Table of Contents

ArcheoBiblioBase: Archives in Russia: B 3

Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi istoricheskii arkhiv (RGIA)

[Russian State Historical Archive]

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

Address: 190000, St. Petersburg, Zanevskii prosp., 36 (previous address: 190000, St. Petersburg, Angliiskaia nab. (formerly nab. Krasnogo Flota), 4)
Telephone: 438-55-20; Fax: (812) 438-55-94
Hours: The archive (closed since April 2005) plans to open for research in the new building in spring 2007. The archive recommends calling in February-March 2007 for more precise information about the archive reopening and research provisions.
Director: Aleksandr Rostislavovich Sokolov (tel. 438-55-10)
Head of Information and Use Division: Larisa Ivanovna Sinitsyna (tel. 438-55-43)
Head of the Reading Room: Galina Vasil'evna Voronova

Previous Names

About RGIA

RGIA holds the major records of high-level and central state and administrative institutions and agencies of the Russian Empire from the nineteenth century to 1917 (except the records of the Army, Navy, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Further consolidation bought additional fonds of prerevolutionary social organizations, institutions, and many prominent individuals. The archive received its present name in June 1992; earlier TsGIA, from 1941(1944)-1961 it was known as TsGIAL.

Since the revolution RGVIA and its predecessors occupied the historic buildings of the prevolutionary Governing Senate, Holy Synod, and State Council on the Neva Embankment, where most of the massive central records of the Russian Empire were consolidated after 1917. Since 1991, discussions were underway including international consultations about a new contemporary building for the archive. The situation reached a crisis proportion and bitter debates followed, when a late 2002 a presidential decree turned the historic buildings over to municipal authorities. Plans for the new building were soon underway, and many fonds were closed for research by 2003 and research facilities reduced; the archive was completely closed to researchers in Spring 2005. The new RGIA building was essentially completed by early 2006 and transfer was underway of the 7.2 million archival files during the year. More information about the transfer is available at


In terms of declassification, all fonds in the archive are now open for research.

Because of the necessary transfer to a new building, the archive has been closed since the spring of 2005, pending the move and reopening in spring 2007.

Working Conditions

Information about working conditions and copying facilities will be available after the spring 2007 opening of the new building.

Recent General Guides

  • Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi istoricheskii arkhiv: Putevoditel'. Compiled by D. I. Raskin, B. M. Vitenberg, N. E. Kashchenko, N. M. Korneva, et el. Edited by D. I. Raskin and A. R. Sokolov. 4 vols. St. Petersburg: "Satis", 2000-. [Rosarkhiv; RGIA] (Lib: DLC)
    • Vol. 1: Fondy vysshiikh gosudarstvennykh uchrezhdenii. 2000. 302 p.
    A new multi-volume guide to RGIA with detailed annotations for all fonds, including those acquired and/or declassified since the previous 1956 guide, organized by institutional structure. A detailed institutional history is provided for each creating agency and its various sub-agencies and/or divisions, with extensive bibliography of previous reference aids, documentary publications, and institutional histories. Annotations indicate the holdings included in various opisi within large fonds. Separate indexes cover personal names, geographic entities, subjects, state agencies, and a numerical list of fonds.
    The first volume covers the highest state agencies includes coverage of the State Council, the State Duma, the Committee and Council of Ministers, the Senate, Synod, various imperial chanceries, high state committees, and the Supreme Criminal Court.

  • Fondy Rossiiskogo gosudarstvennogo istoricheskogo arkhiva: Kratkii spravochnik. Compiled by D. I. Raskin and O. P. Sukhanova. Edited by D. I. Raskin and V. V. Lapin. St. Petersburg: RGIA, 1994. 120 p. [RGIA] (Lib: IU; MH)
    Provides a complete list of fonds, including those previously classified, with the name, dates, and number of files in each fond. For institutional fonds, it also lists major previous names of the creating agency. Appendices include a short survey of archival reference materials, a bibliography of published reference literature, including article-length surveys of fonds, schema for the RGIA card catalogues, and an index of fond numbers.
  • Tsentral'nyi gosudarstvennyi istoricheskii arkhiv v Leningrade: Putevoditel'. Edited by S. N. Valk and V. V. Bedin. Leningrad: GAU, 1956. 607 p. (Lib: DLC; IU; MH) [IDC-R-10,722]
    The basic guide to the archive as then organized with detailed annotations of fonds, agency histories, and bibliography of published surveys, inventories, and documentation publications. Includes a list of fonds transferred to other archives. A second volume listing smaller and less important fonds not included remains in typescript.
  • Russian State Historic Archives, St. Petersburg: Annotated Register. St. Petersburg: "Blits," 1994. xv, 401 p. Text in Russian.
    A preliminary printout from the relatively primitive computerized version of the typescript register of opisi ("Annotirovannyi reestr opisei [TsGIA SSSR]" [1973]). In fond-number order, it characterizes each opis', including dates and number of files, with a short annotation in Russian. Printed without a preface or explanation about its source and content, it contains more in-depth information than the 1956 guide. In practice, however, it must be used only in conjunction with the 1956 guide and the 1994 new short directory (see above), because it lacks adequate data about the fonds themselves, the history of their creating agency, bibliography of reference aids, and indexes. A key-word searchable floppy disk is available at an extra cost.