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For other uses, see Iskra (disambiguation).
"Из искры возгорится пламя"
("From a spark a fire will flare up")
The first issue of Iskra
Owner(s) Savva Morozov
Staff writers
Founded 1900
Political alignment Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
Language Russian
Ceased publication 1905
Circulation 8,000

Iskra (Russian: И́скра, IPA: [ˈiskrə], Spark) was a political newspaper of Russian socialist emigrants established as the official organ of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP).


Due to political repression under Tsar Nicholas II, it was necessary to publish Iskra in exile and smuggle it into Russia.[1] Initially, it was managed by Vladimir Lenin, moving as he moved. The first edition was published in Leipzig,[2] Germany, on December 1, 1900. Other editions were published in Munich (1900–1902) and Geneva from 1903. When Lenin was in London (1902–1903) the newspaper was edited from a small office at 37a Clerkenwell Green, EC1,[3] with Henry Quelch arranging the necessary printworks.[4]

Iskra quickly became the most successful underground Russian newspaper in 50 years.[5]

In 1903, following the split of the RSDLP, Lenin left the staff (after his initial proposal to reduce the editorial board to three - himself, Julius Martov and Georgi Plekhanov - was vehemently opposed),[6] the newspaper fell under the control of the Mensheviks and was published by Plekhanov until 1905. The average circulation was 8,000.

Political Viewpoint[edit]

Iskra's motto was "Из искры возгорится пламя" ("From a spark a fire will flare up") — a line from the reply Alexander Odoevsky wrote to the poem by Alexander Pushkin addressed to the anti-tsar Decembrists imprisoned in Siberia. The editorial line championed the battle for political freedom as well as the cause of socialist revolution.[1] The paper also ran a number of notable polemics against "economists", who argued against political struggle in favour of pure trade-union activity for the worker's economic interests, as well as the Socialist Revolutionaries, who advocated terror tactics.[7]

As outlined by Lenin in What Is To Be Done?, Iskra took the place of a central project to cohere the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party nationally.[1]


Initial staff members:


Some of the staff were later involved in the Bolshevik revolution of October 1917.

Printing: Blumenfeld.

One of the people who financed the paper was Savva Morozov

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Lih, Lars (2005). Lenin Rediscovered: What is to be Done? in Context. Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 978-90-04-13120-0. 
  2. ^ Rappaport, H., Lenin In Exile (New York : 2012), p. 61
  3. ^ Glancey, Jonathan. G2: Architecture, The Guardian, 21 June 2004
  4. ^ John Saville, "Quelch, Henry [Harry] (1858–1913)", rev. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.
  5. ^ Rice, Christopher (1990). Lenin: Portrait of a Professional Revolutionary. London: Cassell. ISBN 978-0-304-31814-8. 
  6. ^ The Prophet Armed Isaac Deutscher (1957)
  7. ^ Miliukov, Paul (1962). Russia and its Crisis. Collier-Macmillan Ltd. p. 353-4. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Allan K. Wildman, "Lenin's Battle with Kustarnichestvo: The Iskra Organization in Russia," Slavic Review, vol. 23, no. 3 (Sept. 1964), pp. 479-503. In JSTOR.