HU OSA 300-80 Soviet Red Archives

Identity Statement

Reference Code
HU OSA 300-80
Soviet Red Archives
1953 - 1994
Description Level
Extent and medium (processed)
2652 Archival boxes, 331.5 linear meters


Name of creator(s)
Soviet Red Archives

Content and Structure

Scope and Content (Abstract)

Radio Liberty established the Soviet Red Archives in 1953 for the purpose of extracting reliable and accurate data from the massive body of media produced in the Soviet republics. Each piece of information was filed according to a subject classification. When necessary, files were cross-referenced to ensure greater access to information.The primary sources for the Soviet Red Archives were Soviet periodicals available abroad (the so-called “central" newspapers: Pravda, Izvestiia, Trud, etc.); a wide range of Soviet magazines and various scientific journals; transcripts and informational summaries gathered from monitoring Soviet radio and television; and Soviet news agency releases. When Radio Liberty started collecting Samizdat materials in 1968, staff incorporated many of these items into the Soviet Red Archives. In addition, Western publications and Radio Liberty materials such as broadcast transcripts, research materials and press releases, were also collected and filed with the other materials.

Although in existence and used by staff at Radio Liberty for over fifty years (1953-1994), the Soviet Red Archives does not represent all time periods consistently. Most of the early records were lost, although topics considered by the staff to be of particular importance (such as Armed Forces and CPSU: Central Committee) remain Originally only a subject file, the Soviet Red Archives later grew to include biographical files.

In 1992, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the staff of Radio Liberty introduced a new classification system for the Soviet Red Archives. This system included separate files for each of the former Soviet republics (New Code Republics Files); files to document events affecting the Baltic states as a group (Baltic Files); files for subjects pertaining only to the Commonwealth of Independent States; All-Union General Files for subjects not easily divisible by republics; and New Code Subject Files for subjects relating to the former Soviet Union. Staff began to move the older files including records originating from the RFE/RL Library (mainly based on Western sources) into the new classification system, but the project was never completed.

Not Expected

Conditions of Access and Use

Conditions governing access
Croatian, Czech, English, French, German, Russian

Description Control

Archivist's note
Processed by Jennie Levine, Irida Tase, Olga Zaslavskaya and Natalia Lekant, 1994; revised by Natasha Zanegina, 2001; revised by Jennie Levine, 2004.