The Russian Provincial Newspaper and Its Public, 1788–1864

Susan Smith-Peter


This work examines the rise of the provincial newspaper from its origins in Tambov under the poet and governor Gavrila Derzhavin to its widespread dissemination under Nicholas I. The newspapers included an offi cial section, which was fi lled with official announcements and orders, as well as an unoffi cial section dealing with the province. The state’s aim was to increase the fl ow of offi cial information to and from the provinces. They did not expect to stimulate local society and encourage the growth of regional identity, but these were among the unintended effects of the newspapers. In particular, the unofficial section became a forum for provincial readers and writers to study their corner of the empire in all its historical, ethnographic, statistical, and archaeological facets. This helped to lay the foundation for an active civil society during the reign of Nicholas I.

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