Kolokol (newspaper)

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Kolokol (Russian: Колокол, lit. "bell") was the first Russian censorship-free weekly newspaper in Russian and French languages, published by Alexander Herzen and Nikolai Ogaryov in London (1857–1865) and Geneva (1865–1867). Circulation – up to 2500 copies. Initially, the publishers viewed Kolokol as a supplement ("прибавочные листы") to a literary and socio-political almanac Polyarnaya Zvezda (Polar Star), but soon it would become the leader of the Russian censorship-free press. Newspapers Pod sud (To Trial; 1859–1862) and Obshcheye veche (General Veche; 1862–1864) were published as supplements to the Kolokol.

Kolokol’s political platform included several democratic demands, such as liberation of peasants with land, abolition of censorship and corporal punishment. At its base was a theory of Russian peasant socialism, elaborated by Alexander Herzen. Besides the articles by Herzen and Ogaryov, the Kolokol published a variety of material on living conditions of people, social struggle in Russia, information about abuses and secret plans of the authorities. Nikolai Dobrolyubov, Nikolai Serno-Solovyovich, Mikhail Mikhailov, Nikolai Utin, Lev Mechnikov, Mikhail Elpidin and others were among the correspondents and distributors of the Kolokol. Writers and liberal figures such as Ivan Aksakov, Yuri Samarin, Alexander Koshelyov, Ivan Turgenev and others delivered material for the Kolokol.

After the Emancipation reform of 1861, the Kolokol took the side of revolutionary democracy and found itself in opposition to liberalism. The newspaper began publishing texts of proclamations, articles by Herzen and Ogaryov, which condemned and exposed the reform, and other material of the Russian revolutionary underground. Kolokol favored the formation of a clandestine revolutionary organization Land and Liberty. After the 1861 reform, Kolokol severed its relations with the liberals due to Herzen and Ogaryov’s active support of the January Uprising in Poland. In order to strengthen its ties with the new emigrants concentrated in Switzerland, Kolokol moved its office to Geneva. The publication of the Kolokol was ceased in 1867 due to certain unfavorable conditions. In 1867-1869, they published Kolokol: A Supplement to the First Decade (Колокол. Прибавочный лист к первому десятилетию), six issues of Kolokol. Russian Edition (Колокол. Русское прибавление) and Supplement du Kolokol in French. In 1870, Ogaryov together with Sergey Nechayev published six more issues of the Kolokol, which differed significantly from Herzen’s Kolokol.

This article includes content derived from the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 1969–1978, which is partially in the public domain.


  • Н.Я.Эйдельман "Герценовский "Колокол", Историческая библиотека школьника, Государственное учебно-педагогическое издательство, 1963