Ms Lija I. L'vova, Director of the Gosudarstvennaia Obshchestvenno-Politicheskaia Biblioteka (GOPB, Socio-Political State Library) in Moscow, presented the IISH with a very rare first edition of Edward King's An Essay on the English Constitution and Government (London 1767). Even more remarkably, the book contains the pre-WW II stamp of the Institute. It is, in fact, one of an unknown number of books and serials that were stolen by the Rosenberg Agency during the war and subsequently fell into the hands of the Soviet army.
The GOPB started its life as the library of the Marx-Engels Institute founded by David Riazanov in 1921, and shared the fate of this institution as it was gradually transformed into the Institute of Marxism-Leninism. In 1992 the GOPB became an independent federal library under the aegis of the Russian Ministry of Culture. It holds one of the most valuable collections in the world in the field of international social and labour history.
As is well known, it is unusual for Russian cultural institutions to restitute materials that have been acquired as a result of the Great Patriotic War, as WW II is known in Russia. The GOPB's gesture is all the more appreciated.