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Central Archives of the Russian Defence Ministry

The Central Archives of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation was created according to the order No. 126 of the People's Commissar of Defence of the USSR, dated July 2, 1936, as the Archival Department of the People's Commissariat of Defence (PCD). Now they represent a system of archives of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation composed of the head institution in the city of Podolsk (Moscow Region), thirteen branches in the Military Districts and five archival departments in the Fleets.

The Central Archives of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation have in their storage 20,244,243 archive files and 60,477,024 military medical documents, of which 10,951,948 archive files relate to the period of the Great Patriotic War. They are the documentary memory of our people’s feat during that war, the greatest of all the wars.

The documents that are kept in the Central Archives of the RF Defence Ministry reflect the history of our country and its Armed Forces from 1941 to the present.

The main tasks that the Central Archives of the RF Ministry of Defence were solving during their existence and continue to be solving are as follows: acceptance of archival documents for storage from bodies of military command and control, military units and organisations of the RF Ministry of Defence; providing military-scientific and historical work on insertion of archival documents into scientific circulation; counteraction against attempts to falsify history; ensuring legitimate rights and interests of citizens by means of providing them with archival certificates, copies and extracts from documents; declassification of archival documents; participation in development of normative legal acts and methodological recommendations on archival matters and documentation management in the Armed Forces; ensuring protection of state secrets in the process of archival work; participation in congress and exhibition activities.

During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, archival functionaries made a huge and laborious work to receive archival documents for storage from the active troops. On the basis of the Directive of the Red Army’s General Staff of July 6, 1941, No. 588930s ‘On preservation of archival documents during the Great Patriotic War and removal of the PCD’s Archival Department into the depth of the country’ the Archives were evacuated to the city of Buzuluk (Orenburg Region), where they were until 1946. During the war, archival workers repeatedly went to the fronts, and also regularly received archival documents from the troops.

In the Central Archives of the RF Ministry of Defence there are documents that reveal the daily activities of the Armed Forces, participation of formations and units in such postwar conflicts as: war in Korea in 1950-1953; events in Hungary in 1956; combat actions in the Middle East in the 60s and 70s; war in Afghanistan; combat actions on establishing constitutional order in the North Caucasus, liquidation of the Chernobyl disaster.

The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation is constantly working to fill the portal ‘Memory of the people’, through which users have an opportunity to get the most complete information about the Great Patriotic War’s events in 1941-1945, including information from the website ‘Memorial’ (publicly accessible data bank about the dead and missing during the Great Patriotic War) and the website ‘Feat of the People’ with information about award documents of the Soviet Army’s servicemen. More than 80,000,000 archival pages are placed in these information resources selected and prepared by archivists. In addition, within this work the fortunes of more than 760,000 servicemen, previously reported as missing, have been disclosed.

Representatives of public military-patriotic organisations and search groups of the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan, foreign researchers, and employees of Russian scientific institutions regularly work at the Archives. Since 2011, the reading room of the Central Archives of the RF Defence Ministry has been visited by 46,639 researchers, while 142,164 archive files were provided to them.

In 1986, the Central Archives of the Ministry of Defence were awarded with the Order of Red Star for a significant contribution to preservation of documents and active participation in historical researches.

On August 26, 2016, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin announced his gratitude to the staff of the Central Archives of the Russian Defence Ministry for the great contribution to creation of the Archival Fund of the Russian Federation and development of archivistics in the RF Armed Forces.

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