Marina Sorokina’s talk on Russian Archives

Today Dr. Marina Sorokina,  an historian and specialist on the Russian archives, gave a presentation to U of T graduate students.  She argues that Russia has made huge strides in the last five years towards making archival resources accessible online. This work is supported especially by the Russian Foundation for the Humanities.

She discussed the official portal of the Russian archives and websites for the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Democracy, Sakharov and Solzhenytsin Foundations, the new online portals of RGASPI’s comintern archive and RGALI, as well as a site called Hronos.


The Hronos site has an excellent biograficheskii ukazatel’, the best I’ve seen.  I only looked the Soviet period.    It also seems that they take suggestions.


Guides to the Russian Academy of Science’s archives are available here.  I asked Dr. Sorokina about finding sources from the Institute of the History of Art, and she also pointed me towards its current manifestation, the Institute Iskusstvoznanie.  They have an division of visual art and architecture.


The Alexander Yakovlev archive has a database of published archival documents that came to light during the failed attempt to try the Communist Party in the late 1990s.  The materials are divided into thematic categories, and there is a search function.  I searched for укрупнение and агрогород without any hits.  I searched for Хрущев between 1950 and 1953 and came up with a few documents:

Докладная записка агитпропа ЦК Г.М. Маленкову о роли сектора художественной литературы агитпропа ЦК в кампании против космополитизма

Информация В.С. Абакумова1 о «засоренности» кадров в клинике лечебного питания Института питания АМН СССР 04.07.1950

Докладная записка агитпропа ЦК Г.М. Маленкову о предложении М.С. Гуса написать книгу об американской разведке 25.03.1952

Докладная записка агитпропа ЦК Г.М. Маленкову по вопросам юридической науки 12.05.1952

These are all reports to First Secretary Malenkov; he had them forwarded “v круглую” to other secretaries, including Ponomarenko and Khrushchev.  I’ve noted that a search for “хрущев” will not catch “хрущеву,” worth being aware of.

Searching for хрущеву brought up many more files, mostly dokladnye zapiski to Stalin.  The majority of them relate to Foreign Affairs.   I searched for колхоз 1949-1953 and all the materials related to either literature or to Jewish Autonomous Republic.  Also interesting that in this case the search terms колхоз, колхоза, и колхозов all give the same results.


The Sakharov Center has a database of Gulag Memoirs.  I searched their memoirs for the term “Arkhangel’sk” and came up with 133 memoirs.  Архангельск and Крестьян came up with only 1.


RGALI‘s search function works well, and draws on their apparently very extensive catalogs.  Only one item came up for Arkhangel’sk oblast’, however:

Шифр: ф. 3102 оп. 1 ед. хр. 1287
Раздел систематизации: 1. Рукописи.
К.И.Коничев. “Документы рассказывают. Александр Грин в Пинеге и Кегострове”. Статья. С дарственной надписью В.Г.Лидину.
Крайние даты: 1964
Количество листов: 1
Коничев Константин Иванович
Лидин Владимир Германович, адресат
Грин (Гриневский) Александр Степанович, упоминаемое лицо
Способ воспроизведения
Вырезка из газеты
Литература/Публицистика/Публицистика в России и СССР/Статьи
Литература/Публицистика/Публицистика в России и СССР/Переписка личная

Архангельская обл./Кегостров о., упоминаемое место
Архангельская обл./Пинега пос., упоминаемое место


Thanks Marina!


October 22, 2008. Archives, Primary Sources, Research.

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