The Defeat of the Turks on the Erzurum Front


This print showing a battle scene with cavalry and infantry is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “Our infantry units and the glorious Caucasian Cossacks defeated the Turkish army with a lightning-like attack in the direction of Erzurum. All of the Turkish regiments from the 28th and 29th Divisions lost almost half of their men. Two battalions were completely destroyed. The 102nd Regiment and the 23rd and 24th Cavalry Regiments also had heavy losses. The regiments of the 34th Turkish division had very heavy losses as well. The head of the 34th Division was killed near Moslogot. The head of the 33rd Division escaped, and was replaced by another officer.” 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