In 1937, the academic journal Izvestiya Akad. Nauk SSSR. Seriya geograficheskaya i geofizicheskaya was set up to publish articles on geographical topics. In 1951, the Division of Geological and Geographical Sciences of the USSR Academy of Sciences decided to divide it into two journals, and Izvestiya Akad. Nauk SSSR. Seriya geograficheskaya became the first academic geographical journal in the country (No. 1 was for March–April 1951). The new director of the Institute of Geography of the USSR Academy of Sciences I.P. Gerasimov, a corresponding member at that time, became head of its editorial board. He managed the journal for 35 years until his death. Since 1986, the editorial board has been headed by Academician V.M. Kotlyakov.

It is important that from the very beginning the journal represented the trend of geographical science formed back in the 1930s by the famous scientists A.A. Grigor'ev, L.S. Berg, N.N. Baranskiy, and others. The last issue of the journal Izvestiya Akad. Nauk SSSR. Seriya geograficheskaya i geofizicheskaya for 1950 announced that the new journal would publish articles on physical and economic geography, cartography, geomorphology, climatology, hydrology, biogeography, and other related sciences. In addition, it noted that the journal would develop as a platform for discussions and publications of theoretical articles. The characteristic feature of the journal is functioning as the press organ of the network of the country's geographical institutions, the mouthpiece of the geographical community. It has been carrying on this mission for almost 65 years.

Already in its first years, the journal found its niche among other geographical periodicals and serials, such as Zemlevedenie (Earth Science), Izvestiya VGO (Proceedings of the All-Union Geographical Society), Voprosy geografii (Problems of Geography), Meteorologiya i Gidrologiya (Russian Meteorology and Hydrology), and Geodeziya i kartografiya (Geodesy and Cartography). At present, the journal Izvestiya RAN. Seriya geograficheskaya (its title since 1991) has reinforced its position by supplementing the network of geographical periodicals, which developed in the first decade of the 21st century and with which the journal's editorial board has established close business and friendly relations.

During the editorship of I.P. Gerasimov, the journal published more than 4800 articles. Its circulation constantly grew and reached 3400 copies by 1960. Despite the emergence of several other geographical periodicals, such as Okeanologiya (Oceanology); Fizika atmosfery (Atmospheric Physics); Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta. Seriya 5. Geografiya; after 1980, Geografiya i priropdnye resursy (Geography and Natural Resources))Izvestiya RAN (Akad. Nauk SSSR). Seriya geograficheskaya has always been the leading edition of both the RAS Division of Earth Sciences and the country's geographical scientific community as a whole.

Many famous Russian geographers, such as Academicians A.A. Grigor'ev and M.I. Budyko; RAS Corresponding Member N.F. Glazovskiy; and Professors E.M. Murzaev, V.S. Preobrazhenskiy, A.N. Krenke, A.A. Lyutyi, M.G. Grosval'd, and D.A. Timofeev, were members of the editorial board. The members of the present-day editorial board are equally famous.

The first secretary of the journal was the famous economic geographer P.M. Alampiev. In 1958, the post of deputy editor-in-chief was introduced; L.G. Kamanin served as the first deputy editor-in-chief from 1958 through 1985. In 1974, L.S. Abramov was appointed executive editor; later he became a long-standing deputy editor-in-chief. V.V. Annenkov was executive editor in the 1980s; A.A. Tishkov took this post from the early 1990s; G.E. Vil'chek, from 2004; and O.B. Glezer succeeded him in 2012. In different years, E.M. Murzaev, V.S. Preobrazhenskiy, Yu.G. Lipets, and others were deputy editors-in-chief; at present, deputy editors-in-chief N.N. Klyuev, V.N. Streletskiy, and A.A. Tishkov supervise different trends in geographical science: geoecology and nature management, socioeconomic geography, and physical geography, respectively.

At the first stage of the journal's existence (before the 1980s), its rubrication system included the following sections: Theoretical Articles, Scientific Papers, Research Methodology, Discussions, Reviews, and Chronicle; occasionally new rubrics would also appear. In 1986, the new editor-in-chief V.M. Kotlyakov emphasized in his keynote article that the journal's profile and structure would remain unchanged but would reflect topical trends in science. Some new rubrics appeared, including From the Editor-in-Chief. The journal quickly responded to all trends in the development of geographical science in the country: increased interest in problems of interaction between nature and society, the development of constructive trends in geography, and, later, studies on global problems of humankind.

At the next stage, already in the journal Izvestiya RAN. Seriya geograficheskaya, the rubrication was set close to the present one: Theory and Social Functions of Geography, Natural Processes and Dynamics of Geosystems, Development of Socioterritorial Systems, Nature Management and Geoecology, Regional Geographical Problems, History of Geographical Science, In CIS Research Centers, and others. The journal dedicated special issues to certain events in the history of the country and geographical science (the 40th and 50th anniversaries of the Great Patriotic War, the 50th and 60th anniversaries of the journal, the 90th anniversary of the RAS Institute of Geography, and so on). The journal repeatedly provided its pages for series of conference reports, including papers by young scientists. In its current form, the journal has 10–11 regular rubrics.

Nineteen geographers are the members of the present-day editorial board, approved by the Bureau of the Earth Sciences Division of the RAS in 2013: V.M. Kotlyakov (Editor-in-Chief), P.Ya. Baklanov, A.A. Velichko,: O.B. Glezer (Executive Secretary), A.P. Gorkin, S.V. Goryachkin, A.V. Drozdov, M.Ch. Zalikhanov, N.S. Kasimov, V.A. Kolosov, N.N. Klyuev (Deputy Editor-in-Chief), N.N. Koronkevich, A.V. Postnikov, Yu.G. Puzachenko, V.A. Snytko, O.N. Solomina, V.N. Streletskiy (Deputy Editor-in-Chief), V.O. Targul’yan, A.A. Tishkov (Deputy Editor-in-Chief).

Materials on the history of the journal can be found in the following publications:

  • Abramov L.S. Fifty years of the Journal "Izvestiya USSR Academy of Sciences–RAN. Seriya geograficheskaya”. Izv. Ross. Akad. Nauk, Ser. Geogr., 2001, no. 6, pp. 96–100. (In Russ.).
  • Abramov L.S. Towards the creation of an independent academic journal (for the 50th anniversary of the journal "Izvestiya USSR Academy of Sciences–RAN. Seriya geograficheskaya"). Izv. Ross. Akad. Nauk, Ser. Geogr., 2001, no. 3, pp. 91–94. (In Russ.).
  • Gerasimov I.P. About the Journal in recent years (abridged text of the report of March 18, 1957 in the Moscow branch of the All-Union Geographical Society). Izv. Akad. Nauk USSR, Ser. Geogr., 1957, no. 4, pp. 86–91. (In Russ.).
  • Kotlyakov V.M. “Izvestiya Akad. Nauk SSSR. Seriya geograficheskaya” at the present stage of its way. Izv. Akad. Nauk USSR, Ser. Geogr., 1986, no. 4, pp. 5–8. (In Russ.).
  • Kulagin G.D. Overview of discussion on the journal. Izv. Akad. Nauk USSR, Ser. Geogr., 1957, no. 4, pp. 92–96. (In Russ.).
  • Orlov B.P. Discussion on the context of the Journal “Izvestiya Akad. Nauk SSSR. Seriya geograficheskaya” in the Moscow branch of the All-Union Geographical Society. Izv. Akad. Nauk USSR, Ser. Geogr., 1953, no. 1, pp. 92–96. (In Russ.).
  • Resolution of the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR "On the scientific activity and the status of staff of the Institute of Geography of the Academy of Sciences of theUSSR". Izv. Akad. Nauk SSSR. Ser. Geogr., Geofiz., 1950, no. 6, pp. 571–573. (In Russ.).
  • Reteyum A.Yu. Waves in Russian geography and their reflection on the pages of an academic journal (for the 50th anniversary of the journal "Izvestiya USSR Academy of Sciences–RAN. Seriya geograficheskaya"). Izv. Ross. Akad. Nauk, Ser. Geogr., 2001, no. 5, pp. 28–38. (In Russ.).

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