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ArcheoBiblioBase: Archives in Russia: B-5Last update of repository: 18 March 2020
Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Voenno-Morskogo Flota (RGAVMF)
Total: 2,911 fonds, 1,218,103 units, 1659–1940 (some documents from 1550–1984)
institutional fonds—2,725 (682,032 units); personal papers—95 fonds (17,492 units); scientific-technical documents—31 fonds (245,507 units); photographs and negatives—23,082 units; fonds from the Soviet period—1,641 (452,767 units); microforms (as original)—103 units
The lists of all fonds and opisi are available on RGAVMF website: https://rgavmf.ru/fond.
RGAVMF houses the complete records of the Russian and the Soviet Navies from the late seventeenth century through 1940. These include fonds of central administrative institutions, commands of fleets and flotillas, naval educational establishments and scientific research institutions, naval ports, shipbuilding and other navy yards, hydrographic and scientific expeditions, and individual ships, as well as personal papers of eminent navigators and naval commanders.
The earliest fonds date to the beginnings of the Russian Navy under Peter the Great, including Peter's headquarters on the Voronezh River (Tsarskii shater) and the Naval Prikaz (Prikaz Voinskogo Morskogo Flota). Fonds remain for the State Admiralty Collegium (1718–1827), its offices and expeditions; the Admiralty and other departments of the Naval Ministry (1802–1917); the Navy Chief of Staff, and the Navy General Staff; other administrations and central naval institutions; documentation about the Russian Fleets in the Baltic, Azov, Black, and Caspian Seas, and in the Arctic and Pacific Oceans. Records remain from naval battles during the Azov and the Prut campaigns of Peter the Great, the Northern War, the Turkish wars of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the Crimean War (1853–1856). Later parts of these fonds, along with records of the Naval Staff of the Supreme Commander in Chief and others, document naval operations in the Russo-Japanese War and World War I, such as those of the Pacific squadron in the defense of Port Arthur, and naval operations in the Baltic, Northern, and Black Seas, and other naval theaters during World War I.
There are fonds of the Shipbuilding Department, the Main Administration of Shipbuilding, Shipbuilding and Registration Committees, Marine Scientific and Technical Committees, which documents on shipbuilding and naval yards in Voronezh, Lodeinoe Pole, Novaia Ladoga, Vyborg, St. Petersburg, Arkhangel'sk, and other ports in Russia and abroad during the prerevolutionary period.
Records of the Hydrographic Department, the Chief Hydrographic Administration, and the Hydrographic Archive include a large volume of records from geographic and hydrographic expeditions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including round-the-world and other distant voyages, and from the exploration and settlement of Alaska and Pacific northern regions, other world oceans, and seas adjacent to Russia.
Among naval educational and training institutions are fonds of the Naval Nautical Military School, the Nicholas (Nikolaevskaia) Naval Academy, and various courses, schools, and training classes for midshipmen and officers.
Records of the revolutionary and Civil War period and foreign intervention (1917–1920) include fonds of the Naval Revolutionary Committee, the Kronshtadt (Kronstadt), Sevastopol (Sebastopol), Revel (Tallinn), and Helsinki Soviets, and records of the Commanding Staff of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Fleet, the Navy General Staff, political administrations and political departments, and central committees of fleets and flotillas (including the Baltic and the Black Sea Fleets).
The postrevolutionary Soviet period is reflected in the fonds of the Naval Forces Administration of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, the People's Commissariat of the Navy of the USSR, and the Chief of Staff of the Workers' and Peasants' Navy. Many of these and other fonds were previously classified, but are now are openly accessible to researchers.
The archive holds personal papers of well-known naval commanders, sea-captains, navigators, and scientists, including V.M. Golovnin, S.K. and A.S. Greig, F.P. Litke, S.O. Makarov, A.S. Menshikov, and Grand Duke Constantine (Konstantin) Nikolaevich. Papers of leaders of early naval expeditions and exploratory voyages include those of F.F. Bellinsgauzen (Faddei Bellingshausen), V.I. Bering, I.F. Kruzenshtern (Adam Johann von Krusenstern), and Iu.F. Lisianskii. Fonds of Soviet naval commanders exist for V.A. Belli, V.E. Egor'ev, and N.B. Pavlovich, among others.
RGAVMF holds a series of rich collections, including ship logs of the Russian and Soviet Fleets (18th c.–1940), naval service records (mid-18th c.–1917), drafts of ships and sailing vessels, photographs and postcards of ships, and construction drafts and plans of seaports (18th c.–1940).
The extensive collection of maps from the Archive of the Central Cartographic Service of the Navy (Arkhiv Tsentral'nogo kartograficheskogo proizvodstva VMF) contains atlases and navigational charts, including some dating as early as the mid-sixteenth century, like the “Atlas of the Whole World” by Venetian cartographer Battista Agnese (1555). There are also extensive hydrographic materials, including charts, from fonds of the Hydrographic Department, Main Hydrographic Administration, and the Hydrographic Archive of the Navy.
N.B. Naval records relating to World War II and postwar operations are housed in the Central Naval Archive (TsVMA) under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense RF in Gatchina (see C–5).