Soviet Textbooks Online.

This treasure trove actually includes some prerevolutionary material, such as Родная речь (1913) and Азбука-сеятель (1915), but most of it is from the postwar Soviet period; it begins with elementary-school material and moves on to higher grades. It will be a source of nostalgia for some of my readers (as it is for “krogatchevskaia,” from whose COSEELIS post I got the link) and a window on an alien past for others (like me).


  1. I note with some interest that “Азбука в картинках” is by Елизавета Бём.
    Is the eponymous protagonist of Даниил Хармс’s “Елизавета Бам” a reference to a mysterious pedagogical authoress?

  2. Thank you for this, Languagehat. It is, indeed, a treasure trove, these are fascinating!

  3. J. W. Brewer says

    I never took Russian but the Cold War was still in full swing when I was in college and my classmates who did take it seemed to use an introductory textbook with spectacularly Soviet example sentences, so they could learn to say, e.g. “The hooligans are wearing bluejeans.” I guess this made a certain amount of practical sense if you assume that the most obvious post-college job at the time that would make use of Russian fluency would be translating Soviet-jargon documents for your superiors in the State Dep’t/CIA/NSA/etc.

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