War with Turkey


This print showing Russians holding bayonets and swords, engaged in close combat with Turkish troops, is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “Our troops invaded Turkey, overturned the advancing units of the Turkish troops, and captured Zivin, Karakulissа Passinskaya, Akhty, Dydah, Korun, Mysun, and Arzap. The Turks retreated, suffering losses and leaving the dead behind. After forcing the enemy out of the village, one of our flanks began a sudden attack. The Turks fled, leaving the wounded. In Ardost Eid we captured a lot of food supplies. We also captured Alikilissa, Khorasan, and Kara-Derbent. One of our Cossack sotnias [units numbering 100 people] bravely attacked the trenches on horses and defeated the Turkish infantry in a sword fight.” This picture, like many others in the collection, was printed in the Moscow printing house of Ivan Sytin (1851–1934). By the 1880s, Sytin was the most popular and successful publisher of lubok pictures in Russia. He also published cheap popular books for workers and peasants, textbooks, and literature for children. The quality of this print is much better than many images from other printing houses—more colors and shades are neatly matched and more small details are available for the viewer. 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. During World War I, lubok informed Russians about events on the frontlines, bolstered morale, and served as propaganda against enemy combatants.

Last updated: July 23, 2015