ArcheoBiblioBase: Archives in Russia: C 2

Arkhiv vneshnei politiki Rossiiskoi Federatsii (AVP RF)

[Archive of Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation]

Agency: Ministerstvo inostrannykh del RF (MID Rossii)
[Ministry of Foreign Affairs]
Istoriko-dokumental'nyi departament (IDD)
[Historico-Documentary Department]


Address: 121200, Moscow, Plotnikov per., 11
Telephone: (495) 241-04-80; Fax: (495) 244-44-11, 244-27-80; RdngRm: 241-51-12; 241-02-96
Hours: M-Th 10:00-17:00; F 10:00-15:00 ([2006]: August-12 September closed)
Head: Nadezhda Pavlovna Mozzhukhina (tel. 244-29-70)
Head of Reading Room: Sergei Vital'evich Pavlov (tel. 241-51-12)

Previous Names

  • 1946-1991 - Arkhiv vneshnei politiki SSSR (AVP SSSR)
    [Archive of Foreign Policy of the USSR]
  • 1926-1946 - Politicheskii arkhiv NKID SSSR
    [Political Archive of the People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs]
  • 1920-1926 - Obshchii arkhiv Narkomata inostrannykh del RSFSR-SSSR (Obshchii arkhiv NKID)
    [General Archive of the People's Commisariat of Foreign Affairs]

About AVP RF

In 1992, the Archive of Foreign Policy of the USSR (AVP SSSR) was renamed AVP RF, and since 1993 operates as a division of IDD MID (see C-02).

The archive retains the records of the Ministry (pre-1946--People's Commissariat) of Foreign Affairs from the period since 1917. A group of 30 fonds from the 1920's and 1930's comprise the records of the secretariats of successive Commissars and their deputies, including their official diplomatic correspondence with foreign countries. The archive stores the separate records of all Soviet embassies abroad. Special collections of records relate to various international conferences, including the peace conferences at Brest-Litovsk (1918) and Genoa (1922); conferences under the aegis of the League of Nations; conferences of Tehran (1943), Yalta (1945), and Potsdam (1945); the founding conference of the UN in San Francisco (1945), and others. Other fonds include personal papers of Soviet diplomatic officials. There is a special collection of treaties, agreements, and other documents concluded with foreign countries, as well as a separate collection of photographs.


Researchers normally do not have access to any documents less than thirty years old. As of spring 2003, apparently declassification is not proceeding, and MID does not intend to open research in what authorities view as a relatively closed agency archive. Many fonds with records of Soviet embassies abroad and some administrative fonds are available through 1967. Many categories of documentation, such as ciphered cables and annual reports (godichnye otchety) from embassies, however, remain classified. Many memoranda of meetings (zapisi besed) through 1947 have been declassified, but those starting with 1947 are not open for research. Special exceptions for access to normally closed (or not yet declassified) documentation are sometimes made for special collaborative projects or the preparation of international documentary publications.

Requests for access should be presented in an official letter from the researcher's sponsoring institution or Embassy, either to the director of the archive or to IDD MID, at least one month in advance. Such a letter should indicate the researcher's institutional affiliation and position, purpose of research, precise topic, files needed, and date or prospective visit. If a foreigner will require an interpreter such information should also be included. Due to limited space in the reading room, researchers should confirm their prospective visit no less than five days in advance.

It is recommended that prospective researchers write even further in advance indicating the subject and expected period of research, if their subject may require more sensitive materials and possible declassification.

Working Conditions

The archive operates under regulations established by MID together with those of Rosarkhiv. A copy of the restricted published guide listed below is available only for use in the reading room on special request. Only limited opisi are available to researchers.


Limited photocopying facilities are available. A separate contract for publication rights must be negotiated in all cases.

Recent General Guides

Additional information in Russian about the history and publications of AVP RF is available electronically at the IDD webpage:

  • Spravochnik po fondam Arkhiva vneshnei politiki RF. 1917-1962. Moscow: Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia, 2002. 416 p.
    The long-awaited short guide (Spravochnik) listing most of the AVP RF fonds was issued in December 2002 in a small press run, but has not been distributed to libraries and is not being offered for public sale. A copy is available to researchers only in the Reading Room.
  • Sokolov, Vladimir Vasil'evich. "Arkhiv vneshnei politiki RossiiskoiFederatsii istorikam." Novaia i noveishaia istoriia, 1992, no. 4, pp. 156 65. (Lib: DLC; IU; MH)
    The first serious published description of the history and holdings of the archive by the former director.
  • Holtsmark, Sven G., and Sokolov, Vladimir Vasil'evich. "Note on the Foreign Policy Archive of the Russian Federation." CWIHP Bulletin 3 (Fall 1993): 26, 52. (Lib: DLC; IU; MH)
    Describes the declassification in process and provides a helpful orientation as to the organization of holdings within AVP RF, including the ciphered telegrams.

Recent Specialized Finding Aids

  • Inaba, Chiharu. Russko-iaponskie diplomaticheskie otnosheniia 1917-1962 gg.: Katalog dokumentov (po materialam Arkhiva vneshnei politiki Rossiiskoi Federatsii). Vol. 2: (1917-1962). Tokyo: Nauka Ltd, 1996. viii, 540 p. Text and indexes in Russian. Added title page and preface in English and Japanese. (Lib: MH)
    A preliminary catalogue with file level descriptions, covering 3,602 files relating to Russian-Japanese relations from eight different record groups (including their additional recently declassified secret sections). Geographic, personal name, and subject indexes.