Search this Title
About this Title
After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Chicago saw a string of anti-Bolshevik daily newspapers beginning with Svobodnai︠a︡ Rossii︠a︡ (Free Russia) [LCCN: sn 82014268], followed by Russkiĭ Vestnik (Russian Daily Herald) [LCCN: sn 82014400], which eventually became the Rassviet (Dawn) [LCCN: sn 82015743]. Svobodnai︠a︡ Rossii︠a︡ was founded in 1918 by the Russian Independent Mutual Aid Society (RIMAS), an insurance group for "physically and morally acceptable" immigrants that also aimed to educate and spread Russian culture. The organization was made up of Russians who had been part of the White movement, an alliance of various political groups who opposed Vladimir Lenin's faction of Marxists, the Bolsheviks (also known as the Reds), during the Russian Revolution. After the Reds overthrew the Tsar, sparking the Russian Civil War, hundreds of thousands fled: monarchists, extreme nationalists, former nobility, government officials. Many Whites settled in Chicago, creating a "colony" where they hoped to keep Russian culture and traditions alive until the Bolsheviks were overthrown, and they could go back home to their old lives. Newspaper publishing was one way to achieve that goal and had the additional benefits of keeping the colony updated on the situation in Russia, promoting anti-Bolshevik views, and advertising for RIMAS. However, these papers were not moneymakers: Svobodnai︠a︡ Rossii︠a︡ was printed only in 1918 and from 1922-23, before it was sold to the Lithuanian lawyer Kazys Gugis who relaunched it as Russkiĭ Vestnik from 1924-1926. In 1926, Gugis sold the failing paper back to RIMAS, who merged it with the New York daily Rassviet [LCCN: sn 86071738] to form the Russkiĭ Vestnik I Rassvet [LCCN: sn 82015744]. The name lasted only a few months before it was shortened back to Rassviet.
The Russian Civil War ended in 1926 with a decisive victory for the Reds, marking the end of the Russian Empire. After their defeat many Whites decided to settle in their adopted countries. One of these people was Eugene Moravsky, born Eugene Dolinin, a journalist hired to edit the new Chicago Rassviet. Originally a reporter in Russia, he was imprisoned and exiled by the Soviet government, and fled to America in 1924. After lecturing around the country for two years, he connected with Rassviet, rising to become editor-in-chief by 1929. Over the next nine years he stabilized the paper's base and finances in 1935 it distributed nearly 20,000 copies over six months. Editorially Moravsky continued Rassviet's founding anti-Bolshevism; its connection with the Russian community; and relationship with RIMAS, which maintained a news page and advertising in the paper. However, Moravsky was plagued by recurring illness, and occasionally had to step away from editorship. In December 1937 his illness took a turn for the worse, and Moravsky sold his share in Rassviet and went to recuperate at his in-laws' house in Ohio. Unfortunately, it did not help, and he died in March 1938 at the age of 41. The paper floundered without its editor-in-chief: the last known issue of Rassviet is dated September 26, 1938.