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ArcheoBiblioBase: Archives in Russia: B-4Last update of repository: 8 June 2017
Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi voenno-istoricheskii arkhiv (RGVIA)
RGVIA, as most recently renamed in 1992, represents a centralized archive for military records of the Russian Empire, consolidating the holdings from various prerevolutionary Russian military archives and other repositories throughout the former Soviet Union.
The largest among the predecessors of RGVIA, which has for over a century occupied the present RGVIA building, was the Moscow Division of the Archive of the Inspectors’ Department of the General Staff, established in 1819. Traditionally known as the Lefort Archive after its transfer from the Kremlin to the Lefort Palace in 1865, it was officially called the Moscow Division of the General Archive of the General Staff and after 1906, the Moscow Division of the General Archive of the Main Administration of the General Staff (Moskovskoe otdelenie Obshchego arkhiva Glavnogo upravleniia General'nogo shtaba). It served as a centralized repository for military records of the Russian Empire.
In 1918 it was combined with the Military Science Archive of the General Staff (VUA, after 1906—VUA of the Main Department of the General Staff), transferred from Petrograd, which had grown out of the Imperial Map Depot, founded in 1797. At that point, the consolidated archive became the principal repository for the Moscow Division of the Third, or Military-Naval Section, of the so-called Consolidated State Archival Fond.
In 1925 the archive was enlarged with holdings from the former Moscow Military District Archive (Moskovskii voenno-okruzhnoi arkhiv), but documentation from the postrevolutionary Red Army was withdrawn to form a new independent archive (see B-8). At that time, the archive was recognized as a separate repository, the Military History Archive (Voenno-istoricheskii arkhiv), although it was then still administered as part of the Moscow Central Historical Archive. In 1933 it achieved a greater degree of autonomy as a separate institution and was renamed TsVIA, and in 1941—TsGVIA SSSR.
During 1956–1958 TsGVIA acquired the holdings of the former Leningrad Branch of the Military History Archive (LVIA, 1934–1941), which had grown out of the General Archive of the General Staff in St. Petersburg, and which, in turn, had originally been founded as the archive of the Inspector’s Department of the General Staff in 1819.
In January 1995 RGVIA was added to the federal register of the most valuable monuments of the cultural heritage of the peoples of the Russian Federation.