Woman and Russia


First edition of Woman and Russia. Image courtesy of Leningrad Feminism in 1979.


Rejected both by dissidents and the authorities, the Soviet Union’s first feminist journal shone a light on domestic violence, unequal pay, and abuse in maternity hospitals — all while harnessing the same handmade zines beloved by Russian activists today.

In the late summer of 1979, two women in Leningrad sat down at their typewriters. They each typed five copies of a 131-page almanac called Woman and Russia, a new samizdat, or underground publication, that would become the first feminist journal in the Soviet Union. The articles, stories, and poetry inside described the ways women were oppressed by Soviet society on account of their gender.

With a circulation of only 10 copies, the hand-bound booklets were released into Leningrad in September. Readers would get their hands on a copy, devour the contents in one night, and pass it onto someone else.

Emma Friedlander, Calvert Journal