March 20 in Russian history. 100 year old newpapers.

I have recently found an interesting Russian web-site, called Starosti.ru (roughly translated as Old News). The author, Sergey Sokurenko, works for Echo of Moscow radio. For more than 10 years he's been preparing a short program named "The Old News of Moscow", where he reviews 100 year old newspapers. In 2001 he launched the web-site to publish longer extracts. Below are some articles from the Russian newspapers printed on 20 March, 1908 (7 March Old Style).

I absolutely loved the articles. Some of them look like exact copies of today's articles, like Russia coming up with an alternative plan to reform a Yugoslavian republic. Others are absolutely unbelievable today, like Estonians striving to move to Siberia :). Well, here it is:


Russkoye Slovo (The Russian Word):

On the assassination of A.L.Karavayev

The news of the assassination of the former deputy of Duma, the leader of the trudoviks Karavayev, left a depressing impression among the deputies of Duma. During the tomorrow sitting, a group of deputies will propose to stand up in honour of his memory. The oktyabrists will join the proposal. Most probably, it will be accepted without protests...

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Malady of Leo Tolstoy

We received news from Yasnaya Polyana that Leo Tolstoy is ill. Doctors Nikitin and Berkenheim were called from Moscow. It is said that the malady started on 29 February (13 March New Style) with flu. But Leo Tolstoy still could walk. On 2 March he fainted away. He fell in his room unconscious. He was raised and put on the bed. When he recovered, he suffered from amnesia. Leo Nikolayevich does not recognize many relatives and acquaintances and even forgets the name of his sons. It is said that the doctors have diagnosed the brain anemia. But the acute crisis is over. Doctor Nikitin and duke S.L.Tolstoy, who visited his father, have already returned to Moscow. They said that in the last days the state of the patient got significantly better. The serious threat is ruled out.

Paris, 6 March (19 March New Style)

The topic of the day here is the Russian counter-project on the reforms in Macedonia. According to our information, it is wrong that Britain is ready to renounce her proposals and to accept the Austrian-Russian programme.

Berlin, 6 March (19 March New Style)

Against all expectations, the yesterday rally did not finish peacefully. In the late evening a conflict between the police and 5,000 demonstrators took place. 40 demonstrators and some policemen were wounded.

Vienna, 6 March (19 March New Style)

Neue Freie Presse reports from Thessaloniki that a plot of a Bulgarian committee to assassinate the consuls of two great powers was disclosed in this city. The assassination had to be committed by Greek-speaking Bulgarians, to accuse the Greeks. It was planned to use dynamite for the murder.

Milano, 6 March (19 March New Style)

Ex-princess of Saxony Louise is divorcing her husband, pianist Toselli, and is about to marry a French journalist.

Sarajevo, 6 March (19 March New Style)

Mass arrests followed a curious demonstration. When the operetta The Merry Widow was performed in the local theatre, the public decided that the show was insulting to the kindred people of Montenegro. The protests began. The arrests quickly put down the uprising.

Revel (modern Tallinn) 6 March (19 March New Style)

In the province of Estlandia the migration of the Estonians to Siberia is becoming epidemic since spring. Whole villages migrate. The mass departure of farm-hands already results in the shortage of the work force.

The town truck

Yesterday, near the building of the municipality the city administration demonstrated the first truck purchased abroad to transport firewood to the municipal buildings. The truck is able to transport up to 450 poods (7200 kilograms).


P.G.Zavyalov, a tenant at the Russian Society building in Bogoslovsky sidestreet, claimed that his concubine Sh. compelled him to issue a 100 rubles bill of exchange, threatening to kill him.

Lost things

The City Police Administration of Vladimir is looking for the owner of the things forgotten in the cab on 22 February: leather holster for the Browning revolver, one clip with 7 charges, one battery for an electric flashlight and three gold collar studs.

Russkoye Slovo (The Russian Word):

Science and technology

Student of the Electrotechnical university Freidenberg has finished testing a device for exploding landmines and field charges using the wireless telegraph. The tests were highly successful. The device was built in the inventor's workshop. The device has a simple and very cheap design and able to explode an unlimited number of landmines. The device can also manage the Whitehead torpedoes and type telegrams. Foreign engineers offer a huge sum of money for the invention. Freidenberg is already known as the designer of the first Russian automobile and the inventor of the revertine petroleum engine.

London, 5 March (18 March New Style)

Representatives of foreign countries gave an ultimatum to Haiti demanding to restore order in the country in one day, to stop the massacre and to allow free exit for all people who asked for asylum in foreign embassies. Otherwise, the president will be displaced.

Sevastopol, 5 March (18 March New Style)

Tonight, the police has seized an underground typography of the Socialist-Revolutionaries that had been working for a long time. Many materials, ready publications and weapons were found. Three are arrested.

Tver, 5 March (18 March New Style)

The company of swindlers, working under the name of socialists-communists, once again reminded of themselves. Rich home-owner Chizhov received a letter with the stamp of this party, where the authors demand that he pay them 2,000 rubles. If he doesn't, they threat to kill him.

Novoye Vremya (The New Times):

Attempt to kill a former Duma deputy. 5 March (18 March New Style)

Two young men came into the apartments of doctor Karavayev, former member of Duma, who was receiving patients, made two shots and wounded him.


Kyle & Svet Keeton said...

That is a good link and I can use the information. I have started a blog on the USSR and that is a wonderful site for information.

Thanks for the good link. You always come up with good helpful things. :)

Kyle & Svet

Dmitri Minaev said...

Oh, I see it's not the only new blog you've started! :) Good luck!

I'm afraid, though, that starosti.ru will be totally irrelevant to USSR in the nearest 9 years :)

Сергей said...

Спасибо за внимание и лестную оценку моего труда.:)

Сергей Сокуренко. (Sergey Sokurenko)

Seesaw said...

There is nothing better than to read old newspapers from time to time. Thanks for this post and for the link!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dmitri Minaev said...

Сергей, большое спасибо за эту замечательную работу. К сожалению, я не слышал Вашу передачу на Эхо Москвы, но Старости.ру -- прекрасная идея.

Dmitri Minaev said...

Seesaw, I love the old newspapers, but there's one thing that slightly scares me. I mean, I am beginning to confuse them with the real news. So, when this morning I heard a news in TV about the clashes of the Athens police with the demonstrators, I thought: "Aha, I think I wrote about it. Why?" And then I recalled that I wrote about the clashes in Berlin in 1908 :).

I'm afraid I read too much history...

Dmitri Minaev said...

> I understand that at the end of the Afghanistan War Russian soldiers sabotaged children's toys ensuring death and destruction among the god's most favored people.

The post is too long to read it in full, but I'm afraid, dear Anonymous reader, that in this case you misunderstand. There were no such cases.