Poliarnaia Zvezda

Poliarnaia Zvezda


(Polar Star). (1) A literary miscellany published by A. A. Bestuzhev and K. F. Ryleev in St. Petersburg from 1823 to 1825 in three fascicles. The publishers expressed their Decembrist orientation clearly and strove to attract the best literary talents of the time: contributors included A. S. Pushkin, A. S. Griboedov, I. A. Krylov, V. A. Zhukovskii, E. A. Baratynskii, P. A. Viazemskii, V. K. Kiukhel’beker, and F. N. Glinka. Others contributing to Poliarnaia zvezda were F. V. Bulgarin, O. I. Senkovskii, and N. I. Grech, at the time members of the liberal camp. The miscellany’s viewpoint was defined by Bestuzhev’s yearly critical surveys, which had an important influence on the development of Russian criticism.


Poliarnaia zvezda: Published by A. Bestuzhev and K. Ryleev. [Text prepared by V. A. Arkhipov, V. G. Bazanov, and la. L. Levkovich.] Moscow-Leningrad, 1960.


Kuleshov, V. I. Istoriia russkoi kritiki XVIII-XIX vv. Moscow, 1972.
Bazanov, V. G. Ocherki dekabristskoi literatury. Moscow, 1953.
Smirnov-SokoPskii, N. Russkie literaturnye al’manakhi i sborniki XVIII-XIX vv. Moscow, 1965.


(2) Literary and sociopolitical collections of the Free Russian Printing House published in London by A. I. Herzen and, beginning in 1856, by Herzen and N. P. Ogarev. Between 1855 and 1862 seven books appeared, with the seventh in two fascicles; the eighth book appeared in 1868, in Geneva.

Until 1857, Poliarnaia zvezda was the chief publication of the Free Russian Printing House. The title, the depiction on the cover of the five executed Decembrists, and the content of the collections attested to the continuation of the Decembrists’ traditions. Poliarnaia zvezda was the first to publish memoirs and other materials by N. A. Bestuzhev, M. A. Bestuzhev, M. S. Lunin, I. I. Pushchin, I. D. Iakushkin, and other Decembrists. It also published works by and biographical materials on A. S. Pushkin, V. G. Belinskii, and P. Ia. Chaadaev, as well as poems by M. Iu. Lermontov, articles and poems by Ogarev, and various verses banned in Russia.

Secret correspondents of Poliarnaia zvezda in Russia included the amnestied Decembrists I. D. Iakushkin, M. A. Bestuzhev, M. I. Murav’ev-Apostol, and V. I. Shteingel’, as well as I. S. Turgenev, I. S. Aksakov, and the historians and literary critics E. I. Iakushkin (son of the Decembrist), A. N. Afanas’ev, P. A. Efremov, and M. I. Semevskii. Poliarnaia zvezda played an important role in the development of progressive Russian literature and social thought. It was highly praised by V. I. Lenin (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 21, p. 258).

The Poliarnaia zvezda collections have been reissued in facsimile form in the USSR with commentaries and indexes.


Lenin, V. I. “Pamiati Gertsena.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 21.
Eidel’man, M. Ia. Tainye korrespondenty “Poliarnoi zvezdy.” Moscow, 1966.