« Back       Contact information  •  History  •  Holdings  •  Access & Facilities  •  Bibliography

ArcheoBiblioBase: Archives in Russia: B-1

Last update of repository: 3 December 2020

Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Rossiiskoi Federatsii (GA RF)


Total: 3,336 fonds, 6,843,020 units, 1800–2016
photographs—79,047 units

An annotated list of fonds and opisi in the archive is available on the GA RF website at: http://www.statearchive.ru/383.
        The archive holds the records of the highest organs of state power and state administration of the USSR from the October Revolution through 1991, with the exception of records held in other specialized federal-level state archives (such as RGAE, RGALI, RGVA, and RGAVMF), and agency archives, such as those under the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense, and the Federal Security Service (former KGB). GA RF also includes fonds of the central highest-level prerevolutionary judicial and penal agencies in charge of political and criminal investigations, judicial courts, and penitentiaries in the Russian Empire. There are also records of the Kingdom of Poland and records of agencies of the Provisional Government of 1917. Personal papers represent a galaxy of well-known politicians, state functionaries, and trade-union leaders from both the prerevolutionary and Soviet periods.
        The most substantial part of GA RF holdings are those from the Soviet period, consisting of records of the highest organs of Soviet power and state administration on both all-union and Russian Federation levels. These include the records of Petrograd and Moscow Military-Revolutionary Committees (Voenno-revoliutsionnyi komitet—VRK); the All-Russian Central Executive Committee (Vserossiiskii tsentral'nyi ispolnitel'nyi komitet—VTsIK, 1917–1936); the Central Executive Committee of the USSR (TsIK SSSR, 1922–1938), the Council of Labor and Defense (Sovet truda i oborony—STO, 1923–1937); the Councils of People's Commissars (Sovet Narodnykh Komissarov—SNK) of the RSFSR and of the USSR (1917–1974); the Supreme Soviet (Verkhovnyi Sovet) of the USSR (1938–1989) and the RSFSR (1938–1990); and the Council of Ministers of the USSR (1923–1958), along with records of their commissions and committees.
        Central administrative organs are represented by fonds of the people's commissariats and ministries, representing the records of government administration in such areas as internal affairs, justice, public education, health, and mass information.
        GA RF preserves the records for the USSR of the Supreme Court (1923–1991), Prosecutor-General (1933–1991), the State Arbitration Board (1931–1991), and the Extraordinary State Commission for Attestation and Investigation of Criminal German-Fascist Acts on the Occupied Territory of the USSR (Chrezvychainaia gosudarstvennaia komissiia po ustanovleniiu i rassledovaniiu zlodeianii nemetsko-fashistskikh zakhvatchikov na okkupirovannoi territorii SSSR—ChGK), and the International Military Tribunals in Nuremberg and Tokyo.
        The central mass media are represented by the fonds of the State Committee of the Council of Ministers of the USSR for Television and Radio Broadcasting and its predecessors. There is also documentation from the Telegraph Agency of the USSR (TASS), the Soviet Information Bureau, the Novosti Press Agency (APN), publishing control organs, state publishing houses, printing presses, and the book trade.
        Records of the Central Council of Trade Unions (VTsSPS, 1917–1991), and the central committees of regional and divisional trade unions were transferred to the archive from the former Central Archive of the Council of Trade Unions (TsA VTsSPS). Among the complex of social organizations are also fonds of the Executive Committee of the United Societies of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent of the USSR (1918–1992), the All-Union Society for Cultural Relations Abroad (Vsesoiuznoe obshchestvo kul'turnykh sviazei s zagranitsei—VOKS, 1925–1957), the Union of the Soviet Societies for Friendship and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, the Committee of Soviet Women, the Soviet Committee for the Defense of Peace, and other cooperative, scientific and cultural organizations and institutions.
        The Soviet period is also represented with personal fonds of active participants in the October Revolution, along with those of state, Communist Party, and public functionaries and officials, for example, V.V. Adoratskii, V.A. Antonov-Ovseenko, M.N. Pokrovskii, A.I. Sviderskii, and V.V. Shmidt, among others.
        The Prerevolutionary Division of GA RF houses fonds of the Third Department of His Majesty's Own Chancery (1826–1880), the Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (1881–1917), the Criminal Division of the First Department of the Ministry of Justice, and other agencies of these ministries. There are also fonds of the Headquarters Division of the Gendarme Corps, the Moscow and Petrograd Security Services, guberniia gendarme departments, police and gendarme administrations on railways, courts and investigative agencies and other organs of court prosecution for political and criminal affairs in the Russian Empire (including the records of the Investigatory Commission and Supreme Criminal Court for Affairs of the Decembrists), and records of major prisons and penitentiaries in the Russian Empire. In 1995 GA RF acquired from the Archive of the Federal Security Services (FSB) files from imperial police authorities relating to the travels of Nicholas II through the Russian Empire. There is also a complex of records from central agencies of the Kingdom of Poland.
        A rich complex of records in this division contains fonds of the Provisional Government of Russia, its highest and central state institutions, including the Chancellery of the Provisional Government (1917), the Chancellery of the All-Russian Constituent Assembly (1917–1918) and organizations for conducting elections in it, its agencies, committees and commissions in charge of finance, industry, trade, culture, public education and mass-media, and also fonds of the Soviets of Workers', Peasants', and Soldiers' Deputies, and other societal organizations dating before October 1917.
        Fonds of different political parties and movements are also housed in the Prerevolutionary Division (with the exception of the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party [RSDRP] and other parties and groups that later joined the RSDRP and the Russian Communist Party [RKP(b)]—which are held by RGASPI [earlier RTsKhIDNI]). This division also includes records of other prerevolutionary social organizations such as the New York City Section of the Foundation for a Free Russian Press, the Turgenev Russian Library (Paris), the V.N. Figner Committee of Assistance to Political Prisoners (Paris), other Russian émigré organizations and publications (many of which came with the post-World War II “trophy” archives), along with Polish and Lithuanian organizations in the Russian Empire.
        Numerous papers of personal origin are represented with fonds of members of the imperial family (acquired from the former New Romanov Archive), well-known state and political figures of prerevolutionary Russia (the Benkendorf, Dolgorukov, and Golenishchev-Kutuzov families; A.M. Gorchakov, N.P. Ignat'ev, M.N. Katkov, V.N. Lamsdorf, and M.T. Loris-Melikov), of the Decembrists (P.A. Mukhanov, I.I. Pushchin, S.P. Trubetskoi, and the Iakushkin family), and also with fonds of representatives of the revolutionary movement (P.B. Aksel'rod, the Bakunins, P.A. Kropotkin, and P.L. Lavrov), along with those of public figures and scientists (A.F. Koni, A.A. Kornilov, V.I. Semevskii, and F.F. and S.F. Ol'denburg) among others.
        The prerevolutionary period is also reflected in manuscript collections from the Library of the Winter Palace (XVII–XIX cc.) and the Tsarskoe Selo Palace. GA RF also retains collections of material evidence confiscated by police from editors of the newspapers and magazines and private persons, collections of leaflets, illegal publications, and photographs of participants in social and revolutionary movements in Russia.
        The archive holds part of the collections from the Russian Foreign Historical Archive in Prague (RZIA), which were transferred to Moscow in early 1946. They have paramount importance for the history of the Russian emigration from the end of the nineteenth through the middle of the twentieth century and also in part document the history of the Civil War and foreign military intervention in Russia. Among them are the personal papers of A.I. Guchkov, A.I. Denikin, Prince G.E. L'vov, P.B. Struve, B.V. Savinkov and many other figures of the Russian emigration. During the 1950s, however, large parts of the RZIA collections were distributed to about 30 state archives and museums throughout the USSR (a full directory of these materials see in b–37), although some of the reference materials (including massive card files) created for them remained in TsGAOR SSSR. The Russian émigré holdings also include materials from other foreign sources, including Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Poland, France, and Germany, some of which were collected by the Nazis during the war and subsequently brought to Moscow in the immediate postwar years.
        The archive retains rich documentation of institutions and, in part, military divisions of the so-called White Guard governments (1918–1922), including the government of A.V. Kolchak, the Northern Oblast Provisional Government, and institutions established by the White Guard generals P.N. Krasnov, A.I. Denikin, and P.N. Vrangel' (Wrangel). Many of these also came from RZIA, but most of the military-related documentation was transferred to the Central State Archive of the Red Army (now RGVA—B–8).
        GA RF holds extensive collections of microfilmed documents relating to Russia and the USSR from the fourteenth century through the 1950s in many different languages, which were copied from originals in foreign archives and manuscripts collections. The collection was started in 1956 on the basis of cultural exchanges between the USSR and foreign countries. In 1961 it was augmented by microform copies from the former TsGIAM. In 1993, microfilm acquisitions started of Russian-related holdings from the Hoover Institution (USA).
        New documentary accessions are available electronically: http://www.statearchive.ru/456.

                Records from Former TsGA RSFSR

GA RF also retains all of the records of the former Central State Archive of the RSFSR, consisting of postrevolutionary documentation from the highest organs of state power and administration of the Russian Federation starting in 1917–the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR (Verkhovnyi Sovet RSFSR) and the Council of People's Commissars/ Council of Ministers of the RSFSR, republic-level ministries and other agencies (Gosplan RSFSR, TsSU RSFSR), republic-level organs of courts and prosecutors, fonds of republic-level cooperatives, and other societal organizations; scientific, educational, cultural, and technical institutions of republic-level agencies, including those of abolished as well as continuing agencies of the Russian Federation.

N.B. Pre- and postrevolutionary records from institutions and organizations of the RSFSR in the Far East are held by the Russian State Historical Archive of the Far East (RGIA DV), which is now located in Vladivostok (formerly in Tomsk).

ABB ArcheoBiblioBase Archeo Biblio Base Patricia Kennedy Grimsted