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(The Contemporary), a literary and sociopolitical journal published in St. Petersburg from 1836 to 1866. Sovremennik came out four times a year until 1843, when it became a monthly. The journal published poems, prose works, and critical essays, as well as works on history and ethnography.
Sovremennik was founded by A. S. Pushkin, who invited N. V. Gogol, P. A. Viazemskii, V. F. Odoevskii, and other writers to contribute. After Pushkin’s death, the journal declined, and P. A. Pletnev, who published the journal from 1838, turned it over to N. A. Nekrasov and I. I. Panaev in 1847. Nekrasov invited I. S. Turgenev, I. A. Goncharov, A. I. Herzen, and N. P. Ogarev to contribute material. The journal also printed translations of works by C. Dickens, G. Sand, and other Western European writers. In 1847 and 1848 the official editor of Sovremennik was A. V. Nikitenko. The ideological leader was V. G. Belinskii, whose articles determined the official views of the journal. Under Belinskii, the journal featured critiques of contemporary society, gave voice to revolutionary democratic ideas, and supported the struggle for realist art. The magazine had a circulation of 3,100 in 1848.
The work of the editorial staff was impeded by Herzen’s emigration in 1847 and even more so by Belinskii’s death in 1848. Political reaction and censorship, which intensified after 1848, further hindered the work of the journal’s staff. Nevertheless, even during this period (1848–55), Sovremennik continued to support realism in literature and printed works by L. N. Tolstoy, Turgenev, and Nekrasov and scholarly articles by T. N. Granovskii and S. M. Solov’ev.
The period 1854–62, during which time Sovremennik was headed by N. G. Chernyshevskii (from 1853) and N. A. Dobroli-ubov (from 1856), was the most brilliant in the journal’s history. All of Chernyshevskii’s and Dobroliubov’s major works were published. Beginning in late 1858, Sovremennik sharply criticized the liberal and conservative press and became the organ and ideological focus for revolutionary democratic opinion. During this period, Sovremennik was primarily a political journal; for example, in 1861 it published articles on the conditions necessary for the abolition of serfdom taking the point of view of the serfs themselves. It advocated revolutionary means for putting an end to serfdom. From 1859 to 1861, Sovremennik and Kolokol (The Bell) engaged in a polemic on the task of Russian democracy in light of the upsurge in the peasant revolutionary movement.
Sovremennik’s revolutionary orientation led to a political split among its editors, causing the liberal-minded Tolstoy, Turgenev, and D. V. Grigorovich to leave the editorial board. The journal reached a circulation of 7,126 in 1861. In 1859, Dobroliubov founded “Svistok” (The Whistle), a satirical section of Sovremennik. As a result of Dobroliubov’s death (1861), the suspension of publication in June 1862 for eight months, and Chernyshevskii’s arrest (1862), Sovremennik suffered irreparable damage and its ideological policies became less clear and consistent. The polemics that the journal printed against Russkoe slovo (The Russian Word) attested to this decline.
In early 1863, Nekrasov succeeded in resuming the publication of Sovremennik. In addition to Nekrasov, the new editorial board included M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin (to 1864), M. A. Antono-vich, G. Z. Eliseev, and A. N. Pypin. Disagreements among the editors lowered the ideological standards of Sovremennik; nevertheless, during the period of political reaction, it remained the best democratic journal. During 1863–66 it published the novel What Is To Be Done?, which Chernyshevskii had written in the Peter and Paul Fortress, as well as realist works by such writers as Saltykov-Shchedrin, V. A. Sleptsov, F. M. Reshetnikov, and G. I. Uspenskii. The journal was shut down in June 1866. Nekra-sov’s and Saltykov-Shchedrin’s Otechestvennye zapiski (Notes of the Fatherland) carried on the work of Sovremennik.
REFERENCESEvgen’ev-Maksimov, V. “Sovremennik” v 40–50-kh gg. Leningrad, 1934.
Evgen’ev-Maksimov, V. “Sovremennik” pri Chernyshevskom i Dobroliubove. Leningrad, 1936.
Evgen’ev-Maksimov, V., and G. Tizengauzen. Poslednie gody “Sovremennika,” 1863–1866. Leningrad, 1939.
Sikorskii, N. M. Zhurnal “Sovremennik” i krest’ianskaia reforma 1861 g. Moscow, 1957.
Bograd, V. Zhurnal “Sovremennik,” 1847–1866: Ukazatel’ soderzhaniia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1959.
Ryskin, E. I. Zhurnal A. S. Pushkina “Sovremennik,” 1836–1837: Ukazatel’ soderzhaniia. Moscow, 1967.
N. M. SIKORSKII
(The Contemporary), a magazine “of literature, politics, science, history, art, and public affairs,” published in St. Petersburg from 1911 to 1915; published monthly until 1914 and then semimonthly. Sovremennik was a major ideological organ of Menshevik Liquidators, Socialist Revolutionaries, Popular Socialists, and left-wing liberals. Until 1913 the de facto editor was A. V. Amfiteatrov, who was succeeded by N. Sukhanov (N. N. Gimmer). Calling itself “a nonparty socialist organ,” Sovremennik pursued a conciliatory policy and tried to combine Marxism with Narodnichestvo (Populism). V. I. Lenin criticized this policy in his works (see Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 25, pp. 251–54, 321–52). Sovremennik published several works by M. Gorky and A. C. Novikov-Priboi.
(The Contemporary), a publishing house of the State Committee on Publishing, Printing, and the Book Trade of the RSFSR and of the Writers’ Union of the RSFSR.
Founded in Moscow in 1970, the Sovremennik Publishing House publishes works of contemporary writers of the Russian Federation, Russian classics, and books on literary scholarship and criticism. The main series are Biblioteka rossiiskogo romana (Library of the Russian Novel), Novinki “Sovremennika” (Latest Books of “Sovremennik”), Nash den’ (Our Day), Klassicheskaiabiblioteka “Sovremennika” (Classic Library of “Sovremennik”), and Pervaia kniga (First Book). In 1974 the publishing house published 222 book and brochure titles, amounting to 12.179 mil lion copies and 208.276 million printer’s sheets.