VTB has donated to the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library in St. Petersburg a collection of rare Russian books recognized as a cultural value of Russia. The collection was given at the opening ceremony attended by Dmitry Medvedev, President of Russia, and other officials.
VTB Bank purchased the collection from a world's famous auction house and referred to the cultural values by the Federal Service for Monitoring Compliance With Cultural Heritage Protection Law.
"The fact that the collection of these rare books was returned to Moscow is a great luck. The editions are of significant bibliographic value and their donation to the Presidential Library is VTB's important contribution to the national cultural values", said Andrey Kostin, VTB President and Chairman of the Management Board.
The collection comprises over 2000 units, including books, magazines, almanacs, atlases, maps, patents of nobility, manuscripts in Russian and other European languages published in and outside Russia between the16th and the 20th centuries.
The earliest book is Notes about the Moscow Land by Sigizmund Gerberstein, an Austrian diplomat, published in Basel in 1551 in the printing office of Johann Oporin, a famous Renaissance publisher. Notes about the Moscow Land is one of the fullest, most detailed and true-to-life descriptions of Russian statehood of the 16th century. It provided to the West Europeans information on political, economical, social and cultural organization of Russia of that epoch. The edition was especially popular for the illustrations, such as a map of the Moscow Land, used by European map-makers many times, and a portrait of Vasily III by Augustin Hirschvogel, a well-known Viennese artist and engraver.
Among other exhibits of great interest are illustrated Bible translated by Martin Luther (Luneburg, 1672), hand-printed editions ("Pateric", Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra, the mid-17th - century), books of Peter the Great times and a whole number of museum value units (patents of nobility by Yekaterina II, Pavel I and others), and a unique lithographic panorama of Moscow of mid-19th -century, which is more than 6 meters length.
VTB Group is a leading Russian financial group with a strong tradition in Russia and the CIS, and a presence in 18 countries around the world. The Russian Government is VTB's majority shareholder, with a 77.5% holding. The remaining 22.5% of the shares are traded on the RTS and MICEX in Russia, and VTB's global depositary receipts are traded on the London Stock Exchange. VTB offers a wide range of services in corporate, retail and investment banking in Russia, some other CIS states and a number of countries in Western Europe, Asia and Africa. As of 31 December 2008, VTB was the second largest financial group in Russia by assets (USD 126 billion) and by customer accounts (USD 37.5 billion). VTB Group is among the top three national retail banks with a network of 1020 outlets in Russia and the CIS. In 2008, VTB launched its Investment Banking business - VTB Capital, which operates from Moscow, London and Singapore offices.