Table of Contents

ArcheoBiblioBase: Archives in Russia: B 1

Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Rossiiskoi Federatsii (GA RF)

[State Archive of the Russian Federation]

Agency: Federal'noe arkhivnoe agentstvo Rossii (Rosarkhiv)
[Federal Archival Agency of Russia]

Address: 119817, Moscow, ul. Bol'shaia Pirogovskaia, 17
Telephone: (495) 245-81-41; Fax: (495) 245-12-87
Director: Sergei Vladimirovich Mironenko (tel. 245-12-87)
Deputy Director: Vladimir Aleksandrovich Kozlov (tel. 245-81-50)
Deputy Director: Larisa Aleksandrovna Iarovaia (tel. 245-81-42)

Reading Room No. 1 (Holdings from former TsGAOR SSSR)
Address: 119817, Moscow, ul. Bol'shaia Pirogovskaia, 17
RdngRm: 245-81-61
Hours: MW 12:00-20:00; TuTh 10:00-18:00; F 10:00-16:00; August closed
Head of Reading Room No. 1: Nina Ivanovna Abdulaeva (tel. 245-81-61)

Reading Room No. 2 (Holdings from former TsGA RSFSR)
Address: 121883, Moscow, Berezhkovskaia nab., 26
Telephone: 240-32-54 (also fax); RdngRm: 240-33-13
Hours: MW 10:00-17:00; TuTh 13:00-20:00; F 10:00-16:00; August closed
Head of Reading Room No. 2: Liudmila Gennadievna Kiseleva (tel. 240-33-13)

Previous Names

About GA RF

GA RF was established in 1992 on the basis of the combined holdings of the former Central State Archive of the October Revolution, High Organs of State Power, and Organs of State Administration of the USSR--TsGAOR SSSR (1941-1961) and the Central State Archive of the RSFSR--TsGA RSFSR (1957-1992). It now has over 3,000 fonds (with over 5 million file units), dating from 1800 through 1993.

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 from the October Revolution through 1991 (with the exception of records held in other specialized federal-level state and agencies), which came to it from TsGAOR SSSR.

The prerevolutionary division of GA RF comprises records of the central highest-level judicial, penal, and political and criminal investigatory agencies in the Russian Empire, which came from the former Historico-Revolutionary Archive in Petrograd (transferred to Moscow in 1924). It also has many personal papers and collections of the Imperial family and court which came from the former New Romanov (Novoromanovskii) Archive. Most of the prerevolutionary division had earlier comprised the Central State Historical Archive in Moscow--TsGIAM (Tsentral'nyi gosudarstvennyi istoricheskii arkhiv v g. Moskve) (absorbed by TsGAOR SSSR in 1961). There are also records of the Kingdom of Poland and records of agencies of the Provisional Goverment of 1917.

Personal papers represent a galaxy of well-known politicians, state functionaries, and trade-union leaders from both the prerevolutionary and Soviet periods, as well as those of the imperial family. There are also many collections from the former Russian Foreign Historical Archive in Prague (RZIA) and other emigre collections that were transferred to Moscow after World War II.

With the absorbtion of TsGA RSFSR (founded as a separate institution in 1958), GA RF now also holds many of the records of central agencies of the Russian Federation from the Soviet period.


All of the prerevolutionary division of GA RF 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 progress is already resulting in microfilms available at the Bundesarchiv Berlin-Lichterfelde.

Most of the so-called special files (Osobye papki) from the NKVD/MVD Secretariat (1944-1953) covered by newly published catalogues (see below) are now open to researchers, although most of the Beriia files have not been declassified. Earlier records in this series have not been transferred from the Federal Security Service (see C-6).

A list is available to researchers of some 5,000 declassified files relating to subjects covered by special presidential declassification regulations, such as those relating to human rights, prisoners of war, and repressed individuals.

According to an agreement between Rosarkhiv (now the Federal Archival Agency) 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 (1998-2002) for an annotated list of fonds, files, and some individual documents that have been declassified through 1997-2001. See also website for declassified files of the State Committee of Defence (GKO) and Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SVAG).

Working Conditions

The main reading room for the former TsGAOR SSSR holdings is shared with RGAE (formerly TsGANKh). Orders (limited to 10 files 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 (hours: M 12:00-16:00; Tu-Th 10-16:00).

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).

Library Facilities

The GA RF Scientific 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 520,000 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 (30,000 files), including central and local papers from the early years of Soviet rule; journals and magazines (150,000 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 emigre 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-see below Gulag Press, 1920-1937).

The GA RF library (formerly Rosarkhiv Central Library) is located in the main federal archival complex (ul. Bol'shaia Pirogovskaia, 17; tel. 245-81-84; hours: M-F 11:00-16:00). Prospective readers need to call in advance to arrange a pass to the compound, if they do not already have one.

Recent General Guides

Major Specialized Finding Aids

Microfilmed Opisi and Documents

NKVD/MVD Records and Special Files

See also coverage under C-6 --C-8.

Documents Relating to Dissident and Oppositional Movements (1941-1991)

Records of the People's Commissariat for Nationality Affairs

Records of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SVAG/SMAD)

Microfilms of many of the declassified SVAG/SMAD files are now available in the Bundesarchiv Berlin-Lichterfelde, with a finding aid correlating film numbers to the original GA RF records. See the brief note about the joint Russo-German project to microfilm and describe the SVAG records in GA RF: "'SVAG-SMAD' Informatsiia o khode realizatsii programmy izucheniia i izdaniia dokumentov Sovetskoi voennoi administratsii v Germanii (1945-1949 gg.)" -- GA RF is in the process of establishing an electronic catalogue, with file- and partially also document-level annotations.

Holdings from RZIA in Prague

Fonds of Polish Provenance

Materials Relating to Religious Affairs

Scientific Library