Первая русская газета называлась “Куранты” и была рукописной (The first Russian newspaper was called the “Kuranty” and was handwritten). The name “Kuranty” comes from the French word “courant” which means “current”. The newspaper was intended for the communication of information about current events.
However, this information reached a rather limited number of people. Это связано с тем, что “Куранты” издавались в единственном экземпляре, крайне редко – в двух или трёх. (This was due to the fact that the “Kuranty” was published in a single copy, or exceptionally in two or three copies).
The principal audience of the “Kuranty” were the Tsar and his noblemen. Но даже эту аудиторию нельзя назвать читающей, потому что газетные статьи зачитывались вслух царю и его приближённым (But even this audience couldn’t be called readers because the articles of the newspaper were read aloud to the Tsar and his entourage), who didn’t even hold the newspaper in their hands.
После такого общественного прочтения” возвращались в Посольский приказ (After this public reading, the “Kuranty” was returned to the Ambassadorial Department), as was then called the state institution which was occupied in diplomacy and publishing the newspaper. The diplomats who served in the Ambassadorial Department chose the most interesting and important news they could find in foreign newspapers and translated them for the members of the Russian state.
The sources of information for the employees of the political newspaper were coming from German, Swedish and Dutch periodicals. The articles, translated into Russian, were arranged on long, narrow sheets of paper, the “columns”. They were known as “messengers’ letters” or “Chimes”.
The articles were covering a wide range of topics: military operations, foreign embassies, trading affairs, epidemics, comets, etc. Также в “Курантах” записывали сообщения русских служащих за границей (The “Kuranty” was also taking records of Russian officials working abroad).
Самый старый экземпляр “Курантов”, который мы можем наблюдать сейчас, вышел в свет в 1621 году (The oldest copy of the “Kuranty” which can still be seen now, was released in 1621). In 1668, after the founding of the regular Russian Mail, the newspaper had come out with greater frequency, two or four times a month.
But in the end of the 17th century, the “Kuranty” ceased to exist, after a new Tsar, Peter the Great, ascended to the throne of Russia. The new Tsar changed a lot of the well established traditions of the Russian life.
To learn about the first printed newspaper in Russia, read the second part of our article