Russian State Archive of Social-Political History: A Guide

RGASLI image from Wikimapia.

The Russian State Archive of Social and Political History (Российский государственный архив социально-политической истории) was created in March 1999 by combining the Russian Center for Storage and Study of Documents of Recent History (RTsKhIDNI, before 1991 – the Central Party Archive) and The Center for Storage of Documents of Youth Organizations (TSHDMO, until 1992 – the Central Archive of the Komsomol). Current fonds continue to focus on the former Communist Party of the USSR, its various institutions, publications, bureaus, congresses, and leaders. Other fonds look at social movements abroad.

Overall Experience

RGASPI has several reading rooms, each with an individual archivist in charge who vary in their personality types and helpfulness. Overall, however, the archive is generally accessible and professional.

Prep Beforehand

RGASPI ‘s putivoditel is available at many libraries and on sale rather affordably at the RGASPI bookstore. It is recommend you locate and browse it beforehand.

RGASPI has an on-line database listing its many fonds.

To order materials from RGASPI in advance, a scholar should send an email a week prior to his/her arrival, and attach an official letter from institution to the email. The email should be as follows:

Здравствуйте, уважаемые специалисты Российского государственного архива социально-политической истории.

К Вам обращается (NAME, POSITION).

Я провожу исследование (NAME OF RESEARCH, PURPOSE).

В рамках этой работы я планирую приехать в Москву и заниматься исследованием документов в РГАСПИ (DATE) этого года.

Прилагаю официальное письмо от моего института.

Обращаюсь с просьбой предоставить к моему приезду (ARRIVAL DATE) и приходу в РГАСПИ мне следующие документы:

Р5673 1: Name of file. Date of file

С уважением,

Getting a Propusk

Documents needed: Passport (w/registration). A letter from your university. A zayavleniye must be filled out in reading room one (on the fifth floor).
Time: 30 minutes.

Institution letter template (should be on official letterhead):


Российского государственного архива социально-политической истории
Сорокину Андрею Константиновичу

Уважаемый Андрей Константинович,

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,


Working the Archive

Working days between requesting delo and receipt: 3
Maximum delo that can be requested at one time: 10
Price for making photocopies: 30-40 rubles per page. The older materials are, the more expensive the price for copies is. The process can take over one month.

Problems: A large portion of the material is in microfilm. Unexpected closings or changes to the schedule are not posted on the site. If an archivist is trying to force a few opisi and dela on you, insisting that you need to take a look at them, humor that archivist for a while. They tend to take offense if you don’t at least look at what they are giving you.

Other: RGASPI has its own cafeteria, with a retro Euro atmosphere and continuous Soviet films on a big-screen TV.


Address: Bolhshaya Dmitrovka 15 (Chekhovskaya/Pushkinskaya/Tverskaya metro station)
Phone number: (495) 694-40-34
Website: click here

Working hours:

Monday 12:00-20:00
Tuesday 11:00-17:00
Wednesday 10:00-18:00
Thursday 11:00-17:00
Friday 9:30-16:30
The last Friday of each month – closed for sanitarny den

About the Author

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