The Russian-language book collection at the University Library of Strasbourg contains rare and valuable tomes, mostly published in Western Europe during the Soviet era when it was impossible to publish them on Soviet territory: works by writers who emigrated to Europe or the United States after the October Revolution alongside works by Soviet writers banned in their own country. The collection also includes books by foreign writers translated into Russian and passed around in secret, often because their polemical texts could be read as a criticism of the regime, as with George Orwell’s 1984. The exhibition Livres interdits. Livres impossibles. Livres évadés. tells the story of these texts that covertly crossed borders at a time when Europe was cleaved in two by the Iron Curtain.
Riva Evstifeeva, Russian language lecturer at the University of Strasbourg.