The Attack on Sarikamish. The War with Turkey


This print showing the Russian advance on the Turks at Sarikamish is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “At dawn on December 17, we bombarded the village of Verkhniy Sarikamish by artillery fire. The Turks fiercely defended the village for three days, after which our scouts set fire to a house on the edge of the village. Two companies of one of our glorious Caucasian regiments rushed into the attack. The Turks suffered a huge loss in dead, including one general. Altogether we captured more than 20 officers and 1,500 in the lower ranks.” 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.

Last updated: June 9, 2015