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ArcheoBiblioBase: Archives in Russia: B-1

Last update of repository: 3 December 2020

Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Rossiiskoi Federatsii (GA RF)

Access & Facilities

All of the prerevolutionary division of the archive is open to researchers without any restrictions. Most Soviet-era holdings predating the outbreak of World War II in Russia (1941) have been declassified, with only a few exceptions. For example, part of the fond of the Council of People's Commissars (Sovnarkom) for the wartime period is still closed. Subsequent records in the fond of Sovnarkom (to 1946) and the Council of Ministers of the USSR and RSFSR (Sovmin SSSR and RSFSR, after 1946) through the 1950s have been partially declassified. Ninety percent of the records of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SVAG) have been declassified (with the exception of files relating to property matters), and a collaborative German-Russian project for their description is in progress.
        Most of the so-called special files (Osobye papki) from the NKVD/MVD Secretariat (1944-1953) covered by newly published catalogues (b–22b–25) are now open to researchers, although most of the Beriia files (b–25) have not been declassified. Earlier records in this series have not been transferred from the Federal Security Service (see C–6).
        A list of some 5,000 files relating to subjects covered by special presidential declassification regulations, such as those relating to human rights, prisoners of war, and repressed individuals, and which have recently been declassified, is available to interested researchers.
        According to an agreement between Rosarkhiv and the FSB (30.XI.1994), transfers from the FSB archive to GA RF include report files on former officers of the White Armies, report and verification files on Germans that were held in special camps in the Soviet zone of occupation in Germany, and captured files relating to individuals of German origin, the so-called Volksdeutsche (Rus. fol'ksdoich).
        See Biulleten' rassekrechennykh dokumentov federal'nykh arkhivov [i tsentrov khraneniia dokumentatsii] (Moscow, 1998–), vyp. 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 for an annotated list of fonds, files, and some individual documents that have been declassified through 1997–2010. Electronic version of published issues see: http://portal.rusarchives.ru/secret/i.... See also the database of the declassified files and documents of federal state archives: http://unsecret.rusarchives.ru/.

Working conditions
The main reading room for the GA RF holdings is shared with RGAE. Orders (limited to 5 files and 5 opisi per day) placed before 2 pm are normally delivered the following day (within 24 hours), orders placed after 2 pm are normally delivered within 36 hours.
        Researchers working with many recently declassified files use a special reading room for the Division of Secret Fonds across the courtyard (Entrance 12, fifth floor), or other offices in the stack areas. Seating is limited and reading room hours vary from those of the main reading room.
        Researchers working in reading room no. 2 (Berezhkovskaia nab., 26) for the former TsGA RSFSR holdings can order 10–18 files per day. Orders are delivered in two days (within 48 hours).
        For more details see British guide: Russian & Ukrainian Archives Guide available electronically: https://research.reading.ac.uk/archiv....

Copy facilities
Users can order microfilm, scan or xerox copies for scholarly research purposes. Although there is theoretically no limit as to quantity, frequently technical reasons require limitation. Commercial publication or other commercial use of copies of archival documents requires a separate licence agreement.

Reference facilities
Many of the opisi are housed in the Reading Room office and can be readily requested by researchers. Electronic opisi are available also in the Reading Room office and on the website of the archive: http://www.statearchive.ru/383. Card catalogues with name and subject listings covering some fonds, held across the court yard in Entrance 8, are now accessible to researchers on request. Of particular note are the extensive card files and agency inventory directories covering many of the records of prerevolutionary organs of police and justice, including specialized files relating to personalia of the revolutionary movement, and also the extensive card files with name references prepared on the basis of White Guard and White emigration records.

Library facilities
The GA RF Library, known from 1992–1997 as the Scientific Library of Federal Archives (Nauchnaia biblioteka federal'nykh arkhivov), was founded in 1971 as the Scientific Library of Central State Archives (Nauchnaia biblioteka tsentral'nykh gosudarstvennykh arkhivov SSSR) on the basis of printed editions in TsGAOR SSSR, TsGANKh, TsGASA, and the Scientific Reference Library of Glavarkhiv.
        The library now comprises a total of over 535,000 volumes, consisting of books and brochures (154,000 vols.) in Russian and languages of the peoples of the former USSR, including official and internal government and CPSU publications, and those of other political parties and social organizations (especially from 1917–1920); newspapers (34,000 files), including central and local papers from the early years of Soviet rule; journals and magazines (215,000 units); and literature in foreign languages (33,000 books, brochures, and journals). There is also a significant collection of posters (12,000 units) ranging from posters of the periods of World War I and the Civil War to CPSU, anti-religious, and propaganda posters through the 1950s.
        An especially valuable complex from the former restricted collection (spetskhran) encompasses part of the library and other printed materials from the former Russian Foreign Historical Archive (RZIA) in Prague, which is particularly rich in émigré publications including newspapers (30,000 books, brochures, journals, and newspapers—1917–1940). There is also a unique collection of newspapers and in-house serial publications from Soviet prison camps and other penal organs from the 1920s and 1930s (the latter collection was microfilmed in 1995 as part of a joint project with the International Institute of Social History, hence copies are available for researchers at IISH in Amsterdam).
        The GA RF library (formerly Rosarkhiv Central Library) is located in the main federal archival complex (ul. Bol'shaia Pirogovskaia, 17). The reading room of the library was open 1 April 2013 (located in building 7, entrance 8, room 34; tel. +7 495 580-88-39; hours: M–Th 11:00–16:00, F 11:00–15:30). Researchers need to call in advance. Orders are delivered every other day.

ABB ArcheoBiblioBase Archeo Biblio Base Patricia Kennedy Grimsted