The Soviet and East European Independent Press Collection


Since 1989, in response to opportunities presented by Perestroika and changes throughout the Communist block in Eastern Europe, Columbia University Libraries has undertaken a broad and extensive effort to collect newspapers, periodicals, leaflets, posters and other materials documenting the activities of different parties and organizations emerging as the result of the sudden collapse of Communism.

Today, Columbia is one of three major institutions in this country (with the Hoover Institution [Stanford] and the Library of Congress), that have extensive collections of ephemera and samizdat from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Columbia's Soviet and East European Independent Press Collection (almost 800 archival boxes) is located in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library (on the 6th floor of Butler Library). It consists of more than 2000 titles of periodicals and newspapers (many of them complete runs), as well as thousands of leaflets, broadsides and posters. Titles includes: Antisovetskaia Pravda, Armianskii Vestnik, Atmoda, Azadlyg, Baltiiskoe Vremia, Belarusskaia Tribuna, Chernoe Znamia, Demokraticheskaia Gazeta, Demokraticheskaia Rossiia, Edalet, Ekspress-khronika, Evrei i Perestroika, Evreiskaia Gazeta, Golos Kurda, Romania Libera, Carpatische Rundschau, to name just a few.

The collection documents and illustrates the transition to democracy (1988-1991) in this region, and the first free elections throughout the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The extensive collecting effort was halted in 1992 upon the collapse of the Soviet Union. Similar materials received after 1992 are housed in Lehman Library in the Slavic Vertical File.

Periodicals from the Soviet part of the collection (approximately 1800 titles) are catalogued in a separate database, which is available in the Rare Books Reading Room (6th floor Butler Library), and from the Librarian for Russian, Eurasian & East European Studies.  It is advisable to consult the Librarian  before using the collection.  For more help, contact slavic@library.columbia.edu