Before Perestroika: The Historical Background

  • R. W. Davies
Part of the Studies in Russian and East European History and Society book series (SREEHS)


The Soviet archival system dates back to a decree of the Council of People’s Commissars of 1 June 1918, signed by Lenin. This sought to establish a powerful agency to coordinate and control all archives.1 As in society at large, the influence of the centre, and ultimately of the Politburo, relentlessly increased from 1918 onwards.


Soviet Period State Archive Reading Room European History Secret Police 
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  1. 2.
    P. K. Grimsted, Intellectual Access and Descriptive Standards for Post-Soviet Archives (IREX, Princeton, NJ, 1992 ), pp. 9–10.Google Scholar
  2. 12.
    V. I. Lenin i VChK: sbornik dokumentov (1917–1922gg.) (1975) is the most important collection; it was competently edited by S. K. Tsvigun, a deputy head of the KGB who was later in disgrace and committed suicide.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© R. W. Davies 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. W. Davies
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Russian and East European StudiesUniversity of BirminghamUK

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