Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attends the opening ceremony of the exhibition, Writers and Intellectuals Between Russia and France: A Journey Through the Archives of the 20th Century


Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault took part in the opening ceremony of an exhibition celebrating the cultural ties between the two countries’ creative intelligentsia, cutting the red ribbon at the famous Melpomene Hall. “The very best of the Russian intelligentsia,” said the Prime Minister after touring the exhibition.

Mr Medvedev was particularly drawn to several exhibits, including the Erica typewriter, which was very popular among Soviet intellectuals, and Napoleon’s hunting rifle, which was donated to France in 1966 by Soviet writer Ilya Ehrenburg through his friend André Malraux.

As they toured the exhibit, Dmitry Medvedev and Jean-Marc Ayrault were accompanied by prominent Russian and French cultural figures.

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The exhibition, Writers and Intellectuals Between Russia and France: A Journey Through the Archives of the 20th Century, is the last in a series of thematic events in 2012 celebrating the national languages and literatures of Russia and France. It will be held at the Paris School of Fine Arts from November 28, 2012 to January 11, 2013.

For the first time in 20 years, more than 300 previously unpublished documents from the Russian and French archives (correspondence, diaries, manuscripts, photographs, personal items, and drawings) will be presented to the French public.

The idea behind the exhibition is to present the history of the unique bonds that existed between French and Russian cultural figures in the 20th century, and to familiarise the French public with the history of the country’s cultural and intellectual life of that period through the lens of the changing attitudes in France towards socialist ideology, Russia, and the Soviet Union. The exhibition features seven thematic sections: “First Signs of the 1917 Revolution”, “France Welcomes Russian Immigrants”, “Journey to the USSR”, “The Soviet Policy of Influence”, "Being a Writer and a Communist”, “Differences” and “Trials: France and the Dissidents."

The exhibition’s catalogue, which was prepared by the Paris School of Fine Arts in collaboration with the French Institute and more than 30 experts in the history of Russian-French relations, includes over 400 copies of archival documents and welcome notes from foreign ministers Sergei Lavrov and Laurent Fabius.

The events that will be held on the sidelines of the exhibition include a conference featuring French and Russian historians and thematic round table discussions and meetings with writers, artists, and actors of the 1960s, including Galina Volchek, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Vladimir Voinovich, Anatoly Gladilin, and others.

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