Russian State Library

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Russian State Library
Российская государственная библиотека
Moscow RussianStateLibrary 0987.jpg
Main building of the library
Established1862(157 years ago) (1862) [1]
Location Moscow, Russia
Size44,800,000 (2012)
Access and use
Population served93,100 (2012)
Other information
Budget Ruble sign.svg 1,740,000,000 (2012)
DirectorAlexander I. Visly (General Director), Vladimir I. Gnezdilov (Executive Director), Viktor V. Fiodorov (President) [1]
Staff1830 (2012)

The Russian State Library (Russian : Российская государственная библиотека) is the national library of Russia, located in Moscow. It is the largest in the country and the fifth largest in the world for its collection of books (17.5 million). [2] It was named the V. I. Lenin State Library of the USSR from 1925 until it was renamed in 1992 as the Russian State Library.

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although nearly three decades have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia.

National library Library specifically established by the government

A national library is a library established by a government as a country's preeminent repository of information. Unlike public libraries, these rarely allow citizens to borrow books. Often, they include numerous rare, valuable, or significant works. A national library is that library which has the duty of collecting and preserving the literature of the nation within and outside the country. Thus, national libraries are those libraries whose community is the nation at large. Examples include the British Library, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris.

Moscow Capital of Russia

Moscow is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 13.2 million residents within the city limits, 17 million within the urban area and 20 million within the metropolitan area. Moscow is one of Russia's federal cities.


The library has over 275 km of shelves with more than 43 million items, [1] including over 17 million books and serial volumes, 13 million journals, 350 thousand music scores and sound records, 150,000 maps and others. There are items in 247 languages of the world, the foreign part representing about 29 percent of the entire collection.

Between 1922 and 1991 at least one copy of every book published in the USSR was deposited with the library, a practice which continues in a similar method today, with the library designated by law as a legal deposit library.

Legal deposit is a legal requirement that a person or group submit copies of their publications to a repository, usually a library. The requirement is mostly limited to books and periodicals. The number of copies varies and can range from one to 19. Typically, the national library is one of the repositories of these copies. In some countries there is also a legal deposit requirement placed on the government, and it is required to send copies of documents to publicly accessible libraries.


The library was founded on July 1, 1862, as Moscow's first free public library named The Library of the Moscow Public Museum and Rumiantsev Museum, or The Rumiantsev Library. It is nicknamed the "Leninka." [3] Rumyantsev Museum part of the complex was Moscow's first public museum, and housed the Art collection of count Nikolai Petrovich Rumyantsev, which had been given to the Russian people and transferred from St. Petersburg to Moscow. Its donation covered above all books and manuscripts as well as an extensive numismatic and an ethnographic collection. These, as well as approximately 200 paintings and more than 20,000 prints, which had been selected from the collection of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, could be seen in the so-called Pashkov House (a palace, established between 1784 and 1787, in the proximity of the Kremlin). Tsar Alexander II of Russia donated the painting The Appearance of Christ before the People by Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov for the opening of the museum.

Nikolay Rumyantsev Prime Minister of Russian Empire

Count Nikolai Petrovich Rumyantsev, born in Saint Petersburg, was Russia's Foreign Minister and Chancellor of the Russian Empire in the run-up to Napoleon's invasion of Russia (1808–12). He was the son of Field Marshal Pyotr Rumyantsev-Zadunaisky from the Rumyantsev comital family.

Rumyantsev Museum museum in Moscow, Russia

The Rumyantsev Museum was Moscow's first public museum. It evolved from the personal art collection and library of Count Nikolay Rumyantsev (1754–1826), the last of his family.

Tsar title given to a male monarch in Russia, Bulgaria and Serbia

Tsar, also spelled csar, or tzar or czar, is a title used to designate East and South Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers of Eastern Europe, originally Bulgarian monarchs from 10th century onwards. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism. The term is derived from the Latin word Caesar, which was intended to mean "Emperor" in the European medieval sense of the term—a ruler with the same rank as a Roman emperor, holding it by the approval of another emperor or a supreme ecclesiastical official —but was usually considered by western Europeans to be equivalent to king, or to be somewhat in between a royal and imperial rank.

19th-century postcard of Pashkov House, old building of the Russian State Library, overlooking the Kremlin Pashkov house.jpg
19th-century postcard of Pashkov House, old building of the Russian State Library, overlooking the Kremlin

The citizens of Moscow, deeply impressed by the count's altruistic donation, named the new museum after its founder and had the inscription "from count Rumyantsev for the good Enlightenment" carved above its entrance. In the subsequent years, the collection of the museum grew by numerous further donations of objects and money, so that the museum soon housed a yet more important collection of Western European paintings, an extensive antique collection and a large collection of icons. Indeed, the collection grew so much that soon the premises of the Pashkov House became insufficient, and a second building was built beside the museum shortly after the turn of the 20th century to house the paintings in particular. After the October Revolution the contents again grew enormously, and again lack of space became an urgent problem. Acute financial problems also arose, for most of the money to finance the Museum flowed into the Pushkin Museum, which had only been finished a few years before and was assuming the Rumyantsev Museum's role. Therefore, it was decided in 1925 to dissolve the Rumyantsev Museum and to spread its collections over other museums and institutions in the country. Part of the collections, in particular the Western European art and antiques, were thus transferred to the Pushkin Museum. Pashkov House (at 3 Mokhovaya Street) was renamed the Old Building of the Russian State Library. The old state archive building on the corner of Mokhovaya and Vozdvizhenka Streets was razed and replaced by the new buildings.

October Revolution Bolshevik uprising during the Russian Revolution of 1917

The October Revolution, officially known in Soviet historiography as the Great October Socialist Revolution and commonly referred to as the October Uprising, the October Coup, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Bolshevik Coup or the Red October, was a revolution in Russia led by the Bolshevik Party of Vladimir Lenin that was instrumental in the larger Russian Revolution of 1917–23. It took place through an armed insurrection in Petrograd on 7 November 1917.

Pushkin Museum museum of European art in Moscow

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts is the largest museum of European art in Moscow, located in Volkhonka street, just opposite the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The International musical festival Sviatoslav Richter's December nights has been held in the Pushkin museum since 1981.

Mokhovaya Street thoroughfare in Moscow, Russia

Mokhovaya Street, is a one-way street in central Moscow, Russia, a part of Moscow's innermost ring road - Central Squares of Moscow. In 1961-1990 it formed part of Karl Marx Avenue. The street runs from the Borovitskaya Square in the south past Vozdvizhenka Street, Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street and Manege Square, ending at Tverskaya Street in the north.

Main building of the library, in front is the monument to Dostoevsky W DSC1230.jpg
Main building of the library, in front is the monument to Dostoevsky

Construction of the first stage, designed by Vladimir Shchuko and Vladimir Gelfreikh in 1927–1929, was authorized in 1929 and commenced in 1930. [4] The first stage was largely complete in 1941. In the process, the building acquired the modernized neoclassicism exterior features of the Palace of Soviets (co-designed by Shchuko and Gelfreikh), departing from the stern modernism of the 1927 drafts. [5] The last component of Shchuko's plan, a 250-seat reading hall, was opened in 1945; further additions continued until 1960. [6] In 1968 the building reached its capacity, and the library launched construction of a new depository in Khimki, earmarked for storing newspapers, scientific works and low-demand books from the main storage areas. The first stage of Khimki library was complete in 1975. [6]

Vladimir Shchuko Russian architect

Vladimir Alekseyevich Shchuko was a Russian architect, member of the Saint Petersburg school of Russian neoclassical revival notable for his giant order apartment buildings "rejecting all trace of the moderne". After the Russian Revolution of 1917 Shchuko gradually embraced modernist ideas, developing his own version of modernized neoclassicism together with his partner Vladimir Gelfreikh. Shchuko and Gelfreikh succeeded through the prewar period of Stalinist architecture with high-profile projects like the Lenin Library, Moscow Metro stations and co-authored the unrealized Palace of Soviets. Shchuko was also a prolific stage designer, author of 43 drama and opera stage sets.

Khimki City in Moscow Oblast, Russia

Khimki is a city in Moscow Oblast, Russia, 30 kilometres northwest of central Moscow.

In 1925 the complex was renamed the V. I. Lenin State Library of the USSR. In 1992, it was renamed the Russian State Library by order of a decree from President Boris Yeltsin. [7]


  1. 1 2 3 "Russian State Library". Official library website. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  3. "Russian State Library" . Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  4. "History of the Russian State Library (in Russian). 1917–1941, p. 4". Archived from the original on 2008-02-09. Retrieved 2008-12-10.
  5. Ikonnikov, A. V. (1984). Architecture of Moscow, 20th Century. [Arkhitektura Moskvy. XX vek] (in Russian). Moskovsky Rabochy. pp. 98–99.
  6. 1 2 "History of the Russian State Library (in Russian). 1945–1992, p. 1". Archived from the original on 2008-02-24. Retrieved 2008-12-10.
  7. Stuart, Mary (April 1994). "Creating a National Library for the Workers' State: The Public Library in Petrograd and the Rumiantsev Library under Bolshevik Rule". The Slavonic and East European Review. 72 (2): 233–258. JSTOR   4211475.

Further reading

Coordinates: 55°45′07″N37°36′35″E / 55.75194°N 37.60972°E / 55.75194; 37.60972

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