On Monday, January 13, the Russian press marks its 300th anniversary. The first Russian newspaper - Vedomosti (Records) of Military and Other Affairs Worth Mentioning and Remembering that Took Place in the Moscow State and Other Neighbouring Countries - came off the press on January 13th, 1703. At that time the newspaper neither had a permanent place of publishing or a name. It was published now in Moscow, now in Saint Petersburg and under different names - Vedomosti, Moscow Vedomosti, Russian Vedomosti, and so on. On instructions of Peter the Great, the material about the life of Russian society was collected at that time by translator Yakov Sinyavich who thus became the first Russian reporter.
In 1728, the publishing of the newspaper was transferred to the Academy of Sciences. At that time it was renamed into the Saint Petersburg Vedomosti. The circulation of the newspaper differed. Sometimes it reached 4,000 copies. However, with time it started gradually to decrease and finally fell to 30 copies. The price for the Saint Petersburg Vedomosti was rather high, and only privileged persons could afford reading it.
At the present time, the Russian Press Day, instituted in 1992, at the beginning of the epoch of political and democratic reforms, concerns all the sections of Russian society. This holiday has already become a tradition for representatives of the mass media themselves and for the whole population of the country.
This year, the Prize of the Russian President in the sphere of the mass media, instituted in 1997, will be presented, as well as grants (stipends) for supporting the most important projects of young journalists.
In Russia today, newspapers and magazines occupy a leading place in the mass media. Now that the electronic mass media are developing at a high speed and TV sets have long become first necessities for all the Russians, books and fresh newspapers have remained as popular as before, and reading is still the favourite pastime for millions of people.
The majority of people regard the press today not only as a guarantor ensuring the right of the citizens to information and to the freedom of speech, they also believe that the mass media is responsible in many respects for the atmosphere in society and that the aim of mankind's potential also greatly depends on the press. After all, the word can carry the charge of the good and the evil. To choose this word is the professional, moral and civil duty of every journalist.
The newspaper Moscow Vedomosti lived the longest life than other papers - 161 years. It was published in the printing-house of the Moscow University and came off the press twice a week. The first provincial newspaper was the Eastern Vedomosti which was published in Astrakhan from 1813 to 1816.
At the end of the 19th century, for the first time a resolution was published in Russia on holding subscription for periodicals. Since January 1st, 1870, as an experiment, subscription for periodicals, both Russian and foreign, started in post offices. In 1914, Russia already had 3,111 periodicals, and the number of public and political newspapers, apart from gubernatorial official Vedomosti, topped two hundred.
At the present time there are in Russia more than 33,000 registered newspapers and magazines and about 800 internet publications, as well as more that 3,000 television and radio companies.
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