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The State Socio-Political Library

Gosudarstvennaia Obshchestvenno-Politicheskaia Biblioteka

The Socio-Political State Library (GOPB) is the largest specialized library in the social sciences in Russia. It was founded by decision of the Russian Government in July 1992 on the basis of the library of the former Institute for the Theory and History of Socialism at the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (previously the Institute of Marxism-Leninism at the CC CPSU).

The Library inherited the buildings, collections, catalogues and bibliographic apparatus of the former institution. At present, GOPB has more than 2 million books and serials from the 16th century on, among them more than 200,000 rare items. The collections on the economic, political and cultural history of Europe and America, on the history of philosophy, social ideas and law are of great scientific and cultural value. The GOPB has the most complete collection in Russia on world history and Russian social, political and labour movements.

Particularly rich are the collections of books, serials and pamphlets of the Great French Revolution, the English Revolution, and the Revolution of 1848 in Western Europe. The collections of posters, leaflets and newspapers of the Paris Commune, the documents and periodicals of the First International, and the holdings on the history of socialist ideas are very interesting. There is a valuable collection of foreign 19th century serials as well as a vast collection on social and political movements and parties in Russia before 1917. The social-democratic part of the collection is extremely rich. The Library has a complete collection of the works of K. Marx, F. Engels and V. Lenin in different languages, and of publications on the history of the CPSU, the international labour movement and the Comintern.

The variety of GOPB's collections is reflected in its card catalogues. Recently the Library has started to build an electronic catalogue for new acquisitions. The card catalogues consist of alphabetic catalogues of Russian and foreign books, a subject catalogue, alphabetic catalogues of Russian and foreign serials, and an additional geographic catalogue of serials.

The alphabetic and systematic catalogues of the collections of the former Marx-Engels Institute take a particular place in the Library. These collections have been catalogued according to a special classification created in the 1920s. This classification differs from the main system in use at the Library. It is based on principles of geography (eg the history of Great Britain, Germany, France etc) and discipline (philosophy, political economy, sociology, history of law, history of social ideas, history of international relations and foreign policy). Although this system was no longer maintained after the merger, in 1931, of the Marx-Engels and Lenin Institutes into the single Institute of Marx, Engels and Lenin, it continues to be very useful to researchers.

Elaborate bibliographic files are a part of the information system of the Library. They cover not just the GOPB materials, but identify other books and articles found in bibliographic sources, Russian as well as foreign. Very complete are the card indexes on Marx, Engels and Lenin, including their works and other papers, literature about their life and activity, and their theoretical and scholarly heritage. Similarly, the vast card catalogues on the First International, the Paris Commune, the documents of, and literature on, the history of the CPSU and the Comintern, the communist world movement and the activity of socialist and social-democratic parties are of immense value. After 1986, another card index on "the perestroika in the USSR" was added.

Since the beginning of the 1990s the Library maintains card indexes on the contemporary political and economic situation in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, on Russian society, national and international relations and conflicts, the activity of legislative and executive authorities, and the interrelation of society and religion. Another card index on documents and literature of the new parties, public and political organizations and movements in Russia and the CIS is popular among readers. It covers books published after 1991. Since 1995, the computer catalogue stands side by side with the card index.

The GOPB publishes bibliographies. The Library also participates in joint projects with other libraries in preparation of several bibliographies on the periodicals and memoirs of the Russian emigration.

Gosudarstvennaia Obshchestvenno-Politicheskaia Biblioteka

Director: Irina Borisovna Tsvetkova (tsv@gopb.ru)

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-17:30

Ulitsa Vil'gel'ma Pika, 4
129256 Moskva
Russian Federation
Telephone +7-095-187.99.45; Telephone Reading Room 181.17.05; Fax 187.95.66

Website: http://www.gopb.ru/

Last updated: 21 July 2004. -- Maintained for GOPB by the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam. -- We highly appreciate your comments and suggestions.