Solidarity with the Ukrainian People
The BnF stands with Ukraine and is helping Ukrainian cultural institutions and their staff through cooperation and heritage preservation initiatives.
Discover here the dedicated cultural programme, as well as the selection of resources available, online and in the reading rooms, related to Ukraine and the current conflict, and more broadly on the theme of war with a selection of works for young people.
Ukraine: Affirmation and Recognition of a Nation
From 22 May to 14 December 2023
What do we know of the history of Ukraine, from its birth to the recognition of its independence? How can its culture, its literary, artistic and intellectual figures be presented? How can we understand the aspirations of the Ukrainian people today? This series of meetings invites specialists to shed light on the present in the context of Ukraine’s past, from the affirmation of its existence by the people to the international recognition of the Ukrainian nation and its sovereignty.
The conferences will take place at Inalco and at the BnF (Richelieu site and François-Mitterrand site).
- BORDERS OF UKRAINE, 22 MAY 2023, 6-8PM, INALCO
- THE “Executed RENAISSANCE” IN UKRAINE (1920S-1930S): FIGURES OF A SACRIFICED INTELLIGENTSIA, 16 JUNE 2023, 2-6PM, BnF (site François-Mitterrand)
- “SLOVO HOUSE”, BY TARAS TOMENKO, 16 JUNE 2023, 18H-20H, BnF (site François-Mitterrand)
- HOLODOMOR: HISTORY AND MEMORY OF THE GREAT FAMINE OF 1932-1933 IN UKRAINE, 30 NOVEMBER 2023, 6.30-8PM, BnF (site François-Mitterrand)
- “MARUSYA”, A NOVEL BY MARCO VOVCHOK: ITINERARIES OF A PHENOMENON IN UKRAINIAN LITERATURE AND ITS AUTHOR, 5 DECEMBER 2023, 6.30-8PM, BnF (site Richelieu)
- Maïdan: emancipations and mobilisations in Ukrainian society (2013-2023), 14 DECEMBER 2023, 7-8PM, INALCO
Scientific coordination: Iryna Dmytrychyn, lecturer, head of Ukrainian studies at Inalco.
This series of conferences is organised by the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (Inalco), the BnF and the Bibliothèque universitaire des langues et civilisations (Bulac).
The “Executed Renaissance” in Ukraine (1920s-1930s): Figures of a Sacrificed Intelligentsia
Friday 16 June 2023 – 2 p.m.- 6 p.m. – François-Mitterrand
As part of a series of meetings devoted to the Ukrainian nation, initiated by the BnF, BULAC and Inalco, a half-day study session looks back at the great figures of Ukrainian literature in the 1920s, who were repressed by the Bolsheviks.
In the aftermath of the 1917 Revolution, a new generation of writers and poets in Ukraine, driven by the hope of national emancipation, launched a ‘Renaissance’ of Ukrainian literature. The 1920s saw an unprecedented increase in the number of works published in Ukraine, as well as the emergence of several literary groups, the most famous of which was Vaplitè, the Free Academy of Proletarian Literature. The Bolshevik repression that followed in the 1930s saw these writers disappear from the Ukrainian cultural scene, either because of their assassination, or as a result of their literary death due to (self-)censorship or exile.
Holodomor: History and Memory of the Great Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine
Thursday 30 November 2023 – 6.30 p.m. - 8 p.m. – François-Mitterrand
This conference looks back at one of the least-known major events in twentieth-century European history: the great famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine. Completely ignored for over half a century in the USSR, this episode has been referred to as the Holodomor since Ukraine gained its independence in 1991. While historians and legal experts are still debating whether it should be qualified as genocide, Nicolas Werth - a historian specialising in the history of the Soviet Union, director of research at the Institut d’histoire du temps présent (CNRS) and president of the Mémorial-France association - will take a closer look at this famine, which was not preceded by any meteorological cataclysm.
“Marusya”, a novel by Marco Vovchok: Itineraries of a Phenomenon in Ukrainian Literature and its Author
Tuesday 4 December 2023 – 6.30 p.m. - 8 p.m. – Richelieu
This conference looks at the short story Marusya by Russian-Ukrainian writer Marco Vovchok, published in 1871. Condemning the Russian occupation of Ukraine, this story, which has become a classic of children’s literature, is also the tale of literary appropriation.
How did this story about a 17th-century Ukrainian girl become emblematic in France during the Third Republic? What can we learn from the adoption of this work in France, which has outstripped its success in its country of origin? These are the questions that will be addressed by Iryna Dmytrychyn, lecturer and head of Ukrainian studies at Inalco.
The International Shockwave of the War in Ukraine
Thursday 2 February 2023 – 4 p.m.- 6 p.m. – François-Mitterrand
In some respects, the Russian war in Ukraine has significantly altered the international balance of power in Eurasia, in Europe and in the transatlantic area. On a global scale, it has also shown divergences in the assessment of the crisis and in the reaction and adaptation to its effects.
One year after the beginning of the conflict, what are the future prospects for Ukraine, for Russia and for the European Union in a considerably reshaped regional context? What will be the medium and long-term international political, economic and strategic consequences of the conflict?
Live on Facebook: « La BnF dans mon salon » (“The BnF in your living room”)
Friday 8 April 2022 – 6 p.m.
On the BnF’s Facebook page, Isabelle le Masne de Chermont, director of the Department of Manuscripts, talks about Princess Anne of Kyiv, who became Queen of France through her marriage to King Henry I, grandson of Hugues Capet.
See the conference (in French)
Concert in support of Ukraine: Fedir Yakymenko
Friday 15 April 2022 – 6.30 p.m. – François-Mitterrand
The BnF has put on a solidarity concert in support of Ukraine, performed by the musicians of the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra. All proceeds from this event went towards sending material to our Ukrainian colleagues for the conservation and safeguarding of heritage.
The concert showcased the work of the Ukrainian composer Fedir Yakymenko (1876 1945) who spent part of his life in France, and whose manuscripts are kept at the BnF. This exceptional concert is an addition to the programme of the European music season held under the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, with the support of the Ministry of Culture.
Watch the concert
Special Round Table – Analysis and Consequences of the War in Ukraine
Wednesday 20 April 2022 – 6 p.m.- 8 p.m. – François-Mitterrand
On 24 February 2022, Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine, expecting a quick victory. Two months after the beginning of a prolonged conflict that has invalidated many of the assumptions that underpinned the Kremlin’s dramatic decision, researchers at the Foundation for Strategic Research offer insights into this war and its regional and international strategic implications.
Support for the programme of the Ukrainian Cultural Forum in Rouen
Like many cultural institutions, the BnF is joining the initiative of the Réunion des Musées métropolitains Rouen Normandie (Meeting of the Metropolitan Museums of Rouen Normandy – RMM) and the Institut national d’histoire de l’art (National Institute of Art History – INHA), to open a cultural forum to bring to life the threatened Ukrainian culture and heritage.
Conference “Ukraine in the collections of the Bibliothèque nationale de France”
Wednesday 29 June 2022 – 2.30 p.m – Rouen, Musée des Beaux-arts
To conclude the season, the Ukrainian Cultural Forum is inviting Isabelle le Masne de Chermont, director of the Manuscript Department, and Mathias Auclair, director of the Music Department, to speak about “Ukraine in the collections of the Bibliothèque nationale de France” through two major figures from different periods: Anne of Kyiv and Fedir Yakymenko. Anne, daughter of the prince of Kyiv, Yaroslav the Wise, became queen of France through her marriage, in 1051, to Henry I. The BnF holds the only known official document bearing her signature, which attests to the part she played in the exercise of royal power. Fedir Yakymenko, born in Kharkov in 1876, is one of the most important Ukrainian composers. A teacher of Igor Stravinsky in St. Petersburg, Yakymenko fled the Soviet regime, settling first in Prague, where he was active in the central Ukrainian emigration organisation, then in Nice and finally in Paris. A large part of his autograph manuscripts joined the collections of the BnF following his death in 1945.
Free to access in our reading rooms
French as a Foreign Language and Ukrainian-French learning methods
In order to provide assistance to Ukraine, Skilleos, an online course company and supplier of the BnF for French as a Foreign Language (FLE), is offering access to two learning methods, free of charge and open to all. You can learn the Ukrainian language if you are a French speaker or learn French if you are Ukrainian. To do so, you just need to create an account and follow the different lessons offered through 13 chapters that will allow you to communicate more easily in everyday life.
In electronic resources
The BnF subscribes to electronic resources that are available free of charge to its users in its reading rooms. Some of these resources can also be accessed remotely by holders of a Research or Reading/Culture Pass.
- PressReader The latest issues of a large number of newspapers worldwide and in several languages (The Guardian, El Pais, Japan news, Libération, etc.).
- Arrêt sur Image Critical analysis of the presentation of the same information by different media, offering different types of content (articles, columns, press kits, media decoding programmes, etc.).
- Medici.TV Concert and dance performance site, providing access to a list of concerts held in Ukraine or in support of Ukraine.
- Gale One File NewsOffers articles from the American and world press (magazines, academic journals, books, images and videos).
A series of posts is dedicated to Ukraine on the Gallica blog:
In the online exhibitions
The Crimean War (1853-1856) gave rise to the first photographic war reportage and the first international coverage of an event.
The story of Ivan Mazeppa, a Ukrainian nobleman who firstly was a page in the court of a Polish king in the 17th century, became a legend relayed by Voltaire and revisited by the Romantics, including Lord Byron (1819) and Victor Hugo.
How to talk to children about war?
With war once again knocking on Europe’s door, the French National Centre for Children’s and Young People’s Literature has compiled a list of books to help parents and children talk about present and past conflicts.
This selection enables a first comprehensive approach to the issue. Evoking conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries, albums, novels, documentaries, comics and poetry deal with the issue of refugees, the daily life of children, but also the hope, life, solidarity and transmission that ultimately lead to peace.
Lire dans l’urgence, l’urgence de lire (Reading in situations of urgency, the urgency of reading)
Books to overcome fear, to protect oneself from the fury of the world, and to maintain hope for a better future.
This issue of “La Revue des livres pour enfants” (The Children’s Book Review) (no. 276 – April 2014) looks at the forms that representations of war – imaginary or on real historic conflicts – can take in fiction, albums, comics and novels. Can we really relate and depict everything, whatever the age of the readers we are addressing, even if the editorial forms have been well adapted?
Following the example of the mobilisation of staff which made the May 1968 leaflets collection possible, the Collections team is collecting all ephemeral printed documents such as brochures, leaflets, posters, flyers, etc. relating to the war in Ukraine.
Communiques from voluntary organisations, documents to assist welcoming, flyers from support events, activist leaflets, ministerial recommendations, etc. – any type of document can be included in the collection, regardless of who produced it (public authorities, voluntary or activist organisations, individuals, etc.). This collection will allow the BnF to preserve important and fragile testimonies of the conflict, a material for today’s and tomorrow’s researchers.
To participate, please send us these documents at the following address:
Bibliothèque nationale de France
Service Histoire (équipe Recueils)
Quai François Mauriac
75706 PARIS CEDEX 13, France
Thanks to the contributors, nearly 450 documents have been collected in one year.
- They can be consulted on the François Mitterrand site, in the research library, in reading rooms L and M.
- You can also find the complete references of the collection in the general catalogue.
Support and cooperation initiatives
Providing assistance to Ukrainian libraries and their staff is by definition a collaborative undertaking, which is why the BnF is working alongside national and European partners. While this cooperation is primarily heritage-based, it also includes a solidarity component for our Ukrainian counterparts.
Proposals to Ukrainian conservation institutions
The BnF has proposed to support Ukrainian conservation institutions in the fields of preservation and physical conservation of their heritage, and also to offer a digital shelter for their dematerialised collections.
Welcoming library professionals is also considered.
For further information, please contact: email@example.com.
Shipments of conservation materials
The BnF is participating in the International Council of Museums (ICOM) initiative for the safeguarding of Ukrainian heritage by sending pallets of conservation supplies, conservation boxes and packaging material.
Targeted web archiving
Within the framework of the legal deposit of the web, the BnF is engaged in collecting possibly transient content (websites, blogs, press articles, relays on social networks) both in France and abroad.
In France, various crawling campaigns have been set up and are currently carried out. Among these, one may mention:
- A harvest carried out prior to the beginning of the conflict to document the events that preceded it, including a selection that led to 450 web files (websites, hashtags and Twitter accounts, blogs, press articles, etc.);
- A “harvest of short-lived news” on what was relayed on social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), blogs, press articles or sites with a potentially limited life span.
At the international level, the BnF works alongside its peers and private actors as a founding member of the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC). This consortium aims to promote web archiving through several working groups and through the organization of events. Within this consortium, the BnF is co-piloting with the National Library of the Netherlands a collaborative archive provisionally entitled “War in Ukraine”. Intended to bring together all selections of the various member institutions and organizations, it focuses primarily on national selections, including content that may have been collected as part of the French collection.