The first issue of Zvezda appeared in January 1924, with Ivan Maisky as editor-in-chief. Katerina Clark writes, in a discussion of the new journals founded at this time:
Unlike Moscow, Petrograd was given only one "thick" journal, the Star (Zvezda), which was less important and had a smaller circulation than its Moscow counterparts, which were thus able to lure away the more successful or acceptable Petrograd writers.... [Zvezda] functioned as a medium through which fringe figures on the left (proletarian extremists) and the right (such as Pilnyak, Pasternak, and Mandelshtam) could publish. While this situation afforded Petrograd the role of the more honorable, less compromised city, to some it seemed the town of the has-beens.
Aside from the authors mentioned by Clark, in its early years Zvezda published Maxim Gorky, Nikolay Zabolotsky, Mikhail Zoshchenko, Veniamin Kaverin, Nikolai Klyuev, Boris Lavrenyov, Konstantin Fedin, Vladislav Khodasevich, and Yury Tynyanov, among others. It survived the difficult circumstances of the Siege of Leningrad, and after the war published works by such writers as Vera Panova, Daniil Granin, Vsevolod Kochetov, and Yury German. However, it was severely criticized during the Zhdanovschina cultural attacks of 1946 for publishing Zoshchenko and Anna Akhmatova.
Today it is collectively owned by its editorial staff. Its regular sections are "Russia and the Caucasus," "Philosophical commentary," "Memoirs of the 20th century," "People and fate," and "Prose and verse." Once a year it publishes a special issue dedicated to a prominent author or phenomenon.
- 1924 — Ivan Maisky
- 1925-1926 — Georgy Gorbachev
- 1926-1928 — Petr Petrovsky
- 1929-1937 — Yury Libedinsky
- 1939-1940 — Georgy Kholopov
- 1945-1946 — Vissarion Sayanov
- 1946-1947 — Aleksandr Egolin
- 1947-1957 — Valery Druzin
- 1957-1989 — Georgy Kholopov
- 1989-1991 — Gennady Nikolaev
- 1992- — Yakov Gordin and Andrei Aryev
- 1927 — 5,000
- 1954 — 60,000
- 1975-1983 — about 115,000
- 1989 — 190,000
- 1990 — 344,000
- 1991 — 141,000
- 2005 — 4,300
- 2006 — 3,400
- Katerina Clark, Petersburg: Crucible of Cultural Revolution (Harvard University Press, 1995: ISBN 0-674-66336-5), p. 153.
- Official website (in Russian)
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