An 1871 cover
|Based in||St. Petersburg|
The magazine (named for an earlier publication edited by Nikolay Karamzin) was founded by Mikhail Matveevich Stasyulevich, a former professor of history, who remained the publisher-editor until 1909; its editorial office "was located in Stasyulevich's flat at 20 Galernaya Street and was one of the centres of St. Petersburg's cultural and political life (the journal's major contributors as well as their friends and associates used to get together on Wednesdays)." The first issue appeared in March 1866; for the first two years it was a historical quarterly, but from 1868 it covered history, politics, and literature and came out each month. "The journal always had a serious, objective, professorial character; even in the most heated polemics, for example, it shunned harsh invective and often even avoided naming its adversary." It consistently supported the zemstvos, judicial reforms, and other reforms of the 1860s, publishing frequent articles on foreign countries and on Russian history that served to promote its own views on contemporary society and politics. It "placed its dark red monthly booklet, 'like a little brick, on the slowly and arduously erected structure of social rights and consciousness.'"
During the heated ideological struggles of the 1870s and 1880s, the magazine tried to steer a course between moderate reformism and the kind of revolutionary socialism it consistently opposed; Leonid-Lyudvig Slonimsky, a frequent contributor on economic and political topics, wrote a regular "Foreign Survey" which he used "to sketch the outlines of an ideal relationship between liberals and socialists in Russia’s not-too-distant parliamentary future, which involved one group supplementing its program with demands for social reforms and the other abandoning its calls for revolution." In the 1880s it repudiated state socialism "as a matter of principle, while continuing to build on the arguments in favor of state interference, which it saw as guaranteeing the people’s welfare"; it also "rejected both the absolutization of the right to private ownership of land and the idea that the land should be nationalized."
Following the 1905 Russian Revolution, many of its members joined the Constitutional Democratic Party, which separated the journal more and more from the radical movement, and in the spring of 1918 its publication was suppressed by the Soviet authorities (the last issue was March 1918).
Among its contributors over the years were the scientists Kliment Timiryazev, Ivan Sechenov, and Ilya Mechnikov; the historians Sergey Solovyov, Konstantin Kavelin, and Tadeusz Zielinski; the literary scholars Alexander Veselovsky and Alexander Pypin; and the writers Ivan Turgenev, Ivan Goncharov, Aleksandr Ostrovsky, Grigory Danilevsky, and Vladimir Solovyov, among many others.
- Saint Petersburg Encyclopedia entry.
- Ambler, Russian Journalism and Politics, p. 74.
- Ambler, Russian Journalism and Politics, p. 75.
- Ambler, Russian Journalism and Politics, p. 76.
- Kitaev, "The Unique Liberalism of Vestnik Evropy," p. 50.
- Kitaev, "The Unique Liberalism of Vestnik Evropy," p. 57.
- Kitaev, "The Unique Liberalism of Vestnik Evropy," p. 58.
- Saint Petersburg Encyclopedia entry
- Effie Ambler, Russian Journalism and Politics: The Career of Aleksei S. Suvorin, 1861-1881, Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1972 (ISBN 0814314619).
- V. A. Kitaev, "The Unique Liberalism of Vestnik Evropy (1870-1890)," Russian Studies in History 46 (2007):43-61.