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FIRST SOVIET HISTORICAL ATLAS / POLITICAL PROPAGANDA: Русский исторический Атлас [Russkiĭ istoricheskiĭ atlas / Russian Historical Atlas]



First Soviet historical atlas, made by one of the leading historians Konstantin Kurjashov and accompanied with an introduction by a pioneering historian of the Russian revolutionary movement Mikhail Pokrovsy, glorifying Russian economy of the past and presenting the newly founded Soviet Union as a historical self sufficient formation.


Oblong folio, 12 pp. XVIII with 58 numbered maps, printed in colour lithography, interleaved errata on green sheet, original card binding with lettering (binding slightly age-toned with minor rubbing and chipping, but overall in a good condition).



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The author Konstantin Vasilievich Kurjashov (1885-1962) was a Russian historian and professor, who authored several important books, mostly emphasizing the heroic past of the peoples of the USSR. After his first post in Irkutsk, he was in the 1920s and 1930s teaching at the Faculty of History of the Leningrad University and at the Leningrad Historical and Linguistic Institute.

The introduction was written by Mikhail Nikolayevich Pokrovsy (1868-1932) an influential early Soviet historian, Marxist and one of the earliest professionally trained historians to join the Russian revolutionary movement.

In the introduction Pokrovsy describes the importance of this atlas, which, according to his words corrects “sin of the non-Marxist and anti-Leninist” atlases of the past.
The 58 maps, charmingly and crudely lithographed in colour and presented on 18 sheets, depict the historically important position of the territory, now occupied by the Soviet Union, Russian tendencies of the past centuries to expand and colonize the neighboring countries and detailed maps of apparently well organized cities, military centers and river transportation. The maps entirety omit the presence of the imperial leaders and foreign allies, which were according to the authors both of no importance to the economy of the Russian past and economy, presenting the territory of the present Soviet Union as a historically self sufficient formation.

A scan of the whole atlas, housed at the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library, is available under this link:

Russian Historical Atlas | Presidential Library (prlib.ru)

We could only trace about three institutional examples on Worldcat (Columbia University Libraries, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Berkeley Library). The others appear to be eBooks.

References: OCLC 9611549.

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