Russian State Archive of Socio-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: unlimited, in principle

Microfilm Copies:
Photos from the microfilm projector may be made, with permission, for free. Paper copies will run from 40-52 rubles per copy, depending on the age and type of material.

Document Copies:
Prices vary according to the age and type of document. Photos may be taken, with permission, for 14-63 rubles each. Photocopies can be ordered for 27-77 rubles each and may take over a month to process. Scans can run from 44-207 rubles each and generally take less time to process in addition to being of higher quality. Some very old documents may be available for only scans.

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

Scheduling practices:
To visit the RGASPI main reading room at Bolshaya Dmitrovka 15, you must come with an ID and a letter from university/research organization. RGASPI main reading room at Bolshaya Dmitrovka 15 is generally open to all who come.

To visit the reading room at Profsoyuznaya Street 52, a researcher must make an appointment by calling (495) 718-69-85 . We have not tested the room at Profsoyuznaya yet. If you have, let us know how your experience went by sending us an email.


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

Community Maintained Information

Community Maintained Articles are updated by our staff, partners, the researchers we assist, and great folks like you. If you see something missing, outdated, or wanting in the above resource, please write to our editors.

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Andrei Nesterov

Andrei Nesterov leads SRAS' Research Services, performing remote archive research and consultations for researchers around the globe. Andrei graduated from Ural State University (journalism) and Irkutsk State Linguistic University (English). He also studied public policy and journalism at Duke University on a Muskie Fellowship and taught Russian at West Virginia University. As a journalist, he has reported in both Russian and English language outlets and has years of archival research experience. He has travelled Russia extensively and penned many stories on the “real Russia” which lies beyond the capital and major cities. Andrei also contributes news, feature stories, and language resources to the SRAS Family of Sites.

Program attended: All Programs

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