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Russian & Soviet History

Russian Archives During the War with Ukraine

The Collective "The Bridge: Connecting Past and Present Through Archival Research on Russia" has been very active since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and has become an important resource for researchers interested in archival research related to Russia.

Following the group on Facebook, or Twitter (@TBridgeResearch) can be a good way of keeping up with developments in access to these materials.

There is another facebook group that some scholars are using to arrange to have people resident in the Russian Federation make trips to archives on their behalf: Сходи за меня в архив.

Primary Archival Repositories in Russia for Russian/Soviet History Research

Российский Государственный архив социально-политической истории (РГАСПИ)
The Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History in Moscow. The website including a list of all archival fonds held there.


Государственный архив Российской Федерации (ГАРФ)
The State Archive of the Russian Federation in Moscow. The website features a list of archival fonds there and some online finding aids.


Российский государственный архив новейшей истории
The Russian State Archive of Recent History in Moscow. The website gives links to PDF lists of archival fonds.


Российская национальная библиотека - отдел рукописей
The National Library of Russia'a Manuscripts Division. The website provides lists of archival fonds.


Российская государственная библиотека - Научно-исследовательский отдел рукописей
The Russian State Library's Manuscripts Division.


Российский государственный архив древних актов
The Russian State Archive of Old Acts, a repository of documents emanating from or related to rulers and administrative entities of Pre-Revolutionary Russia. This archive has been very digitally pro-active in recent times and has made many finding aids and digital images available on its website.


Российский государственный военный архив
The Russian State Military Archive in Moscow is the primary repository for Soviet-era military documents, including those form the VChK-OGPU-NKVD-Ministry of the Interior.


Центральный архив Министерства Обороны Российской Федерации
Archives of the Russian Federation's Defense Ministry, containing archival fonds for most of the legacy military and defense agencies of the USSR.


Российский государственный архив военно-морского флота
The Russian State Military-Naval Archive in St. Petersburg, Russia's primary repository of historical documents related to the country's naval forces.


Российский государственный военно-исторический архив
The Russian State Historical Military Archive in Moscow. The Archive is in the process of building an online database of finding aids.


Российский государственный архив кинофотодокументов
The Russian State Archive of Cinematographic and Photographic Documents in Moscow. The website features three catalogs: A Cinema Catalog, a Video Catalog and a Photograph Catalog.


Российский государственный архив фонодокументов
The Russian State Archive of Phonographic Documents in Moscow. The website features a list of archival fonds.


Российский государственный архив экономики
The Russian State Economics Archive in Moscow. The website features a list of archival fonds and some electronic finding aids.

North American Institutional Collections with Archival Holdings Relevant to Russian/Soviet History

Some very valuable documents and archival collections related to the history of Russia and the Soviet Union, documents and collections largely relayed by émigrés from Russia and the Soviet Union, are held by a number of North American research institutions. The following are some of the North American repositories of these types of documents.


The Hoover Institution
The Hoover Institution in Stanford, California.



UC Berkeley
The Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, Berkeley's primary rare books and manuscripts repository.



Princeton University Library Special Collections
Princeton's division of Special Collections is particularly rich in documents related to the Cold War and U.S.-Soviet relations and diplomacy. Princeton also houses important literary or humanities collections such as the the papers of the Soviet-era poet Osip Mandelshtam and the papers of religious philosopher Georges Florovsky.



Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library is home to the Bakhmeteff Archive of Russian and East European Culture, which contains a great many manuscript collections bearing witness to different aspects of Russian and East European émigration.


Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University
Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library houses a number of important archival collections of Russian émigré figures.


New York Public Library Archives and Manuscripts
The New York Public Library has rich collections of unique materials related to both Pre-Revolutionary Russia and Soviet Russia.


Library of Congress, Manuscripts
The Library of Congress houses many archival collections related to Russian émigré figures.

Copies of Archival Materials in North American Collections

The Stalin Digital Archive
The SDA is a result of collaboration between the Russian State Archive of Social and Political History (RGASPI) and Yale University Press (YUP) to create an electronic database of finding aids, to digitize documents and images, and to publish in different forms and media materials from the recently declassified Stalin archive in the holdings of RGASPI.


Microform. Some institutions in North America hold copies of CPSU archival fonds, generally in microform. Princeton has a microform copy of Fond 89 - a collection of CPSU documents declassified in the late 1990's. More voluminous holdings of CPSU documents are held in the collections of the Hoover Institute, Yale, Harvard and the Library of Congress. To identify and locate these holdings most efficiently, access WorldCat, access the "advanced search" interface, choose "Accession number" from the dropdown next to the top-line search field, and enter the following number: 34943469


Unpublished Primary Sources Online

A searchable database containing thousands of digitized diary entires by thousands of authors in Russian, Ukrainian and Belorusian. The chronological scope of the database spans the entire nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


Архив Александра Яковлева
A sort of digital library of archival documents from various Soviet government agencies. The library is named for Alexander Yakovlev. One of the architects of Perestroika and original proponents of Glastnost', in the post-Soviet period Yakovlev headed the organization Международный фонд "Демократия" and was instrumental in the publication and dissemination of archival documents that had long been hidden from the Russian people — primarily documents of the abuses perpetrated on the Soviet people by the Soviet state.