Stalin's personal archives exposed

About 100,000 documents from the archives of Joseph Stalin and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union became available to the general public. The legendary leader is presented in the materials as both a statesman and the man he was in every day life.

Rosarchiv (Russian Archives) announced the launch of a new website called Documents of the Soviet Era, where one may find materials from Stalin's personal foundation. It took experts five years to digitize them.

The "Fund of Stalin" section of the website is divided into five categories: "Own Documents", "Books from the Library of Stalin with his notes," "Biographical documents," "Greetings to Stalin in connection with his 70th anniversary", "Letters and telegrams sent due to the illness and death of Stalin."

The documented assets of other major figures of Soviet history - Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Molotov - will be converted in electronic form soon too.

The project is based on documents from the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History - the former Central Party Archive of the CPSU, Andrei Artizov, the head of Russian Archives, said Tuesday during the presentation of the website.

All materials are divided into two blocks: materials of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party for the years 1919-1933 and materials from the private fund of Stalin.

The total volume of the published documents makes up 390,000 pages, or about 100,000 documents. Now it is possible to read documents on the website and make printouts of them. Visitors can also get codes for sharing materials on Twitter and Facebook. 

Artizov pointed out the importance of the publication of documents in light of the work on a new textbook on history.

"The process of self-identification of modern Russia will not be completed until we all together develop a balanced approach to the Soviet era. The approach that will be based on objective analysis that would give a sober assessment of both the achievements and the price of that time that people had to pay for those achievements," said Artizov.

The rector of the State Humanitarian University, historian Yefim Pivovar, shares a similar opinion.

"The informative and methodical element of this process is highly important. We are preparing new textbooks on history. These materials that were previously unavailable to a wide range of readers should be reflected in textbooks for middle and high school," said the rector.

"There is a lot of discussion going on about these subjects, and open access to this information will brush some radical positions aside," he added.

The head of Russian Archives also said that the English version of the website will soon be available in other countries, particularly in the U.S.. "It will be a paid subscription, and a part of the future income will be transferred to the Russian budget," he said.

According to Artizov, Russian Archives plans to make a series of publications for the 70th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War. The publications will be about the activities of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany, the documents that were seized in Nazi Germany and documents of the National Defense Commission.

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov