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ArcheoBiblioBase: Archives in Russia: B-12

Last update of repository: 3 December 2020

Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv sotsial'no-politicheskoi istorii (RGASPI)

Access & Facilities

Although most fonds in the archive are open for research, access is now restricted to some fonds previously open in the early 1990s.
        Comintern: Only a small percentage of files from the Comintern archive remain classified. Most post-1941 records of the VKP(b)/CPSU CC International Department remain closed, although many Cominform documents have been published.
        Politburo: Not all of the Politburo records received from the Presidential Archive have been declassified. Many personnel and other files relating to individuals are closed in connection with the law on personal privacy. Declassified documentation from the AP RF include supplemental materials of the Party Congresses (I–XXIII); most Politburo records through 1934, including the supplemental materials and “special files” for protocols of CC meetings from 1923 through 1934; and the protocols of Politburo CC meetings for 1941–1952.
        Personal papers: Many papers of CPSU leaders received from the Presidential Archive (AP RF) are now open, including those of L.M. Kaganovich (fond 81), A.I. Mikoian (fond 84), V.M. Molotov (fond 82), and A.A. Zhdanov (fond 77) and others are now open for research. Some of the Stalin papers (transferred from AP RF in April 1999) are still not open for public research, but the most important opisi are being digitized for Internet access as part of the Stalin Digital Archive (see b–599). A large percentage of files of the former Komsomol Archive (1992–1999—TsKhDMO), now held as part of RGASPI, have still not been declassified, although some categories of files are open to researchers, such as the recently declassified records of the VLKSM Central Committee(1962–1966).
        See Biulleten' rassekrechennykh dokumentov federal'nykh arkhivov [i tsentrov khraneniia dokumentatsii] (below b–600) and the database of the declassified files and documents of federal state archives on the website “Arkhivy Rossii”:
        See also updates about declassification in RGASPI at the Russian website:

Working conditions
Researchers using fonds from TsPA and most others acquired by RTsKhIDNI use the large RGASPI reading room on the fifth floor (Bol'shaia Dmitrovka, 15). Researchers can order up to 20 files per day, with some restrictions. Orders are delivered usually within 24 hours.
        Researchers using Comintern records should note the electronic database including many images opened at RGASPI in June 2003, and can be accessed on computer terminals in the main reading room. Internet versions are now available at some libraries that have subscribed through IDC Publishers (see below). That electronic facility is also available in participating repositories abroad, including the Library of Congress (Washington DC). Comintern records are delivered in the separate reading room on the fourth floor (room 413). Orders (limited to 10 files per day) placed before noon are usually delivered the following day (within 24 hours), orders placed in the afternoon are usually delivered within 36 hours.
        Researchers using Komsomol records from former TsKhDMO use the RGASPI Reading Room No. 3 (ul. Profsoiuznaia, 82). All fonds retain their previous numbers with the addition of the letter “M.” Researchers have the right to order 10 files per day. Orders are delivered the following days, sometimes the same day.
        For more details see British guide: Russian & Ukrainian Archives Guide available electronically: and See also the French article by Marc Gionaninetti, “Entrer au RGASPI: Conseils d'un usager” (19 December 2013), available at:

Copy facilities
Xerox, microfilms, microfiche, and photographic copies are available. Basic copying fees do not include publication rights, since licenses for use for commercial purposes, including publication, are sold separately for varying fees.

Reference facilities
Opisi are available for all fonds and thematic surveys have been compiled for some collections. Most opisi (about 1,700), many of which contain detailed introductory agency histories, are now shelved in the reading room and immediately available to researchers. Many of them were microfilmed in connection with the Hoover Project (see b–552).
        A Russian-language list of fonds and opisi, some of which are now available on-line is provided on the RGASPI website at
        Detailed individual name and geographic indexes are available for the Marx-Engels collections. There are other voluminous card catalogues and popularized surveys for some fonds. Opisi have not been compiled for CPSU International Department files; hence archivists must select documents of interest to researchers.
        Komsomol Archive: There is an extensive card catalogue of Komsomol fonds. There are typewritten surveys for records of various divisions and structural parts of the fond of the Komsomol Central Committee (TsK VLKSM). The archive has systematic, name, and geographic catalogues and card catalogues for the directives of the Bureau and Secretariat of the TsK VLKSM, and card catalogues for personnel records. The alphabetic card catalogue of personal files for Komsomol members (1919–1987) is being transferred to a computerized database.
        In addition there are typewritten paper and card-catalogue opisi correlating documents with CPSU fonds.
        Audiovisual Materials: Subject card catalogues have been established for the fond of negatives, posters, leaflets, handbills, stenographic newspapers, and museum exhibits.

Library facilities
The reference library of the former TsKhDMO (30,000 volumes) is accessible to researchers through the reading room.
        The rich library of the former Institute of Marxism-Leninism (IML pri TsK KPSS), which was formerly associated in 1991 with RTsKhIDNI (now RGASPI), has been reorganized in 1992 as the State Socio-Political Library (GOPB). In 2014 in a result of the merger GOPB with GPIB (G–3) was formed the Center of Socio-Political History—Branch of GPIB ( [Rus]; [Eng]).

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