Foreign Policy Archive of the Russian Federation: A Guide

Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs - where the main reading room of AVP is located. Photo from Flikr.com. Used under Creative Commons.

The Foreign Policy Archive of the Russian Federation (Архив внешней политики Российской Федерации) was originally founded as The Foreign Policy Archive of the USSR in 1917. It is often referred to as “AVP,” after its Russian acronym. The archives of the Foreign Policy of Imperial Russia are also held here, as well as some information stretching back to ancient Russia. Funds are generally broken down by the related country, diplomat, meeting, or official they pertain to.

Overall Experience

AVP is one of the most difficult archives to access and use. Researchers report problems are common at nearly every step (outlined below)

Prep Beforehand

The main reading room is inside the actual Foreign Ministry Building, meaning that security it extremely tight and the propusk period, due to security checks, is very long. Try to fax your propusk documents in well in advance. Besides this, because the putivoditel is not available online, at bookstores, or even generally in the reading room, thus there is little preparation you can do beforehand besides facilitating the propusk process.

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 months.

Institution letter template (should be on official letterhead):

(DATE)

Архива внешней политики Российской Федерации
Золеевой Анне Николаевне

Уважаемая Анна Николаевна,

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)).

С уважением,

(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: if you find out a maximum, let us know!

Price for making photocopies: the archive will make up to 15-20 copies for free. After that, you are strictly limited to making notes.

Problems: The putivoditel is not generally publically accessible. Even if you get the putivoditel, you cannot request material through the putivoditel. 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. You will also need considerable time to request and re-request documents as, again, the archive itself will decide what to give you based on your description. Laptops are not allowed. Security is tight. Copies are very limited.

Logistics

Address: Plotnikov pereulok 11 (Smolenskaya metro station)
Phone: 7 499 241‑51-12, +7 499 244‑29-38
Website: click here
Email: click here

Working hours:

Monday 11:00–17:00;
Tuesday, Wednesday 10:00–17:00;
Thursday 11:00–17:00;
Friday 10:00–15:00.
Closed on Saturday and Sunday

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