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New Soviet and Baltic Independent Serials
at the Library of Congress: a Holdings List

Cover of New Soviet and Baltic Independent Serials at the Library of Congress

Compiled by Eric A. Johnson and Michael E. Neubert,
with the assistance of Bohdan Yasinsky.
Edited and with an introduction by Harold M. Leich.
Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1991.

Below are links to a digitized version of a bibliography the European Division compiled in May 1991 to describe its large collection of uncataloged independent Soviet and Baltic serials. While additional titles have been added to this collection since that time, this bibliography has not been updated, although a complete listing of the Russian-language titles may be found in the bibliography Soviet Independent Press 1985-1992: a Guide to Holdings at the Library of Congress.

New Soviet and Baltic Independent Serials at the Library of Congress:
a Holdings List

Introduction (May 1991)

The rise of the "new press" in the Soviet Union dates from 1985 and the introduction of the policies of glasnost' and perestroika. As of mid-1991, it is likely that close to two thousand independent newspapers and journals were being published in the U.S.S.R. The exact figure is not known since bibliographic control over this new category of publication is non-existent.

Precisely because it is a category new to the Soviet publishing scene, definitions and terminology relating to the "new press" are still in a state of flux. In Russian, the phrases nezavisimye izdaniia and neformal'nye izdaniia are the most frequently used, but the older term samizdat can also refer to the new publications which, in contrast to the older samizdat works, are published, rather than manuscript, items. In English, the phrase "independent" publications is commonly accepted, although the terms "unofficial," "informal," or samizdat are also found. The new Soviet press law of August, 1990, has of course made the terms "independent" and "unofficial" technically inaccurate, since many titles of long-standing, e.g. Literaturnaia gazeta, are now independent of their original founding organizations.

The Library of Congress began to collect Soviet and Baltic independent publications on a large scale in late 1989, when the Library negotiated agreements with exchange partner libraries in the Baltic republics to provide a large portion of the independent press output from those republics, in both Russian and in the Baltic languages. In 1990 the Library of Congress established its Moscow Acquisitions Project that currently includes office space and acquisitions staff in downtown Moscow for the express purpose of acquiring Soviet independent serial publications (as comprehensively as possible) and current ephemera (on a selective basis).

As of mid-1991 the Library of Congress' collection of Soviet independent serials (newspapers and journals) had grown to an estimated 7,500 issues, representing more than 1,300 separate titles. In addition to the intake from the Moscow Acquisitions Project and from exchange partners in the Baltic republics, a number of issues have been donated by readers and Library staff after returning from visits to the Soviet Union. This holdings list is our first attempt to inform our colleagues, with brief bibliographic and holdings data, of this collection of current Soviet materials. This collection is now available for use in the Library's European Reading Room. While many runs of newspapers and journals are incomplete, the Library is aggressively trying to acquire not only current issues but back runs as well. Because of the great interest nationwide in these publications by librarians and scholars, and because of the lack of adequate information at the most basic level about most of these items, we have decided to issue this list, which reflects the holdings of the Library of Congress as of May, 1991. We hope to issue an updated edition of this list at the end of 1991 that will reflect receipts through the end of the year.

The present list contains detailed holdings information for 1,346 serial titles. These titles represent publications from 189 different cities and towns issued by 1,262 distinct issuing bodies and publishers. The breakdown by republic of publication is as follows (Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Armenia are not yet represented by any titles in LC holdings):

Russian Republic: 528 titles
Ukraine: 266
Lithuania: 243
Estonia: 132
Latvia: 110
Byelorussia: 42
Georgia: 15
Kazakhstan: 4
Azerbaijan: 2
Uzbekistan: 2
Kirghizistan: 1
Moldavia: 1

Thirteen languages are represented in the LC holdings list, broken down as follows:

Russian: 713 titles
Ukrainian: 214
Lithuanian: 211
Estonian: 103
Latvian: 54
Byelorussian: 20
English: 12
Georgian: 9
Polish: 6
Azerbaijani: 1
French: 1
German: 1
Uzbek: 1

In addition, the Library has received a number of titles in Armenian and Yiddish which for technical reasons do not appear on this list. They will be added to the updated version planned for late 1991.

Entries for titles in Ukrainian, and for those published in the Ukrainian Republic, have in most cases been extracted from Bohdan Yasinsky's union list of Ukrainian independent serials, Independent Press in Ukraine. The Yasinsky list includes detailed information not included in the entries presented here, such as editors' names, addresses, etc. We are particularly grateful to Mr. Yasinsky for allowing us to include the relevant entries in our present list.

The first part of this holdings list is an alphabetical listing of titles. Cyrillic-language titles have been transliterated using standard Library of Congress romanization tables. Diacritic marks have not been included. The titles are cited using an adaptation of standard ISBD format:

Title proper : other title information / Statement[s] of responsibility. City of publication, Republic of publication.

If appropriate, notes are provided linking titles to other bibliographic entities (for example, in cases of parallel language editions, title changes, or the presence of supplements). Cross references have been provided where needed to guide the user to the principal entry for a title. The abbreviation "NOL" indicates a cross reference to a title not included in this edition of the holdings list.

Holdings information, reflecting the Library of Congress' exact issue holdings as of mid- 1991, is given following the bibliographic citations, in the format

HOLDINGS = Year : issue number[s]

The holdings data also includes in some cases information about unnumbered issues, sample or trial issues, and supplementary issues.

We have included four indexes to assist users of the list: language of publication; republic (SSR) of publication; city of publication; and issuing body. It should be stressed that the entries in this holdings list are not to be considered official Library of Congress cataloging. Authority work on the issuing body index, for example, has been limited to using the most frequently-found form of corporate body names, based only on the issues at hand. Full authority work, in the traditional understanding of the phrase, will have to await both receipt of future issues of a number of these titles, and stabilization in the names used in their own publications by the new Soviet independent organizations.

The Library of Congress welcomes use of its collection of Soviet and Baltic independent serial publications. Readers may have items paged for their use Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., in the European Reading Room, located in the Thomas Jefferson Building. For further information, please call (202) 707-4515.

The holdings list was created from a database being maintained on ProCite 1.4 and edited in Wordperfect 5.0.

The editor and compilers would like to thank a number of people for their assistance and support in compiling this list: division chiefs David H. Kraus (European Division) and Judy C. McDermott (Exchange & Gift Division) for unflagging moral and managerial support of the project; Edite Abolins and Vejune Svotelis (Shared Cataloging Division) and Selve Maas (Subject Cataloging Division) for linguistic expertise and proofreading assistance for Latvian, Lithuanian, and Estonian entries, respectively; Stephen C. Cranton for automation support; our colleagues on the Moscow Acquisitions Project Team (Michael W. Albin, Head); and Librarian of Congress James H. Billington for his strong support for the Library's programs to collect Soviet independent publications.

Please direct any inquiries or comments about this holdings list to Harold M. Leich, European Division, Library of Congress, Washington DC 20540; telephone (202) 707-2224; FAX (202) 707-8482.

Attached to this introduction is a short bibliography of articles about the new, independent Soviet press and of existing holdings lists from other major collections.

Harold M. Leich
European Division

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