The Great War. Russian Troops Crossing the Carpathian Mountains


This print showing Russian troops crossing the Carpathian Mountains is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “Our gallant troops endure incredible hardships during their crossing of the Carpathian Mountains; it seems that all is against the Russians: cliffs, impenetrable goat paths, the most severe frosts and, besides all this, behind each stone and ledge of a rock the cruel enemy is vigilantly eyeing every step taken by us. But nothing can stop the victorious march of our heroes, Russian eagles. The courage and valor of our men will overcome everything for the sake of the great idea of liberating the Carpathian Slavs from centuries of slavery under the heavy yoke of Austria and unification under the scepter of the Russian tsar. Carpathian Slavs are close to us in religion and origin. They are oppressed by the insolent Swabian [a reference to the Habsburgs, who are said to have originated in the German region of Swabia], whose aim is to crush the already downtrodden Galicia and Carpathian Rus in order to destroy the Slavs' desire to unite with Great Russia. But soon the sacred desire of our brothers will be fulfilled. Already the star of liberation of the great Slavs from the yoke of the suppressors is shining bright.” Lubok is a Russian word for popular prints created from woodcuts, engravings, etchings, or later, by using lithography. The prints were often characterized by simple, colorful graphics depicting a narrative, and could also include text. Lubok gained popularity in Russia beginning in the late 17th century. The prints, which often depicted narratives from a historical event, literature, or a religious tale, were used to make such stories accessible to illiterate people. These expressive prints had a wide range in tone, from humorous to instructive to sharp political and social commentary. The images were clear and easy to understand, and some of the pictures were serialized, predecessors of the modern comic strip. Prints could be reproduced inexpensively, and were thus a way for the masses to display art at home. Initially, this artistic style was not taken seriously by the upper classes, but by the end of the 19th century, lubok was so well-regarded that it inspired professional artists. During World War I, lubok informed Russians about events on the frontlines, bolstered morale, and served as propaganda against enemy combatants.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

A. P. Korkin & A. V. Beideman & Company Printing and Lithographic Firm, Moscow


Title in Original Language

Великая Война. Переход русских войск через Карпаты

Type of Item

Last updated: April 3, 2015