutional subscription is shown i (...)
  • 167   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.
  • 168   Subscription to a supplement is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.
  • 169   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1549, l. 179ob.
  • 170   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, l. 177ob.
  • 171   Subscription to literary supplements indicated after the ‘+’ sign.

YEAR

Regions and titles

of periodicals

1961

1963

1965

1967

1968

1969

ALTAI KRAI

196167

196368

1965

1967

1968

1969

Literaturnaia

Rossiia69

701

Sovetskaia Rossiia

28,390

Don

174

Moskva

570

Nash sovremennik

225

Neva

1,424

Oktiabr’

1,435

1,582

Sibirskie ogni

1,411

Pravda

56,510

Literaturnaia gazeta

5,877

Zvezda

819

Znamia

832

679

Molodaia gvardiia

1,035

Novyi mir

715

Ogonek

20,069

16,017 +1,91370

Iunost’

3,150

5,203

AMUR

196171

196372

1965

1967

1968

1969

Literaturnaia Rossiia73

254

Sovetskaia Rossiia

10,553

Don

38

Moskva

152

Nash sovremennik

25

Neva

508

Oktyabr’

819

937

Sibirskie ogni

81

Pravda

7,907

Literaturnaia gazeta

1,628

Zvezda

218

Znamia

302

278

Molodaia gvardiia

Novyi mir

239

Ogonek

5,367

6,165 + 749

Iunost’

1,802

ARKHANGELSK

196174

196375

1965

1967

1968

1969

Literaturnaia Rossiia76

696

Sovetskaia Rossiia

22,063

Moskva

495

Nash sovremennik

130

Neva

1,099

Oktiabr’

1,352

1,571

Pravda

28,011

Literaturnaia gazeta

3,202

Zvezda

507

Znamia

554

551

Molodaia gvardiia

554

Novyi mir

505

Ogonek

16,223

12,531 +1,82977

Iunost’

1,986

2,207

ASTRAKHAN’

196178

196379

1965

1967

1968

1969

Literaturnaia Rossiia80

Sovetskaia Rossiia

Don

41

Moskva

127

Nash sovremennik

66

Neva

221

Oktiabr’

386

405

Sibirskie ogni

18

Pravda

10,592

Literaturnaia gazeta

1,353

Zvezda

128

Znamia

201

203

Molodaia gvardiia

129

Novyi mir

189

Ogonek

3,998

3,859 + 418

Iunost’

1,171

1,870

BASHKIR ASSR

196181

196382

1965

1967

1968

1969

Literaturnaia Rossiia83

673

Sovetskaia Rossiia

28,993

Don

163

Moskva

489

Nash sovremennik

187

Neva

903

Oktiabr’

1,594

1,394

Sibirskie ogni

279

Pravda

52,937

Literaturnaia gazeta

5,182

Zvezda

580

Znamia

804

712

Molodaia gvardiia

655

Novyi mir

689

Ogonek

17,922

13,921 + 2,381

Iunost’

2,795

4,557

BELGOROD

196184

196385

1965

1967

1968

1969

Literaturnaia Rossiia86

254

Sovetskaia Rossiia

18,060

Don

105

Moskva

192

Nash sovremennik

52

Neva

310

Oktiabr’

464

442

Sibirskie ogni

22

Pravda

28,564

Literaturnaia gazeta

1,348

Zvezda

236

Znamia

320

239

Molodaia gvardiia

259

Novyi mir

320

Ogonek87

4,457

4,051 + 1,159

Iunost’

1,532

2,176

BRIANSK

196188

196389

1965

1967

1968

1969

Literaturnaia Rossiia90

315

Sovetskaia Rossiia

14,487

Don

27

Moskva

169

Nash sovremennik

55

Neva

301

Oktiabr’

611

597

Sibirskie ogni

26

Pravda

26,292

Literaturnaia gazeta

1,589

Zvezda

247

Znamia

379

361

Molodaia gvardiia

189

Novyi mir

354

Ogonek

4,430

4,089 + 656

Iunost’

1,301

2,197

BURIAT ASSR

196191

196392

1965

1967

1968

1969

Literaturnaia Rossiia93

210

Sovetskaia Rossiia

8,350

Don

37

Moskva

170

Nash sovremennik

32

Neva

269

Oktiabr’

485

432

Sibirskie ogni

85

Pravda

8,634

Literaturnaia gazeta

1,200

Zvezda

164

Znamia

230

198

Molodaia gvardiia

193

Novyi mir

222

Ogonek94

6,619

6,114 + 684

Iunost’

1,100

2,204

VLADIMIR

196195

196396

1965

1967

1968

1969

Literaturnaia Rossiia97

550

Sovetskaia Rossiia

15,204

Don

115

Moskva

395

Nash sovremennik

79

Neva

699

Oktiabr’

1,125

1,053

Sibirskie ogni

40

Pravda

35,434

Literaturnaia gazeta

2,775

Zvezda

354

Znamia

656

545

Molodaia gvardiia

324

Novyi mir

Ogonek

6,281

+

1,608

6,340

+

1,397

Iunost’

1,543

2,122

VOLOGDA

196198

196399

1965

1967

1968

1969

Literaturnaia
Rossiia100

347

267 (14)

Sovetskaia Rossiia

13,875

22,127 (470)

Don

16

Moskva

254

834 (205)

Nash sovremennik

57

40 (37)

Neva

568

1,103 (259)

Oktiabr’

1,085

1,343101 (462)

Sibirskie ogni

26

Pravda

24,244

25,281 (3,196)

Literaturnaia gazeta

2,006

1,881102 (376)

Zvezda

288

352 (178)

Znamia

726

515103 (260)

Molodaia gvardiia

304

383 (147)

Novyi mir

905

628 (429)

Ogonek104

7,306

7,786 (1,426)

+ 2,232 (693)

or

7,785

+ 846105

Iunost’

1,976

3,516 (601)

PSKOV

1961106

1963107

1965

1967

1968

1969

Literaturnaia Rossiia108

Sovetskaia Rossiia

10,927

Don

Moskva

182

Nash sovremennik

Neva

324

Oktiabr’

788

804

Sibirskie ogni

Pravda

14,835

Literaturnaia gazeta

Zvezda

Znamia

487

Molodaia gvardiia

Novyi mir

393

Ogonek109

3,896

3,582 + 437

Iunost’

1,090

1,422

MARI ASSR

1961

1963

1965

1967

1968110

1969

Sovetskaia Rossiia

12,048 (767)

Don

39 (23)

Druzhba narodov111

85 (77) + 6

Moskva

169 (99)

Nash sovremennik

Neva

236 (106)

Oktiabr’

217 (160)

Sibirskie ogni

67 (39)

Pravda

10,516 (1,794)

Literaturnaia gazeta

530 (165)

Zvezda

93 (69)

Znamia

163 (121)

Inostrannaia literatura

113 (49)

Molodaia gvardiia

Novyi mir

98 (73)

Ogonek112

2,004 (559)

+ 456 (87)

Roman-gazeta

4,065 (318)

Iunost’

MORDOVIAN ASSR

1961

1963

1965

1967

1968113

1969

Sovetskaia Rossiia

16,985 (826)

Don

29 (16)

Druzhba narodov114

94 (63) + 58 (58)

Moskva

224 (153)

Nash sovremennik

Neva

402 (172)

Oktiabr’

366 (246)

Sibirskie ogni

63 (9)

Pravda

13,438 (2,120)

Literaturnaia gazeta

822 (529)

Zvezda

189 (98)

Znamia

270 (154)

Inostrannaia literatura

186 (44)

Molodaia gvardiia

Novyi mir

212 (143)

Ogonek115

4,030 (881)

+ 1,034 (315)

Roman-gazeta

4,243 (485)

Iunost’

LENINGRAD (CITY)

1961

1963116

1965117

1967118

1968119

1969120

Literaturnaia Rossiia

3,150 (691)

Sovetskaia Rossiia

59,198 (4,589)

54,859 (3,569)

46,307 (3,107)

43,371 (3,467)

Don

142 (123)

211 (105)

329 (185)

434 (213)

Druzhba narodov121

380 (337)

+ 126 (98)

435 (371)

+ 1,564 (131)

489 (398)

+ 204 (144)

465 (370)

+ 195 (134)

Moskva

3,333 (1,889)

2,856 (1,666)

3,456 (1,840)

4,076 (2,173)

4,526 (2,057)

Nash sovremennik

613 (446)

1,140 (401)

1,968 (510)

3,255 (644)

Neva

3,997 (1,989)

4,779 (1,911)

4,652 (2,247)

4,661 (2,103)

Oktiabr’

2,876 (1,879)

or 2,879122

2,663 (1,863)

2,622 (1,719)123

2,630 (1,919)124

2,568 (1,736)125

Sibirskie ogni

447 (260)

375 (274)

514 (271)

Pravda

131,753 (15,434)

181,420 (15,871)

202,694 (15,813)

227,957 (16,190)

Literaturnaia gazeta

25,259 (2,897)

25,221 (2,012)

28,747 (1,951)

42,890 (2,195)

Zvezda

2,515 (1,878)

2,575 (1687)

2,928 (1,802)

2,712 (1,933)

2,592 (1,903)

Znamia

2,584 (1,876)

or 2,585126

2,922 (1,729)

4,326 (2,149)

3,436 (2,067)

3,608 (2,006)

Inostrannaia
literatura

21,803 (2,248)

19,872 (2,297)

25,246 (2,367)

Molodaia gvardiia

1,383 (1,036)

Novyi mir

3,778 (2,213)

5,627 (1,939)

11,412 (2,330)127

11,264 (2,361)128

11,253 (2,331)129

Ogonek130

19,535 (3,496)

+ 33,300 (3,680)

or

19,544

+ 7,507131

12,445 (3,458)

+ 19,687 (2,735)

12,599 (3706)

+ 36,566 (2,645)

10,602 (3,705)

+ 45,428 (2,099)

12,188 (3,621)

+ 294,857 (4,838)

Roman-gazeta

28,668 (1,624)

15,258 (1,306)

27,321 (1,222)

Iunost’

13,859 (1,704)

or 14,211132

LENINGRAD OBLAST’

1961

1963

1965

1967133

1968134

1969

Sovetskaia Rossiia

27,271 (648) ((8,170))

Don

124 (22) ((30))

88 (10)

Druzhba narodov135

149 (71) ((46))

+ 54 (17) ((17))

139 (72)

+ 47 (25)

Moskva

638 (260) ((228))

703 (227)

Nash sovremennik

241 (61) ((67))

Neva

1,709 (475) ((622))

1,571 (325)

Oktiabr’

778 (367) ((331))

817 (320)

Sibirskie ogni

136 (17) ((18))

128 (26)

Pravda

26,460 (3,270)

((8,139))

31,010 (3,117)

Literaturnaia gazeta

2,139 (374) ((769))

2,238 (435)

Zvezda

651 (357) ((230))

597 (294)

Znamia

1,048 (346) ((309))

831 (386)

Inostrannaia literatura

1276 (264) ((354))

1,212 (264)

Novyi mir

793 (216) ((277))

805 (372)

Ogonek136

7,059 (808)

((2,304))

+ 3,683 (667)

((974))

5,537 (1,100)

+ 7419 (981)

Roman-gazeta

21,841 (536) ((6,883))

12,790 (591)

Iunost’

MOSCOW (CITY)

1961

1963137

1965138

1967139

1968140

1969141

Literaturnaia Rossiia142

6,636 (1,926)

Sovetskaia Rossiia

157,494 (9,951)

141,925 (8,239)

113,071 (8,478)

118,429 (6,819)

Don

238 (212)

290 (180)

334 (273)

560 (300)

Druzhba narodov143

635 (537)

+ 54 (42)

775 (627)

+ 112 (64)

816 (628)

+ 116 (66)

919 (708)

+ 92 (70)

Moskva

12,484 (3,846)

9,577 (3,432)

10,720 (3,780)

12,045 (4,284)

13,128 (4,377)

Nash sovremennik

1,050 (795)

1,700 (583)

4,089 (788)

6,454 (922)

Neva

3,808 (2,575)

4,872 (2,401)

5,494 (2,841)

5,037 (2,849)

5,452 (3,156)

Oktiabr’

5,761 (3,562)

or 5,820144

5,758 (3,306)

5,328 (3,379) 145

5,210 (3,609)146

5,143 (3,366)147

Sibirskie ogni

307 (226)

442 (326)

586 (274)

Pravda

354,408 (32,299)

341,506 (28,647)

380,946 (30,929)

455,396 (29,632)

Literaturnaia gazeta

62,585 (7,717)

65,050 (5,673)

78,512 (5,425)

113,641 (5,586)

Zvezda

2,959 (2,416)

3,125 (2,144)

3,890 (3,183)

3,745 (2,732)

3,782 (2,942)

Znamia

4,749 (3,043)

or 4,732148

5,533 (2,908)

8,493 (3,614)

6,589 (3,723)

7,173 (3,788)

Inostrannaia literatura

39,966 (4,329)

36,971 (4,698)

46,436 (4,639)

Molodaia gvardiia

2,284 (1,803)

Novyi mir

11,286 (4,179)

15,791 (4,028)

31,799 (4,837)149

29,683 (4,848)150

30,138 (4,865)151

Ogonek152

43,317 (10,023)
+ 51,553 (7,334)

or

44,030

+ 8,634153

30,614 (6,108)

+ 21,712 (3,128)154

32,117 (6,504)

+ 64,701 (3,099)155

24,927 (6,271)

+

70,511 (2,674)156

28,403 (6,545)

+

583,259 (7,268)157

Iunost’

53,360 (4,708)

or 49,937158

154,480159

or 155,413160

Roman-gazeta

38,836 (2,714)

18,870 (2,253)

35,578 (2,112)

MOSCOW OBLAST’

1961

1963

1965

1967161

1968

1969

Sovetskaia Rossiia

121,569 (4,178)

Don

80 (22)

Druzhba narodov162

405 (271)

+ 178 (89)

Moskva

2,911 (906)

Nash sovremennik

1,443 (383)

Neva

2,834 (861)

Oktiabr’

2,280 (989)163

Sibirskie ogni

209 (90)

Pravda

140,714 (13,152)

Literaturnaia gazeta

11,779 (1,741)

Zvezda

1,192 (664)

Znamia

2,828 (1,165)

Inostrannaia literatura

5,155 (1,042)

Molodaia gvardiia

Novyi mir

4,307 (1,380)164

Ogonek165

18,536 (3634)

+ 15,425 (2,519)

Roman-gazeta

32,565 (2,131)

Iunost’

MURMANSK

1961

1963

1965

1967166

1968

1969

Literaturnaia Rossiia167

Sovetskaia Rossiia

23,502 (496)

Don

75 (13)

Druzhba narodov168

136 (68)

+ 73 (26)

Moskva

435 (126)

Nash sovremennik

219 (30)

Neva

851 (179)

Oktiabr’

430 (231)169

Sibirskie ogni

100 (30)

Pravda

20,000 (2,411)

Literaturnaia gazeta

1,948 (244)

Zvezda

238 (133)

Znamia

731 (206)

Inostrannaia literatura

1,154 (188)

Molodaia gvardiia

Novyi mir

407 (169)170

Ogonek171

9,092 (935)

+ 5,655 (337)

Roman-gazeta

11,742 (274)

Iunost’

40Among many observations which the data in Table 2 makes possible, one is that, although subscription-to-population ratios in the capitals may have been higher, a very large share of subscriptions to major literary periodicals was still concentrated in the Russian provinces. Here, however, subscription patterns varied among specific periodicals. As an example, let us again take Novyi mir and Oktiabr’, two emblematic journals of the Thaw.

  • 172   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 90; ibid., d. 1416, l. 144; RGALI (Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi (...)
  • 173   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1521, l. 95ob.
  • 174   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1196, l. 4; ibid., d. 1822, l. 178ob.

41In 1963 and 1965, the total circulation (subscription plus retail) of Oktiabr’ was 150,000.172 Of these, as Table 2 suggests, Moscow and Leningrad readers together bought only 8,637 subscriptions to the journal in 1963 and 8,427 subscriptions in 1965, or 5.8% and 5.6% of Oktiabr’s nationwide circulation, respectively. Toward the end of the decade, the situation had not changed much. On 1 January 1967 Oktiabr’s USSR-wide subscription was 88,600, plus the relatively high retail sales of 51,400, for the total circulation of 140,000.173 Of these, Moscow and Leningrad consumed only 7,950 subscriptions in 1967, or 8.97% of USSR-wide subscription to the journal. In January 1970, Oktiabr’ had 108,800 subscriptions USSR-wide (considerably down from the 1965 level, when it had had 113,800 subscriptions for the Russian Federation alone).174 In absence of city-level statistics for January 1970, let us take the reasonably close 1969 figures. In 1969, Moscow and Leningrad together purchased 7,711 subscriptions to the journal. Thus, in 1969-70 the two capitals consumed only about 7% of the nationwide subscription to Oktiabr’, with 93% going to the rest of the country.

  • 175   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1189, l. 12. The initial request from Soiuzpechat’ for 1963, interestin (...)
  • 176   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1416, l. 44.
  • 177   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1521, l. 17ob. Subscription figures for Novyi mir in 1967 vary: other a (...)
  • 178   N. Biul’-Zedginidze, Literaturnaia kritika zhurnala “Novyi mir” A.T. Tvardovskogo (1958-1970 gg.) (...)
  • 179   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1822, l. 176ob.

42Novyi mir, to compare, circulated in 113,000 copies (subscription plus retail) in December 1963.175 Of those, Moscow and Leningrad consumed 15,064 subscriptions in 1963, or 13.3% of the journal’s nationwide circulation. In January 1967, Novyi mir’s total USSR-wide circulation was officially approved at 150,000,176 with the maximum of 30,000 copies allocated for retail and with subscription reaching 120,000 and possibly up to 124,200.177 Of these, as Table 2 indicates, Moscow and Leningrad consumed 43,211 subscriptions, or 34.8 to 36% of the nationwide subscription and 28.8% of the journal’s nationwide 1967 circulation. In 1969, Novyi mir’s total USSR-wide circulation apparently fluctuated but averaged 125,000 copies a month, suggesting about 100,000 copies allocated for subscription.178 Of these, as Table 2 shows, 41,391 subscriptions, or about 41% of the journal’s nationwide subscription, were sold in Moscow and Leningrad. By January 1970 (the last month of Tvardovskii’s editorship), Novyi mir’s subscription had increased to 146,000 copies.179 Even if the 1969 subscription figures for Moscow and Leningrad remained the same in January 1970 (and they probably increased), this means that no less than 28.4% of all subscriptions to the journal that month were sold in the two capitals.

  • 180   See also RGALI, f. 619, op. 4, d. 88, l. 4. In 1965, Kochetov complained to the RSFSR Bureau of t (...)

43In other words, Kochetov’s Oktiabr’ was a journal whose print run during the 1960s was predominantly consumed by provincial audiences.180 Tvardovskii’s Novyi mir, on the other hand, was more capital-heavy. Both in absolute numbers and in percentages, a greater share of subscriptions to Novyi mir, compared to Oktiabr’, went to Moscow and Leningrad. That said, most subscriptions to Novyi mir in the 1960s, anywhere from 59% to 86.7%, still went to locations outside Moscow and Leningrad.

44Within the two capitals, we observe interesting dynamics of competition between the two journals. In both Moscow and Leningrad, as it appears from Table 2, Tvardovskii’s Novyi mir consistently prevailed over Kochetov’s Oktiabr’ in absolute numbers of subscriptions. In Moscow during the 1960s, subscriptions to Oktiabr’ always lingered at just above 5,000 copies, and in fact they were steadily declining: from 5,761 in 1963 to 5,143 in 1969. Novyi mir’s subscriptions in Moscow, on the other hand, increased from 11,286 in 1963 to 30,138 in 1969. Occasionally, such as in 1967, the journal reached even higher numbers (31,799 subscriptions in 1967, which was apparently the record for Tvardovskii’s Novyi mir in the city of Moscow). In Leningrad, the picture was very similar. Oktiabr’s subscriptions in the city were always about or slightly above 2,500 and were slowly declining: from 2,876 in 1963 to 2,568 in 1969. Novyi mir’s subscriptions in Leningrad, on the other hand, went drastically up: from 3,778 in 1963 to 11,253 in 1969. In both capitals, thus, the subscription numbers looked far better for Novyi mir than for Oktiabr’.

45Let us refine these numbers further, looking at both the capitals and the Russian provinces. One additional advantage of the data in Table 2 is that it often distinguishes between individual and institutional subscriptions (with institutional statistics shown in parentheses). The distinction makes it possible to sharpen any conclusions about regional dynamics of subscription. It does make a difference, after all, whether a subscription originated in an individual household or in a large factory’s library, office, public library, etc. Presumably, an individual’s or a family’s act of subscribing to a particular journal or newspaper reflected personal reading tastes and preferences much more directly than did the case of a factory librarian disbursing her yearly institutional budget on blanket subscription to dozens of periodicals. To be sure, in the Soviet system of press dissemination individual subscription did not flawlessly reveal the readers’ preferences: one needs to keep in mind again, for example, the mandatory Pravda or Kommunist subscriptions for individual party members, or the administratively imposed individual “package” subscriptions that bundled the more interesting periodicals together with less demanded titles. Political efforts at boosting or undermining subscription to particular periodicals would supposedly factor in as well. And yet, all of the above notwithstanding, the levels of individual subscription may tell a story, especially as far as literary journals are concerned. That is especially likely when evidence of subscription is continuous and multi-year. Again, let us examine the cases of Novyi mir and Oktiabr’, presented in Table 3 for a few selected regions of the Russian Federation.

  • 181   Sources: same as in Table 2. Moscow oblast’ and Leningrad oblast’ numbers exclude the two cities (...)

Table 3. Percentage of individual vs. institutional subscription to Novyi mir, by region, 1963-1969181

Novyi mir

1963

1965

1967

1968

1969

Ind.

Inst.

Ind.

Inst.

Ind.

Inst.

Ind.

Inst.

Ind.

Inst.

TOTAL yearly

Moscow

62.97

37.03

74.49

25.51

84.79

15.21

83.67

16.33

83.86

16.14

100%

Leningrad

42.42

58.58

65.54

34.46

79.58

20.42

79.04

20.96

79.29

20.71

100%

Moscow oblast’

67.96

32.04

100%

Leningrad oblast’

72.76

27.24

53.79

46.21

100%

Vologda

31.69

68.31

100%

Mari ASSR

25.51

74.49

100%

Mordovian ASSR

32.55

67.45

100%

Murmansk

58.48

41.52

100%

  • 182   Sources: same as in Table 2. Moscow oblast’ and Leningrad oblast’ numbers exclude the two cities (...)

Table 4. Percentage of individual vs. institutional subscription to Oktiabr’, by region, 1963-1969182

Oktiab’

1963

1965

1967

1968

1969

Ind.

Inst.

Ind.

Inst.

Ind.

Inst.

Ind.

Inst.

Ind.

Inst.

TOTAL early

Moscow

38.17

61.83

42.58

57.42

36.58

63.42

30.73

69.27

34.55

65.45

100%

Leningrad

34.67

65.33

30.04

69.96

34.44

65.56

27.03

72.97

32.4

67.6

100%

Moscow oblast’

56.62

43.38

100%

Leningrad oblast’

52.83

47.17

60.83

39.17

100%

Vologda

65.6

34.4

100%

Mari ASSR

26.27

73.73

100%

Mordovian ASSR

32.79

67.21

100%

Murmansk

46.28

53.72

100%

46Once we distill individual subscription from the general statistics, the distinction between the subscription patterns for two journals, Novyi mir and Oktiabr’, becomes even more apparent. So does the distinction between patterns of subscription in the capitals and in the Russian provinces.

47Tables 2, 3, and 4 show that both in Moscow and in Leningrad subscriptions to Novyi mir were predominantly individual. In Moscow, individual subscriptions to Novyi mir constantly exceeded institutional ones by a very considerable margin. This margin also steadily increased: the share of individual subscriptions to Novyi mir grew in Moscow from 63% in 1963 to 84-85% by the end of the decade. In Leningrad, a similar albeit more muted dynamic was in place: whereas in 1963, most of subscription to Novyi mir in the city (58.8%) was institutional, already in 1965 individual subscriptions began to prevail. Their share would continue to grow, reaching above 79% by the end of the decade, a proportion very close to Moscow’s.

  • 183   See the respective sections of Table 2 for sources.

48To compare, subscription to Oktiabr’ in both Moscow and Leningrad during the 1960s was always mainly institutional, with about two thirds of all subscriptions going to various offices, libraries, and enterprises, and only one third purchased by individual subscribers. In absolute numbers, as of 1 January 1969 there were 30,168 subscribers to Novyi mir in Moscow, 84% of them individuals. By contrast, there were only 5,143 subscribers to Oktiabr’ in Moscow as of 1 January 1969, and only about 35% of those were individual subscribers. In Leningrad, similarly, in January 1969 there were 11,253 subscribers to Novyi mir, 80% of them individuals, but merely 2,568 subscribers to Oktiabr’, and just 32% of those were individuals. To put this differently, in Moscow in 1969 there were 25,273 individual subscribers to Tvardovskii’s Novyi mir, but only 1,777 individual subscribers to Kochetov’s Oktiabr’. In Leningrad in the same year, 8,903 individuals subscribed to Novyi mir, but a meager 832 did to Oktiabr’.183

  • 184   See the respective sections of Table 2 for sources.

49The provinces tell a different story. In the nearby Moscow and Leningrad oblasts, for which I unfortunately have separate data only for 1967 and (for Leningrad oblast) 1968, subscription to both journals was largely individual. Novyi mir seems to have enjoyed a slightly higher rate of individual subscription in the two regions than Oktiabr’ did, except in the Leningrad oblast’ in 1968. In absolute numbers of individual subscribers, Novyi mir surpassed Oktiabr’ in the Moscow oblast’ in 1967 (2,927 to 1,291) and in Leningrad oblast’ in 1967 (577 to 411), but then lagged behind Oktiabr’ in the same Leningrad oblast’ in 1968 (433 to 497). The proportion of individual subscription to Novyi mir in either oblast’ was lower than in Moscow or Leningrad proper, while for Oktiabr’ this proportion was higher. In other words, for some reason, individuals subscribed to Novyi mir less readily, and to Oktiabr’ more readily, in the Moscow and Leningrad oblasts than in their capital cities.184

  • 185   See the respective sections of Table 2 for sources.

50The more remote provinces offer a still different picture, and a more varied one. Apparently, in many regions, such as Vologda, the Mari Autonomous Republic (ASSR), or the Mordovian Autonomous Republic, subscription to both Novyi mir and Oktiabr’ was mostly institutional, not individual. Only in the Vologda region in 1963 (for Oktiabr’) and in the Murmansk region in 1967 (for Novyi mir) did individual subscription prevail. In absolute numbers of individual subscribers, Oktiabr’ surpassed Novyi mir in the Volodga region in 1963 (881 to 199), in the Mari Republic in 1968 (57 to 25), and in Mordovia in 1968 (120 to 69), but had slightly fewer individual subscribers than Novyi mir in the Murmansk region in 1967 (199 to 238).185

  • 186   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1196, l. 27.

51What can we make of these numbers? For one thing, it appears quite certain that, as far as subscriptions are concerned, in Moscow and Leningrad the battle for readers between the two journals was a victory for Novyi mir. Be it in absolute numbers of subscriptions or in the proportion of individual subscribers, during the 1960s Novyi mir consistently surpassed Kochetov’s Oktiabr’ in both capitals. Given that Oktiabr’ was a journal whose ideological orthodoxy was far more preferable to the political authorities than the critical reformism of Novyi mir, the statistics are particularly important. During the year 1964, for example, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was regularly informed on the course of the subscription campaign for Oktiabr’, being clearly interested in the journal’s maximum dissemination.186 Judging by the numbers for that year and subsequently, this high political patronage did not particularly help Oktiabr’s subscription rates. It is especially because the subscriptions may have been impacted by such political pressure, that the failure of Kochetov’s Oktiabr’ and the success of Tvardovskii’s Novyi mir in both capitals become all the more meaningful. They mean, among other things, that readers’ interests and preferences did play some independent role in Soviet subscriptions to periodical press during the 1960s.

  • 187   A. Iashin, “Vologodskaia svad’ba,” Novyi mir, 12 (1962), 3-26. Subscriptions to Novyi mir in the (...)

52The provinces, again, offer a more blurred and heterogeneous picture. The data is obviously fragmentary and insufficient, and yet the panorama of subscription appears quite different in the provinces than in the capitals. Neither journal, Oktiabr’ or Novyi mir, enjoyed a massive superiority over its adversary. There were regions where subscriptions to Oktiabr’ surpassed those to Novyi mir, while in others the opposite was the case. The drastic discrepancy in favor of Oktiabr’ in Vologda of 1963 looks somewhat irregular and may perhaps be explained by the December 1962 publication of Aleksandr Iashin’s journalistic sketch “Vologda Wedding” (Vologodskaia svad’ba) in Novyi mir, where Iashin scathingly criticized the deplorable material situation in the Vologda countryside. Following the publication of the sketch, there was a backlash against Novyi mir in this region, involving an administrative campaign against subscription to the journal but also possibly some readers’ genuine disaffection.187 Other than in Vologda, the proportions of individual subscribers to either Novyi mir or Oktiabr’ in the remote provinces appear to have been fairly close. These proportions could also fluctuate and occasionally reverse, as they did in the Leningrad oblast in 1967-68. Other unknown variables might have been at play in each local case, too. But overall, the conclusion may be that Kochetov’s Oktiabr’ was able to hold its ground against Novyi mir far better in the provinces than in Moscow or Leningrad.

53What may this brief examination of subscription patterns to Novyi mir and Oktiabr’ reveal more generally about the history of reading during the Soviet 1960s? Apparently, Soviet literary audiences at the time formed a diverse panorama, where geography mattered in the circulation of texts and where regions may have differed from the capitals in their reading patterns.

  • 188   For a sophisticated discussion of the provincial readership of literary periodicals, specifically (...)
  • 189   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 8, 9, 10; Kozlov, “The Readers of Novyi mir, 1948-1969: A Social Portrait”; i (...)

54To be clear, the provinces offered a very active readership of literary periodicals. For example, in the archive of Novyi mir, where readers’ letters are preserved best compared to similar archival collections for the Thaw years (and certainly better than in the Oktiabr’ archive, which contains almost no such letters), most of the readers’ letters from the 1950s and 1960s came from provincial locations outside Moscow and Leningrad. So did, apparently, most of the subscriptions to Novyi mir during the 1960s: as mentioned above, anywhere between 59% and 87% of them came from outside the capitals. Novyi mir was definitely not a journal for the exclusive consumption of Moscow and Leningrad but, on the contrary, was significant for provincial reading audiences as well.188 Importantly, I use the terms “provinces” and “provincial” here only as identifiers of geographic location, not as an evaluation of readers’ intellectual qualities. As this chapter will discuss below, intellectually the self-expression of readers from the Soviet provinces during the Thaw did not differ from that of readers in Moscow or Leningrad, either in the ideas formulated, language employed, or any degree of rhetorical sophistication.189

55That said, when placed on a broader geographical map of Soviet literary audiences, the readership of Novyi mir likely coexisted with other readerships, and patterns of reading may have varied depending on geography. Arguably, these patterns may reflect something more complex about the Soviet audiences than mere administrative diktat simply prescribing specific dimensions of literary consumption in particular localities and boosting the circulation of some periodicals while suppressing others. Whereas the political involvement of Soviet authorities in press dissemination cannot be denied, it is unreasonable to picture all dissemination of printed matter in the Soviet Union during the 1950s and 1960s as a result of pure diktat and fiat. Especially after October 1964, when subscription limits were officially abolished, but possibly even before that date, subscription statistics are an interesting corpus of evidence, which may, at least in certain cases, reveal contemporary readers’ preferences.

56I would certainly go too far were I to suggest that Soviet subscription statistics for the mid-to-late 1960s might be regarded as something akin to a public opinion poll on the audiences’ intellectual predilections. Nonetheless, provided we bear in mind all the limitations and qualifications of the press dissemination machinery in each particular case, subscription data may still be a meaningful—and so far virtually unexplored—tool for research in Soviet intellectual history. For example, it is worth examining variations in subscription among specific titles and across different regions. As far as readers’ interest is concerned, the exercise becomes particularly meaningful for the post-October 1964 period.

57All Soviet literary periodicals circulated everywhere in the USSR, but the circulation took diverse forms and could considerably vary in scope from region to region. In the capital cities, Moscow and Leningrad, subscription to Novyi mir evidently prevailed over that to Oktiabr’ during the 1960s. Given the central cultural and political significance of the two capitals, this prevalence of Novyi mir among their reading audiences probably did set a long-term nationwide trend for intellectual developments from the Thaw years onward. And yet, in each geographic locality within the country those developments may have taken diverse trajectories, producing different results. This is not to mention the possibly still different patterns of reading in the ethnic republics and among predominantly non-Russian-language audiences, a subject I have barely touched here. These varying trajectories of reading-as-intellectual life in different geographical parts of the Soviet Union await their proper exploration.

3. Subscription, Literature, Society

  • 190   For population statistics, see P. L. Kirillov and A. G. Makhrova, “Polimasshtabnyi analiz demogra (...)
  • 191   For population statistics, see I. I. Eliseeva, E. I. Gribova (eds.), Sankt-Peterburg, 1703-2003: (...)

58Regional and local patterns of reading literature varied, and so perhaps did regional and local trajectories of intellectual life. But do the numbers above convey a sense of societal importance of literature? Can we say, on the basis of subscription statistics, that literature mattered in this society? It probably did in Moscow and Leningrad, where, as we have seen, the subscription audiences of literary journals in the 1960s matched or even surpassed those of Communist party journals. But even in the capitals, what do we do with the fact that in Moscow, a city of about seven million people in 1969, only 25,273 individuals subscribed to Novyi mir (not to mention the paltry 1,777 individual subscribers to Oktiabr’)?190 That means one individual subscription to Novyi mir per every 278 people in Moscow. Or, to take Leningrad in the same year 1969, in the city of nearly four million people just 8,903 individuals subscribed to Novyi mir (and again, the microscopic 832 subscribed to Oktiabr’).191 That is one individual subscription to Novyi mir per every 449 people in the city.

  • 192   In 1970, the population of Mordovia was 1,032,900. See I. Paramonova (ed.), Chislennost’ i razmes (...)

59Or, to move “far from Moscow,” what do we do with the fact that in 1968 in Mordovia, a republic whose population was close to a million, only 69 individuals subscribed to Novyi mir? Yes, Oktiabr’ fared better, but only slightly: no more than 120 individuals subscribed to it in the entire republic that year.192 Other literary journals in Mordovia had similarly minuscule numbers of individual subscribers that year: 71 for Moskva, 230 for Neva, 91 for Zvezda, 116 for Znamia, 142 for Inostrannaia literatura, etc. Even Literaturnaia gazeta had only 293 individual subscribers. Of all literary periodicals, only Roman-gazeta, as usual, looked more or less robust with 3,758 individual subscribers. And yet for the republic’s population even that number was rather slim. One of those few subscribers to literary periodicals probably was Mikhail Bakhtin, then professor at the Mordovian Pedagogical Institute in the republic’s capital, the city of Saransk. But for a million people in Mordovia, there was only one Bakhtin.

  • 193Novyi mir, 12 (December 1945), back cover; Novyi mir, 12 (December 1946), back cover.
  • 194Novyi mir, 2 (February 1948), back cover.
  • 195   One could subscribe to Novyi mir either for three, six, or twelve months. For the terms and price (...)
  • 196   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1822, l. 176ob; Novyi mir, 11 (November 1953), 288; 12 (December 1958), (...)
  • 197   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1822, ll. 176ob-177.

60To say a few words about money, the low subscription rates can hardly be explained by reasons of personal finance. Literary periodicals do not appear to have been supremely expensive for the contemporary Soviet readers. To take again Novyi mir as an example, in December 1945 the journal’s price was 10 rubles per single issue; in December 1946 it was 5 rubles.193 Since February 1948 at least, a single issue cost 7 rubles, the yearly paperback set of twelve issues thus amounting to 84 rubles.194 There also existed a more expensive hardcover edition, which cost 9 rubles a month or 108 rubles a year, but much of its relatively small print run was apparently purchased by libraries, which needed durable copies.195 After 1948 these prices persisted with remarkable stability for almost a quarter of a century despite inflation. The price did not change after the tenfold currency depreciation of 1961: now it was 70 kopecks for a single issue, or 8 rubles 40 kopecks for a yearly twelve-issue subscription set in paperback, or 90 kopecks per issue and 10.80 for the yearly set in hard cover. Those exact prices would still be in place as late as 1970.196 Other journals had similar prices. The twelve-issue yearly subscription to Oktiabr’ cost 6 rubles in 1970, while Inostrannaia literatura cost 9.60, Znamia 6.60, Roman-gazeta 6 rubles, etc.197

  • 198Narodnoe khoziaistvo SSSR v 1965 g.: Statisticheskii ezhegodnik (Moscow, 1966), 567; Alec Nove, A (...)
  • 199   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1410, l. 42.
  • 200   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 687, l. 13; Nove, An Economic History of the USSR, 345; salary data for (...)
  • 201Narodnoe khoziaistvo SSSR v 1970 g.: Statisticheskii ezhegodnik (Moscow, 1971), 519. Wages for 19 (...)
  • 202   Collective farmers began receiving salaries in 1966. The average yearly wage of a state farm work (...)
  • 203   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1822, l. 176ob.

61These were relatively affordable prices, especially by the late 1960s and early 1970s. From an individual viewpoint, subscription to a thick literary journal was not particularly costly, although not extremely cheap, either. In 1950, yearly subscription to the paperback edition of Novyi mir (84 rubles) would take up 1.1% of an average urban worker or office employee’s yearly salary of 7,668 rubles.198 Apparently, there were dedicated readers prepared to spend that much money on a subscription. In 1956, an average Moscow family spent 2.3% of the average yearly nationwide salary (more than 200 out of 8,580 rubles) on newspapers and journals. In 1966, in the Moscow region (evidently outside the capital itself), only 100,370 out of 1,430,000 families did not subscribe to any periodicals at all. The overwhelming majority, 93%, subscribed to at least one title.199 Earnings in Moscow, and even in the Moscow region, could be higher than in the provinces, and spending on periodicals per family in the USSR overall was generally lower, but not insignificant—anywhere from 60 to 90 rubles in 1956, that is, close to 1% of yearly income.200 In other words, if an average reader wanted to subscribe to Novyi mir, then that was financially affordable, although it could mean making choices and excluding other titles from the subscription diet. During the 1960s, given the inflation, wage increases, and fixed subscription prices, the affordability of newspapers and journals increased. As of 1969, Novyi mir’s yearly subscription price of 8 rubles 40 kopecks would take only 0.6% of the average yearly wage of 1,402.8 rubles.201 To be sure, these numbers refer mostly to urban readers, while the situation in the countryside could be worse.202 But what further proves the affordability of thick literary journals is that their “thin” counterpart, the richly illustrated and colorful Ogonek magazine, always enjoyed far greater subscription rates, despite costing more. In the same January 1970, the yearly subscription to Ogonek cost 15 rubles, and yet its circulation hovered at 1,700,000 nationwide, far exceeding that of any thick literary journal.203

62Thus, despite being relatively affordable, during the 1960s individual subscriptions to literary periodicals were generally few and far between. If so, and if we adopt the position that Soviet subscription statistics may, at least to some degree, provide an insight into the readers’ interest in particular periodicals, do the low numbers mean that the Soviet audiences’ interest in literature was also generally low?

63The answer is no. The low levels of individual subscription to literary periodicals do not necessarily mean a correspondingly low reading interest in literature on the part of the Soviet audiences. Rather, these numbers need to be analyzed in the framework of a general shortage of the press and other printed matter, the shortage that, despite some improvements, persisted throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

  • 204   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1423, l. 13. On Rabotnitsa, see Natalia Tolstikova, “Reading Rabotnitsa(...)
  • 205   See Table 3 for sources; Chislennost’ i razmeshchenie naseleniia respubliki Mordoviia, 5. In 1970 (...)

64The non-literary periodicals offer a useful reference point here. In July 1964, for example (see Table 1), subscription to the popular illustrated magazines Rabotnitsa and Krokodil far exceeded that of the literary journals Znamia and Oktiabr’, in Moscow or in the provinces, in absolute numbers or in subscription-to-population ratios. In itself, there is nothing surprising in the fact that a popular magazine surpassed a relatively highbrow literary monthly in its broad appeal. But even with the ever-popular Rabotnitsa, and even in Moscow, the maximum of 52 people out of every 1,000 in the city, or one out of nineteen (about 5%), subscribed to the journal as of 1964. This number includes unspecified institutional subscriptions, and so the actual number of individual subscribers was certainly lower. Rabotnitsa in Moscow is the best-case scenario, too, because this was the privileged capital and because Rabotnitsa—an illustrated magazine with lots of home economics advice that targeted primarily an urban female audience—was, despite official limits imposed upon its circulation, the most broadly circulating magazine in the USSR that year. In 1964 Rabotnitsa’s nationwide circulation reached 4.2 million.204 Other periodicals often fared worse, especially in the provinces. What we usually observe is about or less than 1% of the population, sometimes one-tenth of a percent, subscribing to a given periodical. Retail, again, was of little help because it usually consumed only a small percentage of a periodical’s total print run and, judging by the readers’ multiple complaints, was chronically insufficient. Even Pravda apparently continued to be in fairly short supply in some areas of the country at the end of the 1960s, just as it had been in the early years of the decade. In the Pskov region, according to a reader’s letter cited at the beginning of this chapter, one could not obtain a copy of Pravda in 1961. In that year in Pskov, there were 67 individuals per each subscription to Pravda. To compare, in 1968 in Mordovia there was one subscription to Pravda per every 75 individuals, and there is no indication that retail was of considerable help.205 In other words, the shortage of the press in Mordovia in 1968 may have been as bad as in Pskov in 1961. One may expect to find, some day, a letter by a disgruntled Mordovian reader who was unable to obtain a copy of Pravda in Saransk.

  • 206   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1410, ll. 42-49, esp. 46-48 (“Spravka o sostoianii rasprostraneniia per (...)
  • 207   Table 2. The population of the Moscow region (oblast’) was 5,863,003 in 1959; by January 1970 it (...)
  • 208   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1410, l. 47.

65The economy of shortages in the Soviet publishing industry did not only or necessarily mean an insufficient output of printed matter. Often, particularly during the second half of the 1960s when subscription limits had been officially removed, the shortages resulted from the inefficiency of Soiuzpechat’ officials who, apparently accustomed to operating under the old system of quotas, failed to organize advertisement, subscription, ordering, or retail sales to satisfy the readers’ demand. One case in point was the Moscow region (outside the capital), where in 1966, because of a poor ordering system, most retail kiosks would run out of newspapers after four to five business hours on any given day.206 Subscription fared better here than in Pskov or Saransk, and yet in 1967 there were only 140,714 subscriptions (127,562 of them individual) to Pravda in the Moscow region for the population of about 5.8 million, or approximately one subscription for every 41 individuals.207 Literary periodicals were often in short supply, too. In 1966, the Moscow oblast Soiuzpechat’ drew criticism of its superiors for ordering insufficient numbers of literary periodicals. Among the cited examples was the fact that the regional office had allowed the retail sales of Novyi mir to go down by having ordered 473 retail copies of the journal in January but only 426 copies in November. Evidently, what explained the shortage of Novyi mir in the Moscow oblast was not so much politics as the malfunctioning of the local Soiuzpechat’ apparatus.208

  • 209   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1410, ll. 66-68.

66Or, to take another problem area, in Tatarstan in the same year 1966 Soiuzpechat’ inspectors were alarmed to see their regional and local subordinates request low numbers of periodicals from the center, either for subscription or for retail. Whereas the republican capital, Kazan, was doing relatively well, elsewhere the situation looked bleak. For Bugul’ma, a fairly large industrial city with a population of 68,000, Soiuzpechat’ officials filed no requests at all for Ekonomicheskaia gazeta (The Economic Gazette), Sovetskoe kino (Soviet Cinema), and Literaturnaia Rossiia (Literary Russia). For Chistopol’, a city of 59,000, only six copies of Literaturnaia gazeta were ordered. The town of Aznakaevo, the principal center of oil industry in Tatarstan with a population of about 20,000, had only two copies of Literaturnaia gazeta and two copies of Sovetskaia kul’tura (Soviet Culture) on order. In 1966, such journals as Molodezhnaia estrada (Youth Popular Music), Teatr (Theatre), or Turist (Tourist) were ordered by the local Soiuzpechat’ officials only for the city of Kazan, but not for any of the other 44 Soiuzpechat’ distribution centers in the republic.209

67Characteristically, and probably accurately, the inspectors did not attribute these press shortages to a lack of reading interest on the part of the audience. Instead, they blamed the shortages on the ineptitude of the local Soiuzpechat’ officials who had failed to advertise particular titles or to request them in sufficient quantities from the center. Indeed, blaming the readers would hardly work here. One may perhaps hold a discussion about the popularity of Novyi mir in a place like Aznakaevo, but it would be unreasonable to question the mass appeal of “Youth Popular Music.” As in many other cases, the explanation for press shortages in Tatarstan was not necessarily underproduction, political manipulation, or a lack of the audiences’ reading interest, but rather the systemic inertia and logistical inefficiency of the press dissemination mechanism.

  • 210   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1410, ll. 47, 68.

68Equally telling are reports of press surplus, which were nearly as common as the shortages. In the Moscow region, again because of a poor ordering system, while some kiosks glaringly displayed empty shelves, others accumulated heaps of unsold newspapers and journals, clogging up the distribution network. For Tatarstan, we have a few titles of those unwanted periodicals. Prominent among them were the ideological publications. “The unsold surplus of party journals is especially large,” the inspectors observed grimly. Among those gathering dust on the shelves of kiosks were two principal Communist party journals, Kommunist and Partiinaia zhizn’ (Party Life), as well as Agitator (The Agitator) and Politicheskoe samoobrazovanie (Political Self-Education). Those journals might have had some audience in Tatarstan, but it is likely that, for ideological reasons, Soiuzpechat’ inflated their regional circulation allocations.210

  • 211   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 687, l. 12 (“Stenogramma sobraniia obshchestvennogo aktiva g. Moskvy ot (...)
  • 212   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1423, l. 2.
  • 213   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1423, l. 2.
  • 214   Th. C. Wolfe, Governing Soviet Journalism: The Press and the Socialist Person after Stalin (Bloom (...)

69As far as the overall output of printed matter was concerned, the late Soviet press industry actually looked impressive. The average rate of what the professional jargon of Soiuzpechat’ officials termed “press saturation” (nasyshchennost’ pechat’iu)—admittedly a somewhat blanket per capita calculation of all copies of all periodicals circulating in a given territory—kept growing during the postwar decades, ultimately placing the Soviet Union well ahead of many Western countries. As early as 1956, at least according to Soiuzpechat’, the city of Moscow with 454 copies of periodicals per 1000 residents was ahead of similar statistics for the U.S., West Germany, France, and Italy (although somewhat behind the U.K. with its 600 copies per 1000 population).211 By 1965, this index for Moscow had apparently grown more than twice, reaching 958 copies per 1000 residents.212 And while the provinces were usually (not always) behind the capital, as of 1 January 1961 the average rate for the Russian Federation was a rather inspiring 424 copies per 1000 residents.213 By the mid-1980s the total circulation of newspapers alone in the Soviet Union was nearly three times that of the U.S., with the Soviet population being only slightly larger.214

  • 215   Stephen Lovell makes similar observations with regard to book publishing and distribution during (...)

70However, the monumental figures of “press saturation” tell little of the readers’ capacity to obtain not just any periodical, but one that was actually of interest to them. The problem with the Soviet economy of shortages, as far as the world of reading was concerned, was not a lack of printed matter per se, but a lack of coordination between, on the one hand, the supply, and on the other hand, the readers’ demand for particular published texts. As much as Soiuzpechat’ tried to reconcile the two, those efforts were not always successful.215

71Aside from the overabundance of massively printed ideological publications, the prevalent reality of Soviet press dissemination, even by the late 1960s, was still that of shortage. Both the quantities and the mechanics of newspaper and journal circulation placed the audiences, especially provincial ones, on a fairly meager reading diet. Although the subscription limits may have been officially abolished in October 1964, the print runs of all periodicals were still decided in a centralized fashion. Despite the trend toward balancing circulations and readers’ interests, the system of press distribution continued to be dominated by, if not entirely non-market, then heavily distorted market mechanisms where money and consumer satisfaction did not tell the whole story. In addition to pecuniary means, a reader had to obtain physical access to a periodical, a task that was often difficult. The reading environment of the 1960s remained one of scarcity, where demand for many (albeit certainly not all) periodicals regularly exceeded supply.

  • 216   On the centrality of libraries in Soviet reading culture from early on, see E. Dobrenko, Formovka (...)

72In this environment, individual subscription or retail were not the only and often not even the principal methods of readers’ access to periodicals, or to published texts more broadly. In order to get a full picture of the Soviet reading audiences and their interests, one needs to examine other practices of reading, such as collective reading, sharing of printed matter, reading in public or institutional libraries, and other similar ways of accessing the printed word.216

73This is where statistics reaches its limit, because such unorthodox practices of reading and information exchange obviously cannot be quantified. And yet they certainly existed in Soviet society. Unlike Pravda, a 288-page copy of Novyi mir could not be glued to a newspaper board, and so readers had to find other ways of accessing this or another literary journal. Evidence suggests that this happened often. Always there, the shortages greatly increased every time a journal published something particularly interesting. Then long lines would form in libraries, with potential readers entering their names in special rosters and the wait lasting for weeks if not months. Sharing was a common practice, too. Unlike some other material objects, books and journals could be used by many people, and readers frequently shared them with each other. Readers’ letters often described a situation when the same tattered copy of a journal was read by dozens, at times hundreds of eyes. People read at libraries and at work. Neighbors subscribed to one set of a journal collectively, while the more fortunate individual subscribers lent their copies to relatives, friends, etc. Here lines formed as well, and it was not uncommon to borrow a journal issue for only one sleepless night of reading. Published texts were multiplied on individual typewriters, and in cases of extreme popularity the typed copies could be sold on the black market at several times the journal’s official state retail price.

  • 217   RGALI, f. 634, op. 4, d. 708, l. 13; V. Pomerantsev, “Ob iskrennosti v literature,” Novyi mir, 12 (...)
  • 218   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 9, d. 8, ll. 6-6ob.
  • 219   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 6, d. 89, l. 127 (March 23, 1954).
  • 220   Ibid. For similar reactions, see RGALI, f. 1702, op. 6, d. 72, ll. 49-56 (Valentina Klimova, engi (...)
  • 221   The percentage is based on the number of letters from identified locations (91 letters). Overall, (...)
  • 222   For the story of Pomerantsev’s article and its reception, see Kozlov, The Readers of Novyi mir, 4 (...)

74Examples abound. In 1954, Leningrad typists made money by copying Vladimir Pomerantsev’s emblematic article “On Sincerity in Literature” and selling each copy for 25 rubles, more than three times the seven-ruble price of the December 1953 issue of Novyi mir in which the article had been published.217 Here at last is evidence of pure market demand, presumably the best indicator of a product’s popularity. This popularity was not limited to Leningrad or Moscow. On the contrary, there is evidence of a similar resonance the article enjoyed in the provinces, both Russian and non-Russian. One reader, whom Pomerantsev had never met before, somehow obtained his home telephone number and called him, jubilantly reporting that the article received an enthusiastic welcome at Komsomol gatherings in Ukraine.218 Especially vivid was a story told by one T. Permiakov, an instructor at the Khabarovsk Medical Institute in the Far East. As he described it in his letter to Novyi mir, entire offices in Khabarovsk would stop working for hours at a time in 1954, with people passionately arguing about Pomerantsev and sincerity in literature. Sometime in January of that year Permiakov found the entire staff of an office at the city radio station engaged in a heated argument. When he asked why the passions ran so high, the radio journalists responded that they were discussing Pomerantsev’s article, and were astonished to hear that he had not yet read it. “Do read it! This is astoundingly fresh and good!” they advised him.219 A few hours later he, apparently someone involved in the world of letters, stopped by the editorial office of the regional newspaper Tikhookeanskaia zvezda (Pacific Star), only to hear again the editors applauding Pomerantsev’s article. A few days passed, and Permiakov heard the same ecstatic praise for the article at the local branch of the Writers’ Union. Intrigued, as he still had not read it, he finally went to a library and asked for the December 1953 issue of Novyi mir. The librarian gave him an understanding smile. With the words, “Of course, you came for Pomerantsev!” she produced a long list of readers who had signed up for that issue of the journal. Because he “did not have connections at the library,” a full two months had to elapse before Permiakov’s turn came to read “On Sincerity.” Throughout these months of anxious waiting, he kept hearing about the article everywhere, including his department meetings at the Medical Institute. “And everywhere,” he reported to Novyi mir, “the verdict was the same: ‘Great! What a punch! What a knockout! That’s where the truth is told!”220 In fact, the largest share (37.4%) of readers’ letters to Pomerantsev that are available in the archives, came not from Moscow or Leningrad (those generated about a third of the letters), but from large provincial cities like Khabarovsk.221 It was in the provinces that Pomerantsev’s success resonated especially loudly. He became the hero of the day, with people jubilantly greeting him in letters full of elated expressions and exclamation marks.222

  • 223   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 6, d. 242, l. 111.
  • 224   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 6, d. 240, l. 37 (Novosibirsk), 85 (Tashkent); ibid., d. 241, l. 67 (Lviv obl (...)
  • 225   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 8, d. 133, l. 132 (Baku).
  • 226   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 6, d. 240, l. 15; ibid., d. 241, l. 16.
  • 227   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 6, d. 242, ll. 22-23; ibid., d. 243, l. 121 (Magnitogorsk).
  • 228   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 6, d. 241, l. 16 (Gomel’), l. 76 (Molotov region); ibid., d. 242, l. 128 (Kie (...)
  • 229   On Dudintsev, see K. E. Smith, Moscow 1956: The Silenced Spring (Cambridge, MA, 2017), 256-279; K (...)

75Or, we may take the 1956 Novyi mir publication of Vladimir Dudintsev’s novel Not by Bread Alone, another literary classic of the Thaw. In the autumn of that year, letter writers reported about people reading the light-blue-jacketed journal’s issues with the novel “in the subway, in the streetcars, in the trolley-buses,—young people, adults, and seniors.”223 Again, this was happening not only in Moscow or Leningrad but also in Gomel’, Kishinev, Krasnoiarsk, Tashkent, Odessa, Riga, and other places across the country. Retail kiosks that sold the journal were emptied out in a few hours. Readers lined up in libraries for months waiting to get the novel,224 and sometimes the checked-out issues of Novyi mir, torn and full of marginalia, went missing.225 Once again, the lucky subscribers were besieged by scores of friends, friends of friends, relatives, colleagues, and acquaintances borrowing the journal for a day and sometimes only a night.226 Once again, readers without such personal ties turned to the black market, buying copies of Novyi mir with Dudintsev’s novel at three times the state price.227 People read the novel silently and aloud, on their own and in groups, with discussions breaking out at homes, workplaces, and numerous readers’ and writers’ conferences—just as in Pomerantsev’s case earlier, but on a much larger scale.228 This is not to mention that in Moscow itself, multi-thousand crowds of Dudintsev’s readers occasionally had to be patrolled by mounted police, as it happened at the Central House of Writers on 22 October 1956, where Dudintsev himself made a public appearance.229

  • 230   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 10, d. 76, ll. 39, 40-40ob, 41ob (20 January 1963).
  • 231   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 9, d. 326, ll. 37-38ob (August 13-14, 1969); M. E. Zakharov, “Otkrytoe pis’mo (...)
  • 232   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1708, ll. 18-18ob, 20ob, 33-35ob (subscription figures for the newspape (...)

76The 1960s are somewhat less rich than the 1950s in offering such extreme sights of readers’ enthusiasm and effort at obtaining a work of literature. And yet the effort and the enthusiasm were commonly there. Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, initially published in Novyi mir in November 1962, was frequently read in public libraries, where demand greatly exceeded supply. When, having waited in a line for several weeks, a reader would finally get hold of a library copy of the journal, it would be tattered and greased from many previous readers’ hands, with numerous pencil marks on the margins. Thus looked, for example, the copy which, in January 1963, ended up in the hands of the 71-year old S. A. Kolendovskii from Kharkiv, Ukraine.230 In Solzhenitsyn’s case, again, Moscow was not very different from the provinces. One similarly looking copy of Novyi mir’s issue with One Day in it, which has clearly been through thousands of readers’ hands, survived in the Moscow Public History Library as late as 2001, when I took a picture of it. From the late 1960s, too, we occasionally get similar reports of the Soviet readers’ energy and resourcefulness in overcoming shortages of highly demanded texts that interested them. In 1969, Anatolii Shishkov, a pensioner and a former mining timekeeper, traveled all the way from his village of Goloven’ki, Shchyokino district, Tula oblast’, to the city of Tula in order to obtain a copy of the newspaper Sotsialisticheskaia industriia (“Socialist Industry”) that had bitterly attacked Novyi mir shortly before. The concerned reader then wrote a long letter in defense of Tvardovskii’s journal and sent it to Novyi mir’s editorial office. From his remote location, he had literally walked an extra mile, and likely many miles more, in order to perform the act of reading and letter writing.231 Interestingly, the newspaper he sought, Sotsialisticheskaia industriia, was a newly-minted mouthpiece of mass persuasion that enjoyed a special patronage of the Central Committee, being endowed with a generous USSR-wide circulation allowance of 302,000 copies in retail and 500,000 in subscription. Of those, however, only 84,961 were claimed by actual subscribers. Founded only a few months earlier that year, 1969, the newspaper already circulated in 1,893 subscriptions and 2,500 retail copies in the Tula region. Evidently though, none of the subscriptions had reached the village of Goloven’ki where the elderly Mr. Shishkov resided. It is highly unlikely that his village had a Soiuzpechat’ retail kiosk, either.232

  • 233   Kozlov, “The Readers of Novyi mir, 1948-1969: A Social Portrait,” 23-27, esp. tables 9 and 10.

77Not all press was of interest to all Soviet readers, but literary press often was, and they found a way to obtain it. This interest was not limited to the capitals. Overall, as far as reading literature is concerned, the pre-eminence of the capitals over the provinces should not be exaggerated. The myth that literary journals, and consequently any sophisticated intellectual currents, had no circulation outside the narrow circle of the Moscow and Leningrad intelligentsia—and that therefore intellectual life in Soviet society took place mainly in the capitals whereas the provinces were passive, silent, stagnant, and could at best follow suit—is a distortion of reality. To import here my findings from elsewhere, systematic examination of readers’ letters to Novyi mir between 1948 and 1969 shows that Moscow and Leningrad did not even come close to dominating the journal’s active audience, except occasionally in the mid- to late 1960s. It was the provincial readers, mainly those from large regional urban centers such as Gorky, Kharkiv, Khabarovsk, Sverdlovsk, etc., who contributed the greatest share of written responses to the journal’s publications. The intensity of these responses—in other words, percentages of letter writers from those cities measured against the cities’ share in the country’s population—was indeed somewhat lower than in Moscow, Leningrad, or Kiev, and yet the provincial urban centers responded to literature almost as actively as the capitals. In smaller urban locations the intensity of response was usually lower, while the countryside responded to the journal’s publications yet less intensely. But overall, if Novyi mir is any indication, the literary life of the Thaw reached a very broad geographical range of locations, from the capitals to villages all over the USSR.233 The journal’s active audience was primarily urban, and to a great extent also provincial. To stress this again, “provincial” here is a geographical attribution, not a qualitative characteristic, since readers’ letters about literature from the provinces were in no way less sophisticated than those from Moscow or Leningrad.

78 Rather than any kind of intellectual pre-eminence of the capitals, what the disparity in the circulation of literary periodicals between the Soviet capitals and the provinces suggests may be two different patterns of circulation and consumption of the printed word, literature included. Flawed as it was, in Moscow, Leningrad, or other major urban centers such as Kazan’, by the mid-to-late 1960s the dissemination of periodicals had to some extent reached modern dimensions, with a certain correlation existing between the supply of printed matter and the readers’ demand for it, and with individual subscription and retail playing a considerable, although admittedly insufficient, role in the audiences’ consumption of published texts. Therefore, the statistics of circulation and subscription in the capitals, and perhaps bigger cities more generally, may offer some guidance to contemporary Soviet readers’ interests and preferences. In the more remote provinces, by contrast, a more archaic model of reading consumption may have still prevailed, with traditional practices of collective and shared reading largely dominating the reading landscape. Those practices were not extinct in Moscow or Leningrad, either. Arguably, the more remote and ill-accessible a geographic locality was, the more archaic the practices of reading there would be.

A Few Preliminary Conclusions

79When we bring together the myriad ways in which Soviet readers accessed or reacted to texts published in literary periodicals during the 1950s and 1960s, in the provinces as well as in the capitals, what does this variety of statistics and reading practices suggest?

80It suggests, in the first place, that literature did have societal importance during the Thaw. It also suggests, however, that in the Soviet environment of centralized and officially restricted circulation of the press, building a direct correlation between subscription figures and readers’ interests would be a precarious exercise.

81During the two and a half post-World War II decades, the Soviet system of press dissemination evolved from a rigidly hierarchical, militarized, top-down distribution of printed matter into a more open environment that sought to accommodate readers’ interests and to balance the supply of periodicals with the audiences’ demand. Nonetheless, the mechanism of press circulation remained centrally regulated, cumbersome, and often inefficient, operating as it did within the nationwide economy of shortages. Politics and ideology continued to be important elements of this mechanism as well, influencing the production and distribution of periodicals in either supportive or at times restrictive ways.

82Therefore, it is often impossible to measure the reading audience of a Soviet periodical or another publication by applying regular categories of literary market analysis accepted in a Western society. Circulation numbers alone will tell us little about the actual popularity of a given title among readers. Low circulation did not necessarily mean that the title was unpopular, nor did high circulation automatically mean popularity. An occasional imbalance between the numbers of printed and actually circulating copies of a given title could be dictated by political priorities rather than economic factors, and it was not necessarily overcome, on the government’s part at least, by market methods of reconciling supply and demand. Excessive supply could be allowed to continue, provided it was politically justified, and measures could be taken for enforcing an unwanted publication upon readers. On the other hand, excessive demand could be suppressed by limiting the circulation of a given periodical or by allowing the shortage to carry on, despite the supply being clearly insufficient.

83That said, the efficiency of press dissemination, and particularly subscription, varied depending on specific circumstances and locations. The system tended to function more successfully in the capitals and other large urban centers, offering a greater variety of periodicals for subscription, paying some attention to the interests of individual subscribers, and making a more or less consistent effort to match reading supply and demand. Because of that, subscription data from larger cities may occasionally indicate the intellectual preferences of Soviet readers. The competition between the journals Novyi mir and Oktiabr’ in Moscow and Leningrad during the second half of the 1960s is one case in point. However, even in the capitals the state-run mechanism of readers’ access to the press was far from perfect or sufficient, ensuring the parallel survival of more traditional modes of shared and collective reading that took multiple forms. Outside big cities, these archaic modes of reading consumption tended to be more prevalent.

  • 234   A. Solzhenitsyn, “Odin den’ Ivana Denisovicha,” Novyi mir, 11 (1962), 8-74; ibid., Roman-gazeta ( (...)

84Singular reliance on statistics of subscription or retail in order to measure the readership of a newspaper, journal, or for that matter any publication in Soviet society, would be misleading. The obverse of the economy of shortages was that the actual readership of any published text of broad interest, especially a literary text, was larger than anything the official numbers may tell. Modest circulation or subscription should not lead us to think that the literary audiences were indeed that small. While numerically inferior to the readerships of major central newspapers or popular illustrated magazines, such as Ogonek, Rabotnitsa, or Krest’ianka, the audiences of literary journals numbered in hundreds of thousands, and sometimes in millions. Millions is not an exaggeration, because texts originally published in a thick journal were often subsequently republished with a larger print run. To give again the example of Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, the novella came out in Novyi mir in 1962 with a circulation of 90,000. The following year it was reprinted separately in Roman-gazeta with a circulation of 700,000. In that same year, 1963, One Day came out as a book from the Sovetskii pisatel’ publishing house (100,000 copies), in Lithuanian and Estonian translations (15,000 and 10,000 copies respectively), and even in 500 special copies for the visually impaired. Thus, the total official circulation of One Day in 1962-63 reached 915,500 copies.234 And even those impressive circulation numbers were often insufficient, as it happened in the case of One Day. When a published text elicited truly massive attention and interest, readers resorted to their own, either non-market or improvised-market, tactics of broadening the circulation of a given title. Especially widespread were the time-honored practices of collective and shared reading. Thanks to those, the actual audience of a literary publication could easily reach several million people.

85Conversely, there are many examples when the officially endorsed broad circulation and an affordable price did not mean the actual popularity of a publication. The mandatory circulation of Kommunist, the multiple reprints of works by the classics of Marxism, the unwanted subscriptions to Komsomol’skaia pravda among Moscow students in 1965, and the heaps of unclaimed copies of Agitator, Politicheskoe samoobrazovanie, or Partiinaia zhizn’ in Tatarstan in 1966 are just some cases in point. Again, here is where statistical evidence reaches its limit. There is no way to calculate the readership of a text that was lavishly over-produced and over-disseminated on ideological grounds.

86For all these reasons, an attempt to quantify the reading interests of Soviet audiences on the basis of subscription and retail data is bound to produce fragmentary results that will always lack comprehensiveness or precision. The result would be even less accurate if, on the grounds of statistics of circulation, subscription, and retail, one attempted to judge not just a short-term “popularity” but a long-term “impact” of a periodical or any, in particular literary, text. For these complex dimensions of socio-intellectual history, evidence of press dissemination is clearly insufficient. An altogether different kind of long-term analysis that would focus on changing patterns of language as well as the longevity and recurrence of particular ideas in readers’ responses, would need to be performed. Among potential discoveries, one may find here that texts of initially modest circulation might over time produce an increasingly powerful impact on society, conquering the audiences and the minds.

87If so, then are the statistics of subscription and circulation a useful tool of analysis for the history of Soviet reading, and potentially Soviet intellectual history? They certainly are—provided the analysis is performed carefully. Soviet subscription figures may be informative, but only if one knows the context of production, dissemination, and reactions to a particular text. That, in turn, is possible only if one combines statistical data with additional types of evidence, such as readers’ letters, correspondence among writers and editors, and other sources.

88During the 1950s and 1960s, Soviet readers displayed a great interest in, and were in constant interaction with, the world of literature. In order to study this interaction and its outcomes, it is necessary to keep in mind that literature and society spoke to each other in forms particular to the contemporary culture of reading. Subscription to literary periodicals was one, but not the only, such form. Knowing these forms, the peculiar specifics of the Soviet reading environment, is a necessary precondition for analyzing this country’s intellectual history.

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Notes

1   For the elaboration of this idea, see R. Maguire, Red Virgin Soil: Soviet Literature in the 1920s (Princeton, 1968).

2   E.g. RGASPI (Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv sotsial’no-politicheskoi istorii), f. 17, op. 133, d. 322, ll. 223, 225.

3   “Postanovlenie Orgbiuro TsK VKP(b) O zhurnalakh ‘Zvezda’ i ‘Leningrad’, 14 August 1946,” Pravda, August 21, 1946.

4Vtoroi vsesoiuznyi s’’ezd sovetskikh pisatelei. 15-26 dekabria 1954 goda. Stenograficheskii otchet (Moscow, 1956), 36; [N. N. Dikushina], “Zhurnalistika i kritika 40-kh–nachala 50-kh godov,” Istoriia russkoi sovetskoi literatury v chetyrekh tomakh, (Moscow, 1968), III, 448-471, here 449; V. Iu. Afiani et al. (eds.), Apparat TsK KPSS i kul’tura, 1953-1957: Dokumenty (Moscow, 2001), 344.

5   RGAE (Rossiiskii gosudartsvennyi arkhiv ekonomiki), f. 3527, op. 27, d. 122, ll. 16, 21.

6   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 122, ll. 16, 17ob. For Ukrainian population statistics in 1945, see L. Luciuk, “Ukraine,” in I. Dear, M. Foot (eds.), The Oxford Companion to World War II (Oxford, 2001), 909.

7   Thus, in 1945 800 yearly sets of Oktiabr’ went to Moscow, 300 to Leningrad, 1,650 to Ukraine, and 700 to Belarus. RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 122, ll. 18ob, 19ob, 20, 21.

8   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 152, l. 116.

9   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 216, l. 18. Belarus also received 1,200 sets of Oktiabr’, 1,100 of Znamia, and 400 of Zvezda in 1947. In 1950, the republic’s population was 7,709,000: “Chislennost’ naseleniia Respubliki Belarus’,” http://belstat.gov.by/homep/ru/publications/population/tables.php (accessed November 24, 2010); D. Marples, Belarus: A Denationalized Nation (Amsterdam, 1999), 16.

10   RGASPI, f. 17, op. 132, d. 78, ll. 46-48, 50. On the involvement of top-level Soviet leadership in literary affairs during the Stalin years, see, e.g., H. Swayze, Political Control of Literature in the USSR, 1946-59 (Oxford, 1962); D. L. Babichenko (ed.),“Literaturnyi front”: Istoriia politicheskoi tsenzury, 1932-1946 gg. (Moscow, 1994), 40, 43-44, 88-90, 144, 221-225, and passim; D. L. Babichenko, Pisateli i tsenzory: Sovetskaia literatura 1940-kh godov pod politicheskim kontrolem TsK (Moscow, 1994); A. Artizov, O. Naumov (eds.), Vlast’ i khudozhestvennaia intelligentsiia: dokumenty TsK RKP(b)-VKP(b), VChK-OGPU-NKVD o kul’turnoi politike, 1917-1953 gg. (Moscow, 1999), 641-42, 643-46, 662-63; J. Brooks, Thank You, Comrade Stalin! Soviet Public Culture from Revolution to Cold War (Princeton, 2000), 64, 116, 107-125, 167-168, 208, 226, and passim; A. Artizov, K. Clark, E. Dobrenko, O. Naumov (eds.), Soviet Culture and Power: A History in Documents, 1917-1953 (New Haven, 2007), passim.

11   ORF GLM (Otdel rukopisnykh fondov Gosudarstvennogo literaturnogo muzeia), f. 168, op. 1, d. 40, l. 4; RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 122, ll. 16ob, 17ob; “Demograficheskie pokazateli po 15 novym nezavisimym gosudarstvam,” Demoskop Weekly, 457-458 (March 7-20, 2011), http://demoscope.ru/weekly/ssp/sng_pop.php (accessed February 25, 2017); N. S. Dranko et al. (eds.), Donetsk: Istoriko-ekonomicheskii ocherk (Donetsk, 1969), https://coollib.com/b/285973/read (accessed May 3, 2018).

12   RGASPI, f. 17, op. 132, d. 226, ll. 26-27. The circulation stated on the back page of Novyi mir’s August 1949 issue was 66,300.

13   Ibid; RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 171, l. 138; ibid., d. 176, ll. 45, 47.

14   Historiographically, the concept of the Soviet economy of shortages was developed by Elena Osokina in her Za fasadom “Stalinskogo izobilia”: Raspredelenie i rynok v snabzhenii naseleniia v gody industrializatsii, 1927-1941 (Moscow, 1998), in English as Elena Osokina, Our Daily Bread: Socialist Distribution and the Art of Survival in Stalin’s Russia, 1927-1941 (Armonk, 2001).

15   On the overall evolution of the Soviet press during the 1920s and 1930s see Brooks, Thank You, Comrade Stalin!; M. Lenoe, Closer to the Masses: Stalinist Culture, Social Revolution, and Soviet Newspapers (Cambridge, MA, 2004). On the press distribution system, specifically, see J. Brooks, “The Breakdown in the Production and Distribution of Printed Material, 1917-1927,” in A. Gleason, P. Kenez, R. Stites (eds.), Bolshevik Culture: Experiment and Order in the Russian Revolution (Bloomington, 1985), 151-174, esp. 154-156; Brooks, Thank You, Comrade Stalin!, 5-8, 11-15; Lenoe, Closer to the Masses, 46-69.

16   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 203, ll. 9-11.

17   On the emergence of the Central Committee-regulated system of distribution quotas during the 1930s, see Lenoe, Closer to the Masses, 59-63. On wartime shortages of the press, see I. Kuznetsov, Istoriia otechestvennoi zhurnalistiki (1917-2000), ch. 4 (Moscow, 2002), http://evartist.narod.ru/text8/09.htm (accessed February 25, 2017); K. Berkhoff, Motherland in Danger: Soviet Propaganda during World War II (Cambridge, MA, 2012), 16-17, 27-29. On the earlier interwar situation, see Brooks, Thank You, Comrade Stalin!, 3-18, on subscription in the 1920s in particular, see ibid., 15. For a brief overview of the Soviet periodicals’ circulation prior to the Gorbachev years, see S. Lovell, The Russian Reading Revolution: Print Culture in the Soviet and Post-Soviet Eras (New York, 2000), 104-107.

18   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d, 123, l. 33; see also ibid., d. 191, l. 43.

19   RGASPI, f. 17, op. 132, d. 226, ll. 26-27; RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 171, ll. 137-138; RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 123, ll. 30-31, 123; RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 124, ll. 91-91ob, 142-144; RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 191, l. 45a.

20   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 152, ll. 103-116; ibid., d. 159, ll. 16-18. On institutional subscription during the early Soviet decades, see Brooks, “The Breakdown in the Production and Distribution of Printed Material, 1917-1927,” 155-156; Lenoe, Closer to the Masses, 53-57, 62-66.

21   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 159, ll. 16-21, 26-27, 55-56; ibid., d. 1423, l. 173.

22   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1196, l. 14 (K. Sergeichuk, deputy minister of communications of the USSR, to the Ideological Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, October 26, 1964).

23   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1196, ll. 24-26 (“Spisok izdanii, rasprostraniaemykh v 1964 godu ogranichennymi tirazhami.” Appendix to the letter from the USSR Minister of Communications Nikolai Psurtsev to the Central Committee, July 15, 1964).

24   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1423, ll. 18, 56.

25   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 176, ll. 45, 13.

26   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 213, l. 33 (January 1955).

27   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1416, l. 44.

28   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 123, l. 30ob; M. Filimonov, “U gazetnogo stenda na Ploshchadi Revoliutsii,” July 1, 1970. RIA Novosti, A70-16372, http://visualrian.ru/images/item/718003 (accessed February 25, 2017).

29   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 176, ll. 16-17, 19 (1950); ibid., d. 204, ll. 15-16 (1954); ibid., d. 213, ll. 24-26 (1955); ibid., d. 733, l. 75 (1958).

30   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 204, l. 16.

31   On paper supply shortages during the 1920s and 1930s, see Brooks, “The Breakdown in the Production and Distribution of Printed Material, 1917-1927,” 154; Lenoe, Closer to the Masses, 21, 35, 57, 66, and passim.

32   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 705, l. 20 (Stepanov to Shepilov, May 6, 1957).

33   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 213, l. 24 (N. Psurtsev to Khrushchev, March 8, 1955). For a similar shortage of paper supply in 1956, see ibid., d. 687, l. 50.

34   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 830, ll. 21-21a, 112-114.

35   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 830, l. 115 (February 14, 1961).

36   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 834, l. 138. For the Pskov population statistics as per the 1959 USSR census, see Demoskop Weekly. Institut demografii Natsional’nogo issledovatelskogo universiteta “Vysshaia shkola ekonomiki” (hereafter Demoscope Weekly) http://demoscope.ru/weekly/ssp/rus_mar_59.php?reg=53&gor=3&Submit=OK (accessed March 2, 2017).

37   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 19ob, 82ob, 114ob, 180ob, 212ob, 309ob.

38   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 213, l. 25 (B. Stepanov, acting head of Soiuzpechat’, to the Central Committee, February 14, 1955); ibid., d. 687, ll. 24, 35-37, 65 (a stenographic record of the meeting of press dissemination workers in Moscow, 26 September 1956); RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 733, ll. 59-62 (“O podpiske na tsentral’nye i mestnye gazety i zhurnaly,” letter by N. Psurtsev to the Central Committee, April 16, 1958).

39   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 760, ll. 1-2; ibid., d. 830, l. 184.

40   E.g., RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1380 (a reference note (spravka) by the Main Directorate of Soiuzpechat’, sent to the Central Committee, October 18, 1967).

41   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1416, l. 109; ibid., d. 1423, ll. 5, 8-10.

42   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1423, ll. 8-9.

43   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 687, ll. 16-17; for Russian blogs, see http://pda.sxnarod.com/index.php?showtopic=156806&st=0; http://www.liveinternet.ru/users/wolfleo/post136943880/ (accessed November 25, 2010).

44   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 687, l. 11.

45   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1423, ll. 3, 174, 177-79.

46   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1423, ll. 179-180.

47   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 105; ibid., d. 1423, l. 175. See also ibid., d. 1423, l. 13 (as of January 1, 1964 and 1965).

48   On relevant aspects of Soviet literary history during the 1960s, see, e.g., D. Spechler, Permitted Dissent in the USSR: Novyi mir and the Soviet Regime (New York, 1982); Y. Brudny, Reinventing Russia: Russian Nationalism and the Soviet State, 1953-1991 (Cambridge, MA, 1998), 28-93; M. Zezina, Sovetskaia khudozhestvennaia intelligentsia i vlast’ v 1950-e i 1960-e gody (Moscow, 1999); P. Jones, “The Personal and the Political: Opposition to the Thaw and the Politics of Literary Identity in the 1950s and 1960s,” in D. Kozlov, E. Gilburd (eds.), The Thaw: Soviet Society and Culture during the 1950s and 1960s (Toronto, 2013), 231-268; Idem, Myth, Memory, Trauma: Rethinking The Stalinist Past in the Soviet Union, 1953-70 (New Haven, 2013); D. Kozlov, The Readers of Novyi mir: Coming to Terms with the Stalinist Past (Cambridge, MA, 2013); A. Kahn, M. Lipovetsky, I. Reyfman, S. Sandler, A History of Russian Literature (Oxford, 2018), 549-550.

49   Cited from Novyi mir’s issues for those months.

50   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 789, l. 6; ibid., d. 830, l. 124.

51   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 830, l. 5; d. 708, l. 87; d. 896, l. 4; d. 1189, l. 12; d. 1274, l. 27.

52   For 1966, 1968, and 1970, respectively: RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1416, l. 44; ibid., d. 1619, l. 17ob; ibid., d. 1822, l. 176ob.

53   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, ll. 176ob, 178ob.

54   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, l. 177.

55   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, l. 161.

56   See, e.g., B. Menzel, Bürgerkrieg um Worte: Die russische Literaturkritik der Perestrojka (Köln, 2001), 46, table 1.

57   V. E. Evgen’ev-Maksimov, Poslednie gody “Sovremennika.” 1863-1866 (Leningrad, 1939), 113; Maguire, Red Virgin Soil, 36, 368, 382.

58   J. Brooks, “Readers and Reading at the End of the Tsarist Era,” in W. M. Todd III (ed.), Literature and Society in Imperial Russia, 1800-1914 (Stanford, 1978), 97-150, here 102. Brooks mentions here that at the turn of the twentieth century some literary journals would occasionally reach even more impressive circulation numbers, such as 80,000 for Viktor Miroliubov’s Zhurnal dlia vsekh in 1903.

59 Maguire, 368-370; V. Lakshin, “Pisatel’, chitatel’, kritik. Stat’ia pervaia [1965],” in his Literaturno-kriticheskie stat’i (Moscow, 2004), 92.

60   Vladimir Lakshin, the journal’s most famous literary critic of the Tvardovskii years, was the first to note this dramatic growth of audiences. Lakshin, “Pisatel’, chitatel’, kritik,” 86, 92-93.

61   Sources: RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 13; “15 novykh nezamisimykh gosudarstv. Chislennost’ naseleniia na nachalo goda, 1950-2016, tysiach chelovek,” Demoscope Weekly, http://demoscope.ru/weekly/ssp/sng_pop.php (accessed February 25, 2020).

62   Moscow’s population was estimated as 6,423,000 by January 1, 1965. Chislennost’, sostav i dvizhenie naseleniia SSSR: Statisticheskie materialy (Moscow, 1965), 160.

63   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 13, 48; “15 novykh nezavisimykh gosudarstv,” in Demoscope Weekly, http://demoscope.ru/weekly/ssp/sng_pop.php (accessed February 26, 2017).

64   D. Kozlov, “The Readers of Novyi mir, 1948-1969: A Social Portrait,” National Council for Eurasian and East European Research Working Paper, University of Washington, 2012, 11-19.

65 “Spisok izdanii, rasprostraniaemykh v 1964 godu ogranichennymi tirazhami.” RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1196, l. 24.

66   For sources, see endnotes to each particular section of the table. Unless otherwise indicated, the subscription statistics are for a city as well as its region (oblast’). Thus, for example, Murmansk stands for both Murmansk city and the Murmansk region. Institutional subscription, where such data is available, is indicated in parentheses, (). Double parentheses, (()), indicate rural areas out of total.

67   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 3, 4, 4ob, 6, 13, 18ob, 19ob, 20, 29ob. As of January 1.

68   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105. As of January 1.

69   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’ (Literature and Life).

70   Subscriptions to the Ogonek Literary Supplement (Literaturnoe prilozhenie) together with subscriptions to Biblioteka Ogon’ka (Ogonek Library). Hereafter subscriptions to these literary supplements are recorded after the ‘+’ sign.

71   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 34, 35, 35ob, 37, 45, 50, 51ob, 52, 61. As of January 1.

72   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105.

73   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.

74   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 66-67ob, 69, 77, 81ob, 82ob, 83, 92ob. As of January 1.

75   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105.

76   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.

77   Subscription to the literary supplements is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.

78   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 98, 98ob, 100, 108, 113ob, 114ob, 115, 124ob. Data for central periodicals as of January 1.

79   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105.

80   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.

81   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 131, 132, 132ob, 134, 142, 147ob, 148ob, 149, 158ob. As of January 1.

82   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105.

83   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.

84   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 163, 164, 164ob, 166, 174, 179ob, 180ob, 181, 190ob. As of January 1.

85   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105.

86   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.

87   Subscription to the literary supplements is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.

88   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 195, 196, 196ob, 198, 206, 211ob, 212ob, 213, 222ob. As of January 1.

89   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105.

90   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.

91   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 227, 228, 228ob, 230, 238, 243ob, 244ob, 245, 254ob. As of January 1.

92   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105.

93   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.

94   Subscription to the literary supplements is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.

95   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 259, 260, 260ob, 262, 270, 275ob, 277ob, 278, 287ob. As of January 1.

96   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105.

97   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.

98   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 292-293ob, 295, 303, 308ob-310, 319ob. As of January 1.

99   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1102, ll. 2-2ob, 3, 4, 6, 45ob, 47, 47ob, 49. As of January 1, 1963. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.

100   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.

101   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 91.

102   Including 759 in the countryside.

103   This figure is also in RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 95.

104   Subscription to the literary supplements is indicated after the ‘+’ sign. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.

105   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 99.

106   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 834, l. 138.

107   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105.

108   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.

109   Subscription to literary supplements is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.

110   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1631, ll. 1, 2, 2ob, 17ob-20ob. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.

111   Subscription to a supplement is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.

112   Subscription to literary supplements is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.

113   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1631, ll. 82, 83, 83ob, 98ob-101ob. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.

114   Subscription to a supplement is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.

115   Subscription to literary supplements is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.

116   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1139, ll. 2, 2ob, 3, 3ob, 4, 4ob, 7, 7ob, 46ob, 48, 48ob, 49ob, 50. As of January 1. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.

117   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1347, ll. 10ob, 14, 15, 15ob, 20ob, 48ob, 50. Data for Leningrad city and region (combined) for 1965. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.

118   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1548, ll. 1, 2-2ob, 17ob-20ob. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses. As of January 1967, Leningrad city only, without the region.

119   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1640, ll. 1, 2, 2ob, 17ob-20ob. As of January 1. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.

120   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1747, ll. 1, 2, 2ob, 17ob-20ob. As of January 1. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.

121   Subscription to a supplement is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.

122   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 92.

123   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1548, l. 19ob.

124   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1640, l. 19ob.

125   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1747, l. 19ob.

126   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 96.

127   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1548, l. 17ob.

128   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1640, l. 17ob.

129   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1747, l. 17ob.

130   Subscription to literary supplements is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.

131   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 100.

132   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, ll. 86-105.

133   For Leningrad region, see: RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1548, ll. 82, 83-83ob, 98ob-101ob. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses. Double parentheses, (()), indicate rural areas out of total.

134   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1640, ll. 82, 83, 83ob, 98ob-101ob. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.

135   Subscription to a supplement is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.

136   Subscription to literary supplements is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.

137   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1141, ll. 2, 2ob, 3, 3ob, 4, 4ob, 6, 6ob, 45ob, 47, 47ob, 48ob, 49. As of January 1. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.

138   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1349, ll. Data for Moscow city and region (combined) for 1965. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.

139   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1549, ll. 1, 2-2ob, 17ob-20ob. As of January 1. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.

140   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1631, ll. 163, 164-164ob, 179ob-182ob. As of January 1, 1968. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.

141   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1746, ll. 1, 2, 2ob, 17ob-20ob. As of January 1. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.

142   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.

143   Subscription to a supplement is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.

144   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 93.

145   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1549, l. 19ob.

146   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1631, l. 181ob.

147   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1746, l. 19ob.

148   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 97.

149   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1549, l. 18.

150   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1631, l. 179ob. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.

151   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1746, l. 17ob.

152   Subscription to literary supplements indicated after the ‘+’ sign.

153   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 101.

154   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1349, ll. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.

155   Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.

156   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1631, ll. 179ob-180. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.

157   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1746, l. 18. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.

158   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 105.

159   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1423, l. 13. As of January 1. The triple growth of subscription is thanks to the removal of subscription limits in October 1964.

160   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1423, l. 175.

161   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1549, ll. 82-82ob, 96ob-99ob. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.

162   Subscription to a supplement is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.

163   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1549, ll. 98ob.

164   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, ll. 96ob-97.

165   Subscription to literary supplements indicated after the ‘+’ sign.

166   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1549, ll. 161-162ob, 177ob-180ob. Institutional subscription is shown in parentheses.

167   Before 1963 Literatura i zhizn’.

168   Subscription to a supplement is indicated after the ‘+’ sign.

169   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1549, l. 179ob.

170   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, l. 177ob.

171   Subscription to literary supplements indicated after the ‘+’ sign.

172   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1274, l. 90; ibid., d. 1416, l. 144; RGALI (Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv literatury i iskusstva), f. 619, op. 4, d. 88, l. 4.

173   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1521, l. 95ob.

174   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1196, l. 4; ibid., d. 1822, l. 178ob.

175   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1189, l. 12. The initial request from Soiuzpechat’ for 1963, interestingly, had been only for 100,000. See ibid., d. 896, l. 4.

176   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1416, l. 44.

177   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1521, l. 17ob. Subscription figures for Novyi mir in 1967 vary: other archival files mention 120,000 on January 1, 1967 (RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1416, l. 44.), 115,500 in July (RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1521, l. 17ob.), or 124,000, also for January 1 (RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1521, l. 94). In general, during the 1960s subscription statistics could vary slightly from month to month within a given year. See, e.g., RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 789, l. 6. (January 1, 1961); ibid., d. 830, l. 5; ibid., d. 1274, l. 27 (July 1964); ibid., d. 1274, l. 42 (April, May 1964).

178   N. Biul’-Zedginidze, Literaturnaia kritika zhurnala “Novyi mir” A.T. Tvardovskogo (1958-1970 gg.) (Moscow, 1996), 358.

179   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1822, l. 176ob.

180   See also RGALI, f. 619, op. 4, d. 88, l. 4. In 1965, Kochetov complained to the RSFSR Bureau of the Party Central Committee about the insufficiency of his journal’s current circulation, 150,000 copies, in light of high demand from potential subscribers. Provided this was not solely Kochetov’s exercise in editorial strategizing, the demand may have mostly originated from provincial audiences.

181   Sources: same as in Table 2. Moscow oblast’ and Leningrad oblast’ numbers exclude the two cities themselves. For all other regions, the city and the region are combined.

182   Sources: same as in Table 2. Moscow oblast’ and Leningrad oblast’ numbers exclude the two cities themselves. For all other regions, the city and the region are combined.

183   See the respective sections of Table 2 for sources.

184   See the respective sections of Table 2 for sources.

185   See the respective sections of Table 2 for sources.

186   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1196, l. 27.

187   A. Iashin, “Vologodskaia svad’ba,” Novyi mir, 12 (1962), 3-26. Subscriptions to Novyi mir in the Vologda region actually did go down in 1963 (628, compared to 897 in 1960 and 905 in 1961), while subscriptions to Oktiabr’ increased by the same margin (1,343 in 1963, compared to 1,152 in 1960 and 1,085 in 1961). At the same time, subscriptions to Oktiabr’ had prevailed over those to Novyi mir in the region even before Iashin’s publication. RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 844, ll. 292, 293, 293ob, 295, 303, 308ob, 309ob, 310, 319ob. Statistics as of January 1, 1960, 1961, and 1963.

188   For a sophisticated discussion of the provincial readership of literary periodicals, specifically Novyi mir, during the late Stalin years, see T. Lahusen, How Life Writes the Book: Real Socialism and Socialist Realism in Stalin’s Russia (Ithaca, 1997), 151-178, esp. 170-178.

189   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 8, 9, 10; Kozlov, “The Readers of Novyi mir, 1948-1969: A Social Portrait”; idem, The Readers of Novyi mir, passim.

190   For population statistics, see P. L. Kirillov and A. G. Makhrova, “Polimasshtabnyi analiz demograficheskogo razvitiia Moskvy v postsovetskii period,” in SPERO, 17 (2012), 35-56, and in Demoscope Weekly, http://demoscope.ru/weekly/2013/0551/analit02.php (accessed March 18, 2017); M. B. Denisenko and A. V. Stepanova, “Dinamika chislennosti naseleniia Moskvy za 140 let,” in Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta, Seriia 6. Ekonomika,3 (2013), 88-97, and in Demoscope Weekly, http://demoscope.ru/weekly/2016/0689/analit03.php (accessed March 18, 2017).

191   For population statistics, see I. I. Eliseeva, E. I. Gribova (eds.), Sankt-Peterburg, 1703-2003: Iubileinyi statisticheskii sbornik, vypusk 2 (St. Petersburg, 2003), 16-17; N. Chistiakova, “Tret’ie sokrashchenie chislennosti naseleniia… i poslednee?” in Demoscope Weekly, http://demoscope.ru/weekly/2004/0163/tema01.php (accessed March 18, 2017).

192   In 1970, the population of Mordovia was 1,032,900. See I. Paramonova (ed.), Chislennost’ i razmeshchenie naseleniia respubliki Mordoviia po itogam perepisei naseleniia. Statisticheskii sbornik no. 923 (Saransk, 2012), 5.

193Novyi mir, 12 (December 1945), back cover; Novyi mir, 12 (December 1946), back cover.

194Novyi mir, 2 (February 1948), back cover.

195   One could subscribe to Novyi mir either for three, six, or twelve months. For the terms and prices of subscription, see, e.g., Novyi mir,12 (December 1951), 320.

196   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1822, l. 176ob; Novyi mir, 11 (November 1953), 288; 12 (December 1958), 288; 12 (November 1964), 288; 8 (August 1969), 286 (subscription advertisement for 1970); Apparat TsK KPSS i kul’tura, 1953-1957, 440.

197   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1822, ll. 176ob-177.

198Narodnoe khoziaistvo SSSR v 1965 g.: Statisticheskii ezhegodnik (Moscow, 1966), 567; Alec Nove, An Economic History of the USSR (London, 1969), 309. The State Bank of the USSR exchange rate was 5.3 U.S. dollars to one ruble from 1937 until 1 March 1950, and 4 U.S. dollars to one ruble from 1 March 1950. Thus, officially 7,668 rubles in 1950 converted to anywhere between 1,447 and 1,917 contemporary U.S. dollars. See M. Poliakov, “Spravka ‘O kurse rublia v otnoshenii inostrannykh valiut, 25 aprelia 1956 goda,’” in Po stranitsam arkhivnykh fondov Tsentral’nogo banka Rossiiskoi Federatsii, issue 15, Iz neopublikovannogo: Voprosy denezhnogo obrashcheniia (1919-1982 gody) (vedomstvennye materialy), ed. Yu. I. Kashin (Moscow, 2014): 83-84.

199   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1410, l. 42.

200   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 687, l. 13; Nove, An Economic History of the USSR, 345; salary data for 1955.

201Narodnoe khoziaistvo SSSR v 1970 g.: Statisticheskii ezhegodnik (Moscow, 1971), 519. Wages for 1970 are in post-1961 rubles revalued at one-tenth of their previous worth. The State Bank of the USSR exchange rate in 1969 (effective since 1 January 1961) was 0.9 rubles for 1 U.S. dollar. Thus, officially 1,402.8 rubles converted to 1,558.6 contemporary U.S. dollars. See Po stranitsam arkhivnykh fondov Tsentral’nogo banka Rossiiskoi Federatsii, issue 9, Balansy Gosudarstvennogo banka SSSR (1922-1990 gg.), ed. Iu. I. Kashin (Moscow, 2010), 88.

202   Collective farmers began receiving salaries in 1966. The average yearly wage of a state farm worker in 1969 was 1,089.6 rubles. Ibid.

203   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1822, l. 176ob.

204   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1423, l. 13. On Rabotnitsa, see Natalia Tolstikova, “Reading Rabotnitsa: Ideals, Aspirations, and Consumption Choices for Soviet Women, 1914-1964,” Ph.D. diss., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001; idem, “Reading Rabotnitsa: Fifty Years of Creating Gender Identity in a Socialist Economy,” in M. Catterall, P. Maclaran, L. Stevens (eds.), Marketing and Feminism: Current Issues and Research (London, New York, 2000), 160-182; idem, “Rabotnitsa: The Paradoxical Success of a Soviet Women’s Magazine,” Journalism History, 30,3 (2004), 131-140.

205   See Table 3 for sources; Chislennost’ i razmeshchenie naseleniia respubliki Mordoviia, 5. In 1970, the population of Mordovia was, again, 1,032,900.

206   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1410, ll. 42-49, esp. 46-48 (“Spravka o sostoianii rasprostraneniia periodicheskoi pechati v Moskovskoi oblasti (po itogam proverki c 14 po 19.11.1966 g.).”)

207   Table 2. The population of the Moscow region (oblast’) was 5,863,003 in 1959; by January 1970 it had decreased to 5,774,529. Vsesoiuznaia perepis’ naseleniia 1959 g. Chislennost’ nalichnogo naseleniia gorodov i drugikh poselenii, raionov, raionnykh tsentrov i krupnykh sel’skikh naselennykh mest na 15 ianvaria 1959 goda po respublikam, kraiam i oblastiam RSFSR, http://www.demoscope.ru/weekly/ssp/rus59_reg1.php (accessed May 21, 2018); Vsesoiuznaia perepis’ naseleniia 1970 g. Chislennost’ nalichnogo naseleniia gorodov, poselkov gorodskogo tipa, raionov i raionnykh tsentrov SSSR po dannym perepisi na 15 ianvaria 1970 goda po respublikam, kraiam i oblastiam, http://www.demoscope.ru/weekly/ssp/rus70_reg1.php (accessed May 21, 2018).

208   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1410, l. 47.

209   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1410, ll. 66-68.

210   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1410, ll. 47, 68.

211   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 687, l. 12 (“Stenogramma sobraniia obshchestvennogo aktiva g. Moskvy ot 26 sentiabria 1956 g. po rasprostraneniiu pechati”). Another number available for Moscow, as of 1 January 1956, is 518 copies of periodicals per 1000 population. RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 834, l. 123.

212   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1423, l. 2.

213   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1423, l. 2.

214   Th. C. Wolfe, Governing Soviet Journalism: The Press and the Socialist Person after Stalin (Bloomington, 1985), 41; Th. Remington, The Truth of Authority: Ideology and Communication in the Soviet Union (Pittsburgh, 1988), 100.

215   Stephen Lovell makes similar observations with regard to book publishing and distribution during the 1950s and 1960s. On excessive supply of books unwanted by readers, and on a general lack of coordination between supply and demand as features of the late Soviet book publishing industry, see Lovell, The Russian Reading Revolution, 56-71, esp. 58-63, 66.

216   On the centrality of libraries in Soviet reading culture from early on, see E. Dobrenko, Formovka sovetskogo chitatelia: Sotsial’nye i esteticheskie predposylki retseptsii sovetskoi literatury (St. Petersburg, 1997).

217   RGALI, f. 634, op. 4, d. 708, l. 13; V. Pomerantsev, “Ob iskrennosti v literature,” Novyi mir, 12 (1953), 218-245.

218   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 9, d. 8, ll. 6-6ob.

219   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 6, d. 89, l. 127 (March 23, 1954).

220   Ibid. For similar reactions, see RGALI, f. 1702, op. 6, d. 72, ll. 49-56 (Valentina Klimova, engineer and chief technical designer, Leningrad, 27 January 1954).

221   The percentage is based on the number of letters from identified locations (91 letters). Overall, Novyi mir’s archive contains, on my count, 104 letters to Pomerantsev from more than 135 letter writers. RGALI, f. 1702, op. 6, d. 72, ll. 1-148ob; ibid., d. 80, ll. 1-2; ibid., d. 85, ll. 86-88ob; ibid., d. 88, ll. 1-144; ibid., d. 89, ll. 1-154ob; ibid., d. 90, ll. 78-84; ibid., d. 91, ll. 1-133; ibid., d. 92, ll. 1-152; ibid., d. 93, ll. 1-88. Literaturnaia gazeta’s archive contains a further 20 letters. See RGALI, f. 634, op. 4, d. 747, ll. 1-97.

222   For the story of Pomerantsev’s article and its reception, see Kozlov, The Readers of Novyi mir, 44-87.

223   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 6, d. 242, l. 111.

224   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 6, d. 240, l. 37 (Novosibirsk), 85 (Tashkent); ibid., d. 241, l. 67 (Lviv oblast’), 117 (Kostroma); ibid., d. 243, l. 25 (Yalta); ibid., d. 245, l. 57 (Leningrad); RGALI, f. 1702, op. 8, d. 127, l. 222 (Velikie Luki); ibid., d. 134, l. 14 (Minsk); ibid., d. 136, l. 18 (Kazan’); ibid., d. 268, l. 15 (Odessa).

225   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 8, d. 133, l. 132 (Baku).

226   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 6, d. 240, l. 15; ibid., d. 241, l. 16.

227   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 6, d. 242, ll. 22-23; ibid., d. 243, l. 121 (Magnitogorsk).

228   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 6, d. 241, l. 16 (Gomel’), l. 76 (Molotov region); ibid., d. 242, l. 128 (Kiev); RGALI, f. 1702, op. 8, d. 131, l. 4 (Leningrad).

229   On Dudintsev, see K. E. Smith, Moscow 1956: The Silenced Spring (Cambridge, MA, 2017), 256-279; Kozlov, The Readers of Novyi mir, 88-109.

230   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 10, d. 76, ll. 39, 40-40ob, 41ob (20 January 1963).

231   RGALI, f. 1702, op. 9, d. 326, ll. 37-38ob (August 13-14, 1969); M. E. Zakharov, “Otkrytoe pis’mo Glavnomu redaktoru zhurnala Novyi mir Tvardovskomu A. T.,” Sotsialisticheskaia industriia, July 31, 1969.

232   RGAE, f. 3527, op. 27, d. 1708, ll. 18-18ob, 20ob, 33-35ob (subscription figures for the newspaper). On Sotsialisticheskaia industriia and its oversight by the Central Committee, see RGASPI, f. 638, op. 1, d. 20, l. 4.

233   Kozlov, “The Readers of Novyi mir, 1948-1969: A Social Portrait,” 23-27, esp. tables 9 and 10.

234   A. Solzhenitsyn, “Odin den’ Ivana Denisovicha,” Novyi mir, 11 (1962), 8-74; ibid., Roman-gazeta (Moscow: Goslitizdat, 1963); ibid. (Moscow: Sovetskii pisatel’, 1963); ibid. (Vilnius: Goslitizdat, 1963); ibid. (Tallinn: Gazetno-zhurnal’noe izdatel’stvo, 1963); ibid. (Moscow: Uchpedgiz, 1963);T. Goriaeva (ed.), Istoriia sovetskoi politicheskoi tsenzury: Dokumenty i kommentarii (Moscow, 1997), 587-88 (Glavlit order to remove all copies and editions of One Day from libraries and bookstores, February 14, 1974).

Auteur

Denis Kozlov is an associate professor of Russian history at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. His research focuses on the crossroads between intellectual and social history of the Soviet Union during its late decades. Among his publications is a monograph, The Readers of Novyi mir: Coming to Terms with the Stalinist Past (Harvard University Press, 2013), and a volume of articles, The Thaw: Soviet Society and Culture during the 1950s and 1960s (University of Toronto Press, 2013, co-edited with Eleonory Gilburd). He currently researches the cultural history of migrations from the USSR to the West during the 1970s and 1980s.

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