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Agency: Arkhivnaia sluzhba Ministerstva oborony Rossiiskoi Federatsii
[Archival Service of the Ministry of Defence of Russian Federation]
General'nyi shtab Vooruzhennykh Sil RF (Genshtab VS RF)
[General Staff of the Armed Forces]
Established in 1936 as a separate Division of Archives within the Administration of Affairs of the People's Commissariat of Defense (NKO), in 1944 the archive was moved to the military compound in Podol'sk (Moscow Oblast). In July 1947 it was reorganized as the Archive of the Ministry and directly subordinated to the General Staff. In 1975, the archive acquired an official status as the central archive for all military agencies with its present name.
This centralized repository retains all records of the Soviet Army (before 1958, Red Army) and the Ministry of Defense of the USSR RF that are destined for permanent preservation, dating from the beginning of the Second World War (the Great Patriotic War) and also the postwar period.
The archive holds the records of central organs of military command, including the Ministry (before 1947 Commissariat) of the Armed Forces (after 1953, of Defense), the General Staff, the chiefs of staff of all branches of the Armed Forces (except for the Navy), the staffs of all branches of the special services (special troops), and also the Chief Intelligence Directorate (Glavnoe razvedyvatel'noe upravlenie--GRU).
The organization and arrangement of fonds follows the organization of the Army itself. Hence there are separate fonds for administrations of military regions or districts (okruga), fronts, armies, divisions, troop units, military-training and scientific-research establishments, and other military organizations and enterprises of the Soviet Army as organized after 1941. There are records of battles, reports, and informational documentation, as well as personnel records and CPSU/Komsomol documents. There are records of political organs within the Armed Forces, and CPSU and Komsomol organizations that were active during different periods.
The archive also retains personal papers of a number of prominent military figures.
N.B. Earlier records of the Red Army from 1918 to 1940 are held in RGVA (B-8). Current records of the General Staff from at least the last thirty years are maintained in the special agency archive. Records of the State Committee on Defense (Gosudarstvennyi komitet oborony--GKO), and directives of the Supreme Commander in Chief (Verkhovnoe Glavnokomandovanie--VGK) during World War II are held in the Archive of the President (AP RF, C-1) and RGASPI (B-12). Civil records of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SVAG) during the postwar period are held in GA RF (B-1).
Access for Russian and CIS citizens for declassified documents requires a formal letter to the Chief of the archive. Access for foreign citizens requires a letter addressed to the First Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces from the researcher's sponsoring institution.
Starting in 1990, some records of troop units, divisions, formations, and armies to the level of military "fronts" were declassified for the period of the Second World War. Access remains highly restricted for most researchers, and especially foreigners, since the holdings are considered to contain political and military secrets, and many of them have not been adequately processed for public research.
Currently there is no adequate description of the holdings.