Colourful satire by Odessans in Paris

LINSKII, Mikhail, Mikhail DRIZO (pseud. MAD), Arkadii AVERCHENKO and others

Bich. Bitche


Publication: Paris, Rirachovsky, 1920.

LINSKII, Mikhail, Mikhail DRIZO (pseud. MAD), Arkadii AVERCHENKO and others, Bich. Bitche

Complete set of this scarce satirical periodical of the Russophone community in Paris. With a wealth of caricatural drawings and wide-ranging texts.

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Our Notes & References

Complete set, rare, of this early satirical émigré magazine by prominent caricaturists from Odessa. We could not trace any such complete copy at auction, nor at BnF or Russia. We could locate five complete physical copies in the US (Harvard, NYPL, Miami University, Indiana University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).

One of the earliest Russian émigré satirical magazines, Bich intended to scourge (bichevat) in its texts and caricatures “all the unpleasant phenomena of Russian life and all those who aggravate it, whatever party they may belong to and whatever slogans they may hide behind” (an announcement previewing the magazine’s publication, quoted by Kudriavtsev; our translation here and below). The magazine primarily mocked the hypocrisy and barbarism of Bolshevism and its leaders, the hunger and poverty of the Soviet citizens, as well as the international politics and challenges of immigrant life.

The main artists of the magazine were emigrants from Odessa: “the classic of Odessa caricature” (Barkovskaia), publisher and playwright Mikhail Semenovich Linskii (also de Lin and Michel Linsky, pseud. of Moisei Shlezinger, 1878-1941) and another prominent artist and caricaturist, Mikhail Aleksandrovich Drizo (pseud. MAD, 1887-1953). Both began their careers in Odessa periodicals, but after the October Revolution moved to Paris. Linskii was executed by the nazis in Nantes during the German occupation of France in October 1941. Drizo was arrested in 1942 for his earlier published caricatures of Hitler, Goebbels and other nazi leaders. Miraculously, the military court did not find it possible to convict him for drawings he had made before the surrender of France (despite his Jewish origins). Soon, he and his wife escaped from Paris, and until the end of the war hid in the French provinces under false documents.

The literary part — feuilletons, pamphlets, short stories, riddles, humorous imitations of the Russian classics, political poems and anecdotes — were the responsibility of the playwright and satirist Arkadii Averchenko (1881-1925), who invited other writers to collaborate with the magazine, in particular Vladimir Klopotovskii (pseud. Leri) and Ilia Vasilevskii (pseud. Ne-Bukva) among others.

Besides engaging texts and colourful and dynamic images (sometimes formally inspired by Toulouse-Lautrec) are creative and sassy advertisements: “Russians!!! If you want to be as elegant as the real Parisians, dress at the tailor Starck and Co”, “Watch out! Hygienic rubber products. Dangerous to buy them “anywhere”! It is advisable to go to the only specialised warehouse of the Parisian firm J. Roussel” and “Analysis of soul by handwriting and date of birth for 1 lira in Constantinople and 1.5 liras abroad”.

Even though sharp satire on the new political order in the former Russian Empire was in great demand among readers, Bich did not last long, releasing a total of 11 issues from August to October 1920.

Not to confuse this Paris-based magazine with an eponymous magazine published only in a single issue in St Petersburg in 1906, the weekly in Petrograd from 1916-18, and the Soviet magazine published in 1927-28.


Avenir Alexandrovich Nizoff (a pianist who lived in Edmonton, Canada, in the second half of the 20th century, and gathered a large, wide-ranging library of Russian works, especially covering art, émigré, literature and history).


Barkovskaia O. M., Klassiki odesskoi karikatury // Migdal Times, Odessa, 2003, Avgust-Sentiabr, #38.

Kudriavtsev V. B., Periodicheskie i nepereodicheskie kollektivnye izdaniia russkogo zarubezhia: 1918-1941, Moskva, Russkii put, 2011, p. 73.

Item number



Physical Description

Quarto (27 × 18 cm). 11 issues of 16 pp. each, complete.


Bound in 20th-c. red cloth spine over marbled boards.


Binding a bit rubbed and scuffed, lower spine end with tears, light staining on boards, hinges fragile but holding; first issue minimally rubbed at lower margins, almost loose, a couple of marginal closed tears, occasional light staining, but overall in attractive condition for a magazine.

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