The Archive of the Foreign Policy of Imperial Russia [Архив внешней политики Российской империи] in addition to the information on the foreign policy of the Imperial Russia, also has some information stretching back to ancient Russia. It is housed in a purpose-built facility in central Moscow.
AVPRI is not a difficult archive to access and use. Researchers report positive experience with this archive.
Try to email your propusk documents 3-4 weeks in advance.
Getting a Propusk
Documents needed to get propusk: You will need both a letter from your university and a letter from a Russian institution vouching for your research topic. Generally, the more letters you can get, the better. You will also need a cover letter describing, in detail, your project and what type of documents you would like to see.
Time to get propusk: 1-3 weeks. You do not actually get a physical propusk. Once they email you permission, they have you on a list of allowed persons. That is enough.
Institution letter template (should be on official letterhead):
Директору Архива внешней политики Российской империи
Поповой Ирине Владимировне
Уважаемая Ирина Владимировна,
Прошу Вашего разрешения на ознакомление с материалами архива (RESEARCHER’S NAME, TITLE, POSITION), в рамках темы (ее/его) исследования (RESEARCH NAME, PURPOSE (DISSERTATION, BOOK, ETC)).
(TITLE, NAME, POSITION OF INSTITUTION OFFICIAL)
Working the Archive
Time between request of delo and receipt: varies from 1 week to 1 month.
Maximum delo that can be requested at one time: 5
Price for making photocopies: Price for making photocopies: the archive will make up to 20 copies for free. After that, you are strictly limited to making notes.
Problems: The putivoditel is not generally publically accessible. The archivist who reads your project description and document request will decide what you do and do not receive. This means be as clear and thorough as possible in your letter. Keep in mind that if you are not explicit enough, they will reject the application. If you are too specific, you might block yourself from asking for any peripheral documents to your subject. You will need to find a happy medium – and give yourself lots of time to find that happy medium. Laptops are allowed.
Address: Bolshaya Serpukhovskaya ulitsa, 15 (Serpukhovskaya metro station).
You will have to walk around the left side of the building. Go to the left side of the building and walk to the gate at the back.
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 9:30-17:00.
Wednesday, Friday: 9:30-15:00.
Closed on Saturday and Sunday.
Last working day of the month – sanitary day.