Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Russian Library for Foreign Literature marks 90th anniversary by Andrusenko Yelena

Russian Library for Foreign Literature marks 90th anniversary
Andrusenko Yelena
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On April 2nd Russia’s Library for Foreign Literature named after its founder Margarita Rudomino celebrates its 90th anniversary. Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has congratulated the library’s staff, noting that the organization is not just a library but a cultural and a language center which “promotes a deeper dialogue between nations”.

To mark the 90th jubilee the library’s publishing house released a book titled “Nearly the Entire 20th Century” authored by Margarita Rudomino`s son Adrian. The book`s title reflects ninety years of Margarita`s life, 50 of which she dedicated to the library. “It was established in the 1920s, when a young Soviet country rejected the values and traditions of the world culture”, says Adrian.

“We have our classical literature, books by Soviet writers, and we do not need foreign literature!”- Soviet leaders thought. Still, there were people among the Communists who understood that the country could not be isolated from the international and, first of all, from the West European culture. And this is what encouraged my mother”. Adrian added that books were like members of the family and always meant a lot to his parents and sister. 

The library started when Margarita Rudomino took 100 German-language books to Moscow from somewhere in the provinces. The history of the library is closely linked to the history of Russia and the entire world. For example, German Marxist theorist and fighter for women’s rights Clara Zetkin provided the library with newspapers and magazines in foreign languages. Vast fiction, non-fiction and philosophical libraries, including those which once belonged to the Russian aristocracy, were also saved by library workers. 

Although the Rudomino Foreign Literature Library is not that old (90 years is not the age for a library), it has very precious volumes in its funds, for example, rare books dating back tot eh 14th -15th centuries. The library is proud for having back a collection of books once moved from Russia abroad. Russian thinker and theologian Nikolai Zyornov specified in his will that he wished his library to be transferred from Oxford to the Rudomino Library in Moscow. 

As of today, the Russian Library for Foreign Literature homes dozens of educational centers, offering visitors to study the cultures of France, US, Japan, Iran, Bulgaria and many others. “The library has about 5 million books in 140 languages, which makes it a valuable source of information”, the library director Yekaterina Genieva says.

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