The Russian State Military Historical Archive: A Guide

The Russian State Military Historical Archive The Russian State Military Historical Archive - Main Entrance

The Russian State Military Historical Archive (RGVIA; Российский государственный военно-исторический архив) is one of the largest archives in Russia. Its focus is on documents concerning the Russian Army from the end of the 1700s to 1918. RGVIA is located at a beautiful palace built in 1699, known as Lefortovo Palace, originally built as a gift to a military leader favored by Peter I.

Overall Experience

RGVIA has a small reading room and a copying department on the second floor of Lefortovo Palace.  The building itself is is on the premises of Bauman Technical University near Baumanskaya Metro Station in Moscow, Russia.

The Russian State Military Historical Archive reading room offers individual places for working with archival originals, and computers for viewing the publicly accessible scanned documents. There are many sockets, and the lunch break is very short, only 20 minutes, so a researcher can comfortably work all day long.

RGVIA is quite slow, however. Waiting for an appointment can take up to 20 days. Getting permission and photographing files on your own can take up to 45 days. If you order scans, be prepared to wait at least two months.

Prep Beforehand

RGVIA Putevoditel is available on-line.

Procedures have been modified recently for safety under the current conditions of COVID-19.

  1. To access the reading room, a special visit is required first to sign up for RGVIA services, and only after that, a researcher can order documents. Appointments for signing up and for next visits are made by calling the reading room at +7 (499) 267-44-62. Appointments must be made on weekdays and no more than one appointment may be made at one time.
  2. Users must wear a mask while on the archive premises. Antiseptic handwashing stations are available. Social distancing of at least 1.5 meters must be maintained.
  3. Eating in all rooms and halls of the archive is prohibited. There are cafeterias in the building across the road.
  4. Used masks and gloves must be left in a special receptacle when leaving the archive to ensure their subsequent disposal.

To sign up for RGVIA services, you need to fill out an application (заявление) during your “sign up” visit to RGVIA. You will be given a template by the archivist, you will need to indicate your research topic and date ranges.

Getting a Propusk

Documents needed: Passport (w/registration); color photo 3×4 cm; letter from your university. A zayavleniye must be filled out upon arrival.

Time: 15 minutes, on site.

Zayavleniye template:

Директору РГИА Гаркуша И.О.

From (Last name, first name, address, tel, e-mail, passport)


Прошу разрешить пользоваться фондами РГВИА для работы по теме:_____

Хронологические рамки исследования ___

Подпись, Дата

Otnoshenie (Institution letter template (should be on official letterhead)):

Директору Российского государственного военно-исторического архива Гаркуша Ирине Олеговне

Уважаемая Ирина Олеговна!

Прошу предоставить возможность для работы с фондами РГВИА сотруднику                                               (RESEARCHER’S NAME, TITLE, POSITION) работающему по теме (TOPIC, TIME FRAMES).

С уважением,


Working the Archive

Working days between requesting materials and receipt: 3 days
Maximum delo that can be requested at one time: 10

Photos/Photocopies/Scans: Scans vary in cost based on age and size of document.  For example, scans of documents of XIX-XX centuries are 162 roubles per page. Photos taken from a smartphone will cost 49 rubles per page photographed.


Address: 3, 2nd Baumanskaya Street (Baumanskaya metro station)
Phone:  +7 (499) 267-44-62

Website: click here

Working hours:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 09:00-17:00

Wednesday 10:00-20:00
Fri – 10:00-16:00
Closed Sat and Sun, every last Fri of a month

More Guides

For more guides, see the archvial guide main page.

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