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ArcheoBiblioBase: Archives in Russia: C-6

Last update of repository: 9 June 2017

Tsentral'nyi arkhiv Federal'noi sluzhby bezopasnosti RF (TsA FSB Rossii)


Total: over 500,000 units units, 1917–to present

The archive retains the records produced from all sectors, forms, and operations of the central organs of the KGB of the USSR and the Russian Federation, together with most of those of their predecessor agencies. The archive holds various categories of records and types of documentation with their own specialized recordkeeping system.
        First of all, the records of secret operations (Fond sekretnogo deloproizvodstva—SD) include informational memoranda and reports to administrative organs of the USSR and RSFSR, normative documents, decrees (prikazy), orders (ukazaniia), instructions, correspondence, plans and reports, and other documents relating to intelligence and counterintelligence operations and administrative activities from 1918 to the present—with the classification of “specially important” (osoboi vazhnosti), top secret (sovershenno sekretno), or secret.
        Operational files should be considered a separate category, namely, dossiers or archival-investigatory files kept on Soviet and foreign citizens suspected of counterrevolutionary, anti-Soviet, or antistate activities. These include both operational investigative reports on individuals and personal or working files of agents. Many of these files were designated only for temporary retention, and hence there has been extensive destruction of earlier files.
        Another category of records include files on citizens accused of anti-Soviet or counterrevolutionary activities and for whom criminal proceedings were instituted, including those accused as enemy accomplices (“posobniki”) during World War II, spies, contrabandists, speculators in foreign currency (“valiutchiki”), NKVD–KGB agents accused of falsification of investigatory files, and those incarcerated during the war. In this connection are two separate groups of records: (a) completed files for the rehabilitation of citizens, and (b) unfinished files, which are still being considered for rehabilitation, and files on individuals who were refused rehabilitation. This category likewise includes a large fond of copies from protocols (resolutions) or transcripts of sittings of various extra-judicial organs involved in summary jurisdiction, such as the Special Sessions of the Ministry of State Security (Osoboe soveshchanie MGB) and its predecessors, the Cheka–OGPU–NKVD–MVD, predating 1953.
        So-called filtration (fil'tratsionnye) files consist of the extensive records involving repatriation verification after the Second World War (1944–1949) of individuals in enemy-occupied territories, those who were taken to Germany for forced labor, or ones who were incarcerated in concentration or displaced-person camps. This group of materials also includes extensive “trophy” Nazi records or reports and analysis thereof, which were prepared after the war in connection with the campaign against alleged Volksdeutsche or other suspected Nazi sympathizers. Other groups of records include extensive files and reports on former imperial high officials, prerevolutionary police and penal officials, and White Army officers.
        A final category is formed of personnel records of employees and contact agents associated with central organs of the VChK, KGB, and other predecessor agencies, including those who worked in prisons, psychiatric hospitals, and isolation facilites. These encompass service records, autobiographical data, and recommendations and character reports (kharakteristiki). They also include personnel and operating files on security agents in operational or partisan groups involved in intelligence, counterintelligence, and diversional operations behind enemy lines during the war. There is also documentation of the special NKVD–KGB administrative inspection of cadres to determine illegal or suspect security agents.
        The archive retains a number of separate collections of documents generated by agency activities, including manuscripts of repressed citizens, miscellaneous photographic collections, and Cheka weekly summary reports (svodki) from each guberniia. There is a collection of documents relating to activities of various religious organizations, with seized documentation of abolished religious institutions. There are special collections of personal papers of early security service leaders, with copies of autograph documents and other materials relating to F.E. Dzerzhinskii (Dzierżyński) and V.R. Menzhinskii.
        A collection of film and photographic documents includes educational and documentary films and photographic materials documenting special KGB anniversaries.
        Through agreement with the FSB (then FSK) and Rosarkhiv (30 November 1994), in 1995, documents of the prerevolutionary imperial police relating to the travels of Nicholas II throughout Russia were transferred to GA RF from the TsA FSB. Plans call for the transfer of reports on former officers of the White Army, “filtration” reports and verification data on Germans that were held in special detention camps within the Soviet Zone of Occupation in Germany, and “trophy” materials relating to Soviet citizens of German background—the so-called Volksdeutsche (some of these materials from Moscow and Moscow oblast administrations have been transferred to GA RF).
        In recent years, and on many earlier occasions, there have also been some transfers of KGB-seized documents to appropriate state literary archives or museums. The process has received considerable press coverage recently, especially in connection with the rehabilitation of political and cultural leaders, while many earlier transfers were not publicly acknowledged at the time.

N.B. As noted above, documentation of KGB agencies for Moscow and Moscow Oblast are held in a separate agency archive (see D-11), as are those for St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast (see D-28).

ABB ArcheoBiblioBase Archeo Biblio Base Patricia Kennedy Grimsted