The Victor Serge Public Library in Moscow has been operating for more than three years. Named after the well-known socialist writer and fighter against totalitarianism, the library aims to acquaint the public with the great wealth of radical and alternative ideas that were forbidden in Soviet times and are hardly heard in present-day Russia, including the many strands of democratic and libertarian socialism which opposed Stalinism.
The library opened in May 1997, when we were able to find a public space in high-rent Moscow to house a container-load of radical books donated by sympathizers in the US. Today the library’s unique collection has grown to 3,000 books, pamphlets and journals in Russian and other languages. It is the only place in Russia where readers can find many works written from critical perspectives on literature, social science, Marxism, anarchism, syndicalism, Trotskyism, feminism, trade unionism and the history of workers’ movement in various countries.
The library is thus a treasure house for Russian students, academics, activists and young readers who are trying to develop a critical view of the world and thinking about how to change it. The library is also used as a sort of club where discussions, lectures, seminars and gatherings of various left-wing organizations take place.
In 1999 the library’s supporters formed the Praxis Research and Study Center to undertake publications, research and the organization of conferences on political and social themes. The Center’s first publication – our Russian translation (the first ever) of Memoirs of A Revolutionary, by Victor Serge – is due out later this year. Other projects, including a translation of Serge’s novel Conquered City, and a collection of previously unpublished documents from the communist opposition of the 1920s, will follow.
The steady growth both of our collection and of our readership mean that we badly need to move to new premises. We need to establish an internet site, refine our computerized catalog, and ensure the regular receipt of periodicals. We need to grow, and that requires funds.
Since we opened the library, we have made many friends around the world – radicals and progressives in academia, left-wing activists and others. Your collaboration and support mean a great deal to us. Now we propose to set up the Friends of the Victor Serge Library as an international organization to unite all those who have become, or are happy to become, our friends. The future of this library, unique in Russia, depends to a large extent on the solidarity of those who understand the importance of establishing genuine socialist traditions in our country – which has played in the past, and will play in the future, such a vital part in the development of international movements of social liberation.
This appeal is supported by:
Please return this letter to us, indicating what support you are able to give:
Correspondence to the library should marked for “BOX 385” and sent by fax to (+7) 095 292 6511.
The postal address is: Russia, Moscow 113639, Balaklavskii prospekt 4-6-365, Obshchestvennaya biblioteka imeni Viktora Serzha.
The library is ten minutes by foot from Chertanovskaya metro station (about 20 minutes from the centre of Moscow). We are open every Saturday from 12.00 to 17.00, and every Tuesday from 18.00 to 21.00. It is advisable to let us know in advance if you are coming a long way!
You may post letters and cheques to: Friends of Victor Serge Library, PO Box 32417, London SE18 2WY, United Kingdom. Cheques may be in sterling, euros or dollars.
Sterling and euro cheques may be credited directly to our account: Friends of Victor Serge Library, a/c number 20096078, Unity Trust Bank, 9 Brindley Place, 4 Oozells Square, Birmingham B1 2HB, United Kingdom. Sort code 086001. Dollar cheques may be sent to our UK post office box; we expect to have a dollar account soon and will let you know the details on request.
Send correspondence for the Friends of the Victor Serge Library to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax to (+44) 20 8333 2152. Please note these should NOT be used for correspondence to the library itself.
Last updated on 14.4.2001