Alexandr Petrovich Apsit grew up amidst dire poverty and yet he received free instruction under the tutelage of the Saint-Petersburg painter, Lev Dmitriev-Kavkazskii. By 1902, Apsit was noticed by the popular journals, including Rodina [Motherland], Zvezda [Star], and Niva, for which he produced sketches. He also illustrated the publications of writings by A.M. Gorkii, N.S. Leskov, and A.P. Chekhov, as well as those by D. Bedny, I.S. Nikritin, and M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin. Through these commissions he gained a stellar reputation, becoming one of the best-paid illustrators in the city.
Litizdat (Literaturno-izdatel'skii otdel politicheskogo upravleniia RVSR) was established in June 1919 by order of the Department of the Political Directorate (PUR) of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic (RVSR). A formal decree approved its existence in October that year. Due to the hierarchy of Litizdat's formation, its title is often abbreviated as Litizdat PUR RVSR on publications it issued. As the main publishing arm for the Red Army and the Red Navy, Litizdat distributed a total of 7.5 million posters and postcards between 1919 and 1922. After the Russian Civil War, Litizdat PUR was dissolved and its functions were divided into a succession of state publishing entities. In 1921, the key functions of Litizdat were assigned to the Department of Military Literature (Litrevsor) and by 1924, Litrevsor gave-way to the State Military Publishing House (Gosudarstvennoe voennoe izdatel'stvo), Voenizdat-Voengiz.