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Jan 26, 2021
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Journal virus for residents of Russia

One of the touches of the Soviet past is the mailboxes that hung on the doors of every apartment.

They were covered with logos of newspapers and magazines. This was done for the postmen, who knew that, for example, the residents of apartment no. 12 subscribe to Trud, Vechernaya Moskva and Zdorovye. And in the 24th they receive Izvestia, Krestyanka, Seeker and … Rabbit breeding.

Periodicals in the USSR were held in high esteem. In the morning, queues lined up at the kiosks. There was such an anecdote: “Every day the same person picks up Pravda, looks at the first page and leaves. Several years have passed. In the end, the kioskier breaks down and asks the customer about the reason for his strange manipulations. He calmly replies: “I’m looking for an obituary.” “But obituaries are placed on the latter,” says the salesperson. And he hears in response: “The one that I am waiting for will be on the first.”

Joy with a load

Newspapers and magazines were read everywhere: at home, at work, in transport, in parks and squares. By the way, until recently metro passengers rustled with paper. Nowadays, such people are rare. People “sit” in iPhones, smartphones – there is fresh, hot information: news, entertainment, films, music, sports broadcasts. In a word, in a small rectangle – all life …

Before, everything was like in a song: “About everything that happened on the planet, / You read in the morning newspaper, / And all the news from any continent / We, reporters, send to the newspaper …”

Some publications were imposed on people – for example, communists had to read Pravda, Komsomol members – Komsomolskaya Pravda, pioneers – Pionerskaya Pravda. By the way, truthful newspapers were published in many cities: in the capital – Moskovskaya Pravda, in the city on the Neva – “Leningradskaya”. There were also “Minskaya Pravda”, “Kievskaya”, “Kazakhstanskaya” …

But there were also scarce editions. They came to the kiosks in a few copies and went to their “friends”. And it was difficult to sign up for them. But it is still possible – with a load. If you want to read “Foreign Literature”, take “Communist” into the bargain. If you wish to enjoy the “Soviet Screen”, pay also for the “Agitator”. Etc. I remember once I made fun of a friend – I signed him for a whole year for the newspaper of the Mongolian communists “Unen”. In Mongolian, of course, language …

Among the most widely read were literary monthly – “New World”, “Moscow”, “Youth”, publications for women – “Rabotnitsa” and “Peasant”. The magazines “Around the World”, “Science and Life”, “Technics – for Youth”, “Knowledge is Power” were of interest to both people of a technical warehouse and the humanities.

On the wreckage of glory

Unfortunately, the other day one of the monsters – “Knowledge is Power” ordered to live long. The last issue of the magazine was published, the motto of which was the statement of the English philosopher Francis Bacon: “Knowledge itself is power” – “Knowledge itself is power”. The editors of the publication, which existed since 1926, said goodbye to their readers and handed out an extensive library.

The magazine published works by Alexander Belyaev, the Strugatsky brothers, Kir Bulychov, Stanislav Lem, Robert Sheckley and other famous writers and scientists. The edition was read out to the holes, passed from hand to hand …

During its existence, “Knowledge-Power” stopped its releases only during the Great Patriotic War. Then there was a revival, a flourishing. Then came the decline. And now death has come – already in peacetime. The reason for the death of the publication is banal: lack of money – for rent, utility bills, layout, printing, salaries

Why didn’t the Ministry of Culture of the country, the Press Committee lend a helping hand to such a respected and authoritative publication? They could, probably, have obtained some privileges for the magazine – for the same lease, help with advertisers. After all, “Knowledge is Power” has always followed the course set since the 20s of the last century, was a bridge between science and society, talked about interesting, cognitive things, sowed reasonable, kind, eternal. Doesn’t anyone need this anymore?

It turns out so. In addition, now, as already mentioned, the paper editions are going through a severe crisis. Will they survive – that is the question. Circulations not only fell, but collapsed, old readers leave, new ones do not come. And again, money, be it wrong, is sorely lacking. But the main enemy of paper media is fast, nimble electronic competitors. Will the “old people” withstand their stormy onslaught?

Extinguished “Spark”

In December last year, another veteran magazine, Ogonyok, ceased to exist. It began to appear in autocratic times – 121 years ago! Its first issue came out on December 21 (new style), 1899.

The magazine went through different times – bad, good, was bright, became dry. During the years of perestroika, with the arrival of Vitaly Korotich to the post of editor-in-chief, Ogonyok flared up dazzlingly, eclipsed its competitors. To buy the next issue, it was necessary to jump up on Saturday neither light nor dawn. And still there was no guarantee that you would grab a novelty stuffed with modern and historical sensations. I remember running around the kiosks like an antelope, but sometimes I would return home empty-handed …

Recently, Ogonyok has been under the wing of the Kommersant Publishing House. Glorious times are long gone, troubled ones have come. Rumors about the closure began to swirl at the beginning of last winter, but they were denied. But the worst, alas, still happened. The reason for the fading of “Ogonyok” is the same banal and sad – money. More precisely, their lack

Recently, a significant part of the magazine’s circulation has been distributed by agreement with Aeroflot. But the number of passengers at airports for obvious reasons has decreased, and sales have fallen sharply. It turns out that not only people, but also print media get sick and die from the coronavirus. A kind of destructive journal virus is raging …

Legends don’t die

The journal “Technics for Youth” is an intelligent, authoritative, published since 1933. It published articles on the achievements and discoveries of domestic and foreign scientists, innovative ideas of engineers, literary works. At the end of the 70s, the circulation of the magazine reached a huge figure – 1,750,000 copies!

On the website of the edition there is a significant phrase: “Despite its venerable age,“ TM ”was and remains one of the leading popular scientific monthly publications in Russia – a living legend. And legends don’t die! ” Let’s knock on wood …

The author has a memorable incident with “Technology-Youth”. In the distant pioneer times, our class collected waste paper, and we, the students, went home. In one of the apartments, a gray-haired old man brought me a dusty bundle tied with twine. It was a file of “Technicians-youth” for a couple of pre-war years! I confess – I did not drag this wealth to school, but took it home. How interesting it was to read these shabby magazines! How much useful I have learned from them! Only my mother grumbled: “Again you brought some old stuff into the house …”

The year before last, the well-known writer and journalist, State Duma deputy Sergei Shargunov became the editor-in-chief of the literary magazine “Youth”. The position of the respected publication, published since 1955, was difficult, the employees were not paid. The new chief was going to revive the magazine, make it original, different from others. “This is a sign of fate,” said Shargunov. – I wrote a biography of Valentin Kataev and the editorial board of the magazine he created, invited me to head it. I hope Kataev will help me further. Although I hope not to make a mistake myself. “

Has Yunost come to life? Unknown. In any case, no information about the Renaissance of this publication has been reported. However, it takes time to get the publication back on its feet. Shargunov is a man, undoubtedly, capable and active, but these are painfully difficult times. And he has a lot to do. In addition to activities in parliament, work in “Youth”, Sergei Aleksandrovich is employed in another publication – “Free Press”. And there he is the chief editor …

A good mark for life

For many years the magazine “Science and Life” was among the very popular publications – for example, in 1980, its circulation reached three million. It was read by our distant ancestors – the first issue was published in 1890!

Since 1934 the journal has been published continuously, its publication did not stop either during the Great Patriotic War or during periods of economic crises. Science and Life is still being published now.

In 1953, Rada Khrushcheva, the daughter of the first secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, came to the magazine. While studying at the Faculty of Journalism of Moscow State University, she married her classmate Alexei Adzhubei. Thanks to this relationship, he made a fast-paced career. First he became editor-in-chief of Komsomolskaya Pravda, then moved to the same post in Izvestia. Then the saying was born: “Do not have a hundred rubles, but get married like Adjubei”

Rada Nikitichna, who became the deputy editor-in-chief, has worked for Science and Life all her life. The magazine owes its rise to her – she was intelligent, erudite, who knew how to find contact with people. This woman has worked in this publication for over half a century!

The magazine “Vokrug Sveta” keeps afloat of the stormy publishing sea. This is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, publication in Russia – the first issue was published in 1861 – even before the abolition of serfdom! Its founder was the renowned publisher and educator Mauritius Wolf.

After the revolution, the publication of the magazine ceased, but ten years later there was a renaissance. Since then, the magazine has regularly come to readers. For many, the magazine “Around the World” has become a companion for life.

In conclusion, I will kindly remember the other publications that were in favor with the readers. These are Crocodile, Soviet Screen, Rural Youth, Science and Religion, Chemistry and Life. In a gloomy fog – the fate of the journal “Physical Culture and Sport”. Alas, periodicals die like people. But we are grateful to them that they were there and left a good mark for life …

Valery Bert



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