The Great European War. Heroic Guards


This print showing two men firing on approaching soldiers is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “The newspaper Kievlianin published an article based on a story told by Kozin, a member of the Volynskyi zemstvo [local government]. Kozin said that his estate, located near the Austrian border, was guarded by two men: Zontiev, an Ossetian, and Goi-Murza-Biev, a Circassian. When Kozin left his estate, he gave each of these men a Browning firearm. On July 27, the guards spotted two Austrian infantry companies approaching. After letting the enemy move closer to the forest, the guards opened fire. The Austrians did not expect any resistance and became confused. Deciding that Russian troops were in the forest, they retreated. The guards continued to fire and put nine Austrians out of action. They then mounted their horses and galloped to report on the movements of the Austrians to the commandant in Pochaiv. At that time, it became clear that two more Austrian companies were moving closer. The commandant assigned 25 riders to follow the guards, and together they attacked the Austrians from the rear and forced them to retreat quickly. The commandant in Pochaiv proposed to decorate Zontiev and Goi-Murza-Biev for their actions.” 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.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

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


Title in Original Language

Великая европейская война. Стражники-герои

Type of Item

Last updated: July 23, 2015