In our family archive we have several newspapers that date back to the pre-Revolution times. One of them has just marked its 90th anniversary, and if you flick through the pages of the embedded document you will notice the state of the pages. I must admit it’s amazing how well the newspaper got preserved, given that it survived a fair share of peregrinations.
NOTE: the document is pretty huge, so I decided to allow readers to download it from Scribd: Zarya Newspaper 29 November 1915. Needless to say, if you want to use it or have queries about the content, please reference me and my blog, thanks!
About half of the paper is what you call the belles-lettres. They are short stories about life on the front line or the actions of the civilians. It is noticeable that in 1915 Russia’s attitude to the First World War was pretty much the same as that of the English or French. The participation in the conflict was perceived as something of a solemn duty for a soldier to fulfil. To this end, there were regular despatches from the front, galleries of heroic nurses and men-of-arms. And at the same time the newspaper published romantic stories, poems, as well as satyrical pieces. In the 29th of November edition there was a story about a girl called Lydia who was the object of affection of two men, one was a young student, another was a mature man. Both loved her, although they expressed it differently. And when both went to war, she began to write letters to both of them. Even though she only loved the older man, she considered herself responsible for sustaining the hope and the desire to live in the student. The story would most likely fly in the face of some of today’s ideas about relatioship… or perhaps it would confirm certain things we don’t like admitting.