East View Information Services, starting in February 2020, has been hosting the ArcheoBiblioBase (ABB) Internet directory and bibliographic information system for archives in the Russian Federation. Dedicated to supplying uncommon information from extraordinary places for academic, corporate, legal and government needs, East View’s plans include essential updating and expansion of ABB in consultation with Dr. Patricia Kennedy Grimsted, an Associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University, and an Honorary Fellow of the International Institute of Social History (IISH) in Amsterdam.
Founded by Dr. Grimsted, the extensive ABB directory is based on printed directories prepared under her supervision in collaboration with the Federal Archival Service of Russia (Rosarkhiv) and the State Public Historical Library (GPIB), Moscow, published in Russian and English:
Arkhivy Rossii: Moskva i Sankt-Peterburg: Spravochnik-obozrenie i bibliograficheskii ukazatel'
(Moscow: "Arkheograficheskii tsentr," 1997), and
Archives of Russia: A Directory and Bibliographic Guide to Holdings in Moscow and St. Petersburg, 2 vols.
(Armonk, NY/ London: M.E. Sharpe, 2000).
The ABB website database developed by the International Institute of Social History currently displays data of nearly 430 archives and manuscript repositories of the Russian Federation (with an additional 87 administering agencies) for which coverage has recently been updated.
Moscow and St. Petersburg coverage currently extends to over 250 federal, local state and non-state repositories, including libraries, museums, academic, research, and educational institutions. Presenting data about unpublished sources of all types and periods, from the Archive of the President of the Russian Federation (AP RF) to the Russian Archive of Early Acts (RGADA); from film studios to memorial and factory museums. It provides basic reference to holdings and reference bibliography for those using traditional state and CPSU records, medieval manuscripts, and personal papers. The directory provides a starting place to locate manuscript maps, folk songs, motion pictures, genealogical data, technical documentation, and architectural drawings, to name only a few among the specialized sources covered.
Data for individual institutions and their various divisions includes their history (with all of their previous names and acronyms), and brief characterization of holdings. Notes about access provisions and working conditions in each repository augment researcher-orientation. Data about reference facilities include annotated listings of guides and specialized finding aids (total over 8,000 records), with links to available digitized editions.
Basic listings also extend on about 180 regional state archives throughout the Russian Federation outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg, together with available guides and other reference listings.
This ABB coverage should alert researchers in all disciplines to the wealth of archival holdings of all types and historical periods. As ABB on-line coverage expands to a wider range of repositories, governmental and non-governmental, this directory with accompanying bibliography of reference aids significantly opens “intellectual access” for research opportunities in Russia.
Through 2019, the Internet infrastructure for ABB with its unique CMS database was initially developed and previously maintained by the International Institute of Social History (IISH), in Amsterdam.
East View Information Services cannot be responsible for errors or inadequacies of this coverage, but welcome comments and suggestions. User comments, corrections, and suggestions may be submitted directly to the editors. Corrections will be verified with the archive involved before posting.
For reference inquiries, please check the links below:
Archives Covered in the ABB Database
Repository entries preceded by an asterisk (*) and with a number starting with zero are archival administrative agencies rather than actual working archives.
The ABB is an English-only database. Russian-language coverage of federal, central and regional state archives is currently presented on the official Rosarkhiv Russian-language "Arkhivy Rossii" portal http://www.rusarchives.ru under "Arkhivnaia set’ Rossiiskoi Federatsii." Websites for individual federal and regional state archives are listed with links for that site, under each archive. Researchers are advised to compare the data provided at that Russian site, which also includes recent news about Russian archival developments and publications, and general reference facilities.
Printed DirectoriesMost of the archives listed in Parts B through H are described in the ABB printed directory Archives of Russia: A Directory and Bibliography Guide to Holdings in Moscow and St Petersburg (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2000). The English edition is considerably expanded from the Russian-language edition, Arkhivy Rossii (Moscow, 1997). The printed editions are no longer available in print.
The present internet versions of Parts B through H have been considerably updated from the printed edition through mid-2019, and to the extent possible, with expanded bibliography of reference literature.
Reference BibliographyMany of the archives here described are covered in more detail in their own general archival guides and in many cases their own Internet websites (most only in Russian). Many component holdings are listed or described in more detail in specialized reference publications, many of which are listed in the ABB bibliographies for reference literature under each repository.
Many federal archives have their own online reference system, many of them with online guides and series-level finding aids (opisi), with links provided on their websites and also indicated under "bibliography" in the ABB coverage of each repository.
Many more general publications predating 1999 are listed in the General Bibliography section (Part A) of the published English edition of Archives in Russia (2000). This section is temporarily unavailable on the website by technical reasons.
Databases and Microform Finding AidsGuides to Russian Archives / Putevoditeli po rossiiskim arkhivam
This vital Internet project provides online public access to an extensive database now encompassing 60 published guides with fond-level listings to 7 of the 15 federal archives and select Russian state archives, with brief annotations of archival fonds (record groups). The project, initiated cooperatively by the University of Kansas and East View Publications in collaboration with Rosarkhhiv, is described in Russian on the East View Information Services website.
Rosarkhiv Portal – Putevoditeli po rossiiskim arkhivam
As of 2020, only a portion of the guides themselves listed on the East View website (above) are currently covered on the Rosarkhiv Portal, where they may also be browsed. Searching is possible only through the reader’s browser, however, and no Database searching is available.
Currently available (in 2020) are only 16 recent guides for 5 of the 15 Federal Archives (Part B). For regional archives (Part RusFed) only 6 recent guides are included for archives in only 5 republics in addition to Moscow and St. Petersburg, including the recently "annexed" Crimean Republic.
ABB bibliographic listings of all of the guides included in the East View/Rosarkhiv "Guides" project, and many more guides for federal and regional archives provide hyperlinks to digital copies either in the East View database, or to other electronic versions of the guides available elsewhere.
It should be noted that ArcheoBiblioBase has full bibliographic citations for many more guides to many more Federal and Regional state archives, and it is to be hoped that eventually more of these will be added in the "Guides to Russian Archives" database.
Rosarkhiv Portal – Central Catalogue of Fonds (TsFK)
The Rosarkhiv official website also provides the possibility of searching the Central Catalogue of Fonds, as of 31 December 2018, covering 862,592 fonds (record groups) of 13 federal and 2,234 state and municipal archives of the Russian Federation at http://cfc.rusarchives.ru/CFC-search/. The list of archives covered is on the introductory pages at http://cfc.rusarchives.ru/CFC-search/Search/About. The database is searchable in Russian, and one must enter the name of the fond to be searched.
Databases of Fonds (record groups) and Opisi (series-level inventories/finding aids)
Many Russian archives are providing full lists of their fonds (record groups) on their websites, and some even provide digitized copies (often with annotations) of the opisi within fonds. ABB coverage of those archives provides hot links to those databases or registers of fonds and opisi where such lists are available.
Microform editions of guides and other reference literature
ArcheoBiblioBase bibliographical listings for individual items, in addition to indicating a few major holding libraries, also indicates microfiche editions available commercially. While most Soviet-period finding aids for archives are now out of print, microfiche editions for most of the listings for repositories in Moscow and St. Petersburg (Leningrad), especially for those published before 1976, by the former IDC Publishers in Leiden, edited by Patricia Grimsted. Since IDC was taken over by Brill Publishers (Leiden), marketing of the archival finding aids series has been discontinued, although copies of the microfiche may be found in many research libraries.
At the end of 2009, East View Information Services released a collection of microfilm finding aids for regional state archives in the Russian Federation that includes some general reference directories as well as guides to individual archives. The collection was prepared as a preservation project for the Slavic and East European Microfilm Project (SEEMP) of the Association for Slavic, East European & Eurasian Studies (ASEEES), and the films are available for Interlibrary Loan through the Council on Library Resources. The publications included are indicated accordingly in ABB bibliographic listings. East View is considering plans to make copyright arrangements to market copies of the microfilm in digital form.
Research Inquiries/ArrangementsReference inquiries should be addressed either to individual archives, or when in doubt as to the relevant archive, to the Federal Archival Service (Rosarkhiv). Most Russian archives are now prepared to handle inquiries themselves. Researchers are advised to check the Russian website of individual archives, as well as recently published guides and directories before inquiry. See advice on addressing inquiries on the Rosarkhiv Portal: http://archives.ru/feedback.shtml. Electronic inquiries can be addressed to individual archives or to Rosarkhiv in Moscow ([email protected]), but staff shortages may prevent prompt reply, especially for inquiries in English.
Routine official socio-legal inquiries from Russian citizens or their relatives can be handled either by direct written application to individual archives from individuals within the Russian Federation or through Russian consulates abroad.
See also the website of the Rosarkhiv Reference-Inquiry Centre: https://sic.rgantd.ru/.
Many different options are open to foreign research visitors seeking research and travel arrangements in the Russian Federation. A number of independent academic groups (including institutes under the Academy of Sciences) and commercial travel services on the Russian side have been offering individual or group arrangements for archival research.
Visitors with plans for archival research in Russia should be sure to arrange for an appropriate visa for "scientific-technical relations" (nauchno-tekhnicheskie sviazi). Ordinary "tourist" or generic "business" visas are not considered appropriate for research in archives, particularly in the context of recent problems foreign researchers have experienced.
The most recent official regulations for archival use were issued in June 2013--"Order for the Use of Archival Documents in State and Municipal Archives of the Russian Federation," with amendments in December 2015. The full text in Russian (with amendments) and the questionnaire (Anketa) required to be completed by applicants is available in Russian on the Rosarkhiv website: http://archives.ru/documents/order-us.... Other legal documents relating to Russian archives will also be found on the website of the Federal Archival Agency (http://archives.ru/documents.shtml).
Research service in Russia can best be arranged directly through individual archives, which are usually prepared to handle such services on a fee-for-service basis or to recommend an experienced outside researchers. The Federal Archival Agency (Rosarkhiv) cannot recommend unauthorized individuals or commercial groups offering research services and copies of documents from Russian archives.
Genealogy/Family HistoryRegretfully, neither East View Information Services, nor ArcheoBiblioBase associates are able to handle family history and/or related genealogical inquiries. Furthermore, neither the Federal Archival Agency (Rosarkhiv) nor many Russian archives are staffed or equipped to answer extensive or complicated genealogical inquires of a "family history" nature, although some archives have been improving services in this regard on a paid basis. Unless the exact archival repository holding the needed documents has already been identified, family-history inquiries should normally be addressed directly to more specialized genealogical services, as listed on our Genealogy/Family History page.
Many specialized genealogical services are listed and described in the Resource Guide on the website of the Federation of East European Family History Societies (http://www.feefhs.org).
See also the website GenoTree.ru with hot links to many genealogical services: http://www.genotree.ru/links_geno.
See also the most extensive Russian family history website: http://www.vgd.ru/ “Vserossiiskoe Genealogicheskoe Drevo” (Russian) with some text also in English: "All-Russia Family Tree."
For Jewish family history see the website of the “Routes to Roots Foundation” (http://www.rtrfoundation.org/index.html) directed by Miriam Weiner (New Jersey). Coverage emphasizes research possibilities for families of origin in Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, and Moldova, with only indirect coverage of the Russian Federation. One rubric "Archive Database" provides helpful archival research information; another "Maps" assists locating ancestral towns. Weiner's English-language guides are featured in the "Publications" section. The Foundation also sponsors on-site archival research.
The ABB printed directory, Archives of Russia (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2000), vol. 1, Part A, pp. 10–108, provides more bibliography of reference aids; see especially the sections for Jews (pp 98–100) and Germans from Russia (pp. 100–101), although listings may now require updating. See also additional bibliographic and reference aids for genealogy in the Archival Reference Bibliography at the top left of this website (last updated 2008).
Of Related Interest