The compilation of this list was made possible in part through the support of the Australian Research Council Discovery Projects War and Displacement: From the Soviet Union to Australia in the Wake of the Second World War (DP130101215; CIs: Sheila Fitzpatrick (University of Sydney) and Mark Edele (University of Western Australia)) and Rethinking the History of Soviet Stalinism (DP120104384; CIs: Stephen Wheatcroft (University of Melbourne) and Sheila Fitzpatrick (University of Sydney). The sources were initially collated, researched and annotated by Dr Iva Glisic. Later additions were made by Mark Edele.
This list continues to evolve. If you are aware of online sources you believe should be added, please email details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Website introduction is available in English, but all materials are in Russian.
This website contains a collection of published materials, including autobiographies, memoirs, samizdat literature, political and historical studies and works of literary fiction that express opposition to the Soviet system. It also provides links to other online collections of samizdat, memoir, and other literature.
This online project contains material from the personal archive of Russian historian Aleksandr Nikolaevich Iakovlev (1923-2005). It contains documents pertaining to Iakolev’s life and work, including books, interviews, speeches and photographs; information on Iakovlev’s International Democracy Foundation, which was founded in 1993 with the aim of identifying and publishing previously unknown documents pertaining to Russian 20th century history; and a database of historical sources.
Because of current politics of history in Russia, the above link might disappear. However, it has been archived here.
The website of the Federal Archival Agency of Russia contains, alongside a wealth of other information, the electronic versions of numerous archival guides (Section Arkhivnyi fond Rossiiskoi Federatsii – Putevoditeli po rossiiskim arkhivam) and information on published collections of archival material (Section Izdaniia i publikatsii). The website also provides information and links to other relevant online archival projects.
Assotsiatsiia ‘Zapomnim i sokhranim’, Tsentr dokumentatsii evreiskogo natsional’nogo dvizhenia v Sovetskom Soiuze
In Russian and English.
The website of the Association Remember and Save, Archive of the Jewish Aliya Movement in the Soviet Union. This website contains a series of interviews detailing the position of Jewish people in the Soviet Union from the Second World War until the 1970s and 1980s, when the majority of the interviewees emigrated to Israel. While most cover periods during the 1960s and 1970s in greater detail, many interviews touch upon the Doctors’ Plot, Stalin’s death, the anti-cosmopolitanism campaign, and reactions to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The World Festival of Youth in Moscow in 1957, which gave the opportunity to many young Jews to make connections with the Israeli delegation, is also frequently covered. Some interviewees discuss evacuation during the War, and life in Tashkent during and after the War.
The memoirs section within this website is quite substantial, containing approximately 80 entries. Most entries focus on the 1960s and 1970s, but there are examples which also cover earlier periods.
This website explores the uneasy alliance between Great Britain and the USSR during the Second World War, through a series of historical documents and broadcasts from the war years.
This archive contains interviews with famous Russian and Soviet cultural and political figures including, for example, an interview with Stalin’s daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn reading his novel One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.
In Russian and English.
This website contains a number of virtual exhibitions pertaining to the life and work of Boris Yeltsin, and Russia in the 1990s.
This resource assists researchers in locating resources pertaining to Russia both within the British Library and online.
Official site of the Russian Central Bank. Large number of volumes of declassified archival materials, covering, among other topics, the cadres of the State Bank of the Soviet Union (Gosbank), the interaction between Gosbank and Ministry of Finance, monetary policy, Soviet savings accounts, credit, the currency reform of 1947, the populations's income and expenditure from the 1920s to 1990, money in circulation during World War II, etc. etc. An essential resource for anybody interested in the economic history of the Soviet Union.
In multiple languages.
This portal – the Memory of Nations digitised archive of witnesses – was created in 2008 by three Czech institutions: the Post Bellum association, Czech Radio, and the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes. Its aim is to study 20th century totalitarian regimes (both Nazi and Communist), through the memories of witnesses and an engagement with various historical resources. The portal seeks to link and interconnect oral history projects that focus on similar topics from all over the world. It also contains an extensive collection of witness memories gathered by individuals, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, governmental and quasi-governmental agencies in Europe.
In English, German, and Hungarian.
Centropa is non-profit, Jewish historical institute dedicated to preserving 20th century Jewish family stories and photos from Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans. The section ‘Centropa Interviews’ within the website contains a rich oral history source of Jewish life, which can be searched either by family name or by country.
This website contains a rich source of materials concerning the Cold War period.
This website contains bibliographies and a collection of published documents pertaining to Hungary during the Cold War.
The website of the Institute of Demography within the National Research University Higher School of Economics provides resources for the study of demographic development within Russia and abroad. It also contains census data from the Imperial and Soviet era.
This is an electronic library of dissertations covering all research fields published in Russia.
The website contains a collection of interviews with both Soviet and German veterans who participated in the Battle of Stalingrad, as well as historical accounts of the events associated with the Battle and information on Stalingrad Memorials. The interviews were conducted in 2009 and are part of Jochen Hellbeck’s book project on Stalingrad.
This project aims to create a database of biographies of those who have been awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union—the highest distinction in the country, which is awarded personally or collectively for heroic feats in the service to the Soviet state and society—as well as other major distinctions such as Hero of Socialist Labour. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, several of these distinctions continue to be awarded in Russia (such as Hero of the Russian Federation), and the website seeks to collect information on all recipients of these honours.
The Library of the Getty Research Institute provides access to a large digital collection of works of Russian Modernism.
In German and English.
A website of the German Historical Institute: “German History in Documents and Images (GHDI) is a comprehensive collection of primary source materials documenting Germany's political, social, and cultural history from 1500 to the present. It comprises original German texts, all of which are accompanied by new English translations, and a wide range of visual imagery. The materials are presented in ten sections, which have been compiled by leading scholars. All of the materials can be used free of charge for teaching, research, and related purposes; the site is strictly intended for individual, non-commercial use.”
This is a project of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. It contains a collection of original documentaries; an archive of documents and images; and teaching and bibliographic resources pertaining to the Soviet Union’s vast system of forced labour camps.
This virtual museum houses a selection of sources on the history of the Gulag, including scholarly essays, documents, video materials, collections of images as well as a virtual tour of the Gulag camps. The project is supported by the non-profit educational organisation Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
The Harvard Project on the Soviet Social System Online provides access to digitised materials selected from the Harvard Project on the Soviet Social System (HPSSS). This collection consists chiefly of summary transcripts of 705 interviews conducted with refugees from the USSR during the early years of the Cold War. A unique source for the study of Soviet society between 1917 and the mid-1940s, the HPSSS includes vast amounts of one-of-a-kind data on political, economic, social and cultural conditions.
In Russian, with a selection of interviews also available in English.
This is a large online collection of oral history pertaining to the Soviet experience of the Second World War. Materials published on the website are all classified into one of three sections: Veterans of the Great Patriotic War (Veterany VOV); Allies and Enemies (Soiuzniki i protivniki); and Contemporaries (Sovremenniki). The Veterans section is the largest; it contains a collection of wartime accounts by veterans, organised by military branch. There are also separate categories for civilians. The much smaller Allies and Enemies section is organised by country, and includes interviews with people from Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Palestine, Serbia, Finland and Romania, as well as a section dedicated to the OUN-UPA. The Contemporaries section is dedicated to recollections by Russians and other citizens of the former Soviet Union who took part in other wars and conflicts, either in the time of the Soviet Union or in the wake of its dissolution, including conflicts in Korea, Angola, Vietnam and Afghanistan, as well as Egypt, Nagornyi Karabakh, Tajikistan and Chechnya.
In Russian and English.
The International Institute of Social History conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations. Its website contains a section on Russia, which lists webpages of Russian archives and libraries, data archives, research institutions, museums and other useful links.
Istoricheskie istochniki na russkom iazyke v Internete - Elektronnaia biblioteka Istoricheskogo fakul’teta MGU im. M. V. Lomonosova
This website is an electronic library of the Lomonosov Moscow State University’s History Faculty. It contains historical sources in Russian, as well as links to other relevant online resources.
The website contains a large selection of archival documents, published material, and statistical data pertaining to Russian history, as well as a collection of historical maps.
In English (recordings in Russian).
This archive contains voice recordings of various Russian political leaders, artists and journalists. It covers some of the major events of the 20th century, from excerpts from Malenkov’s and Beria’s speeches at the memorial for Stalin in 1953, to an interview with Sergei Khrushchev about his father recorded in 1992.
In Russian and English.
This website contains material pertaining to the work of the NKVD–NKGB–MGB–KGB in the Baltic States. There are documents of different KGB departments, which show the differences in their work across the countries. All of the documents are scanned from the originals and contain added descriptions, with the source searchable by a range of means including by name, place and date, KGB department, or document title.
In English and Russian
Another list of links to useful primary sources, archival finding aids, and research advice.
In Russian and English.
Independent Russian opinion polling and sociological research. Includes polling data on current politics but also on historical topics. Want to know Putin's approval rating, or who the most popular historical person is to Russians today? Find the data here.
The full run of Lenin's collected works (published in Moscow in 1967-81) available here for download as pdf.
In English and other languages.
This website contains Trotsky’s writings and biographies, alongside recollections about Trotsky by his contemporaries, and a photo gallery.
Trotsky’s collected works in English are also available here.
This website contains a rich collection of historical materials pertaining to Russian history, including collections on the Crimean War; Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes; the Prokudin-Gorskii Collection, which contains material from his photographic survey of the Russian Empire between 1905 and 1915; the Brumfield Collection, containing photographs documenting the architectural heritage of pre-Soviet Russia; the Hannah Arendt papers; and the Veterans History Project, among others.
In English and other languages.
The Marxist Internet Archive contains a large selection of writings which are Marxist or relevant to the understanding of Marxism, in an array of different languages.
In English and Russian.
This website contains a collection of published primary sources and research articles on the history of the Soviet Union, divided into five main categories: politics, repression, demography, economic history, and famine.
“Memorial”, Mezhdunarodnoe istoriko-prosvetitel’skoe, pravozashchitnoe i blagotvoritel’noe obshchestvo
In Russian and other languages.
The Memorial Society is an international historical, educational and human rights organisation, which seeks to preserve the memory of political repression in Russia. The Society is focussed on the history of political terror in the USSR, the Gulag, resistance to the regime and dissident movements during the Khrushchev-Brezhnev era.
The website contains a rich collection of sources. A significant component of the website is the section ‘Mezhdunarodnyi Memorial’ – ‘Programmy i proekty, Istoricheskie programmy,’ which offers an explanation of the main projects sponsored by the Society.
Of particular interest for those working on the Great Terror, the directory of personnel working for the State Security Organs in the USSR between 1935 and 1939, compiled by A. N. Zhukov, contains brief information on almost 40,000 NKVD members.
The Italian branch of the Memorial Society, together with Fondazione Cariplo, also maintains a website pertaining to Italian prisoners in the Gulag.
The Society is focussed on 20th century history, and especially issues of violence, human rights, justice and totalitarianism; it also maintains a collection of documents on Italian victims of Stalinist repression. The website contains material relating to the mass deportation of the Italian community from Crimea to Kazakhstan, as well as a collection of testimonies, records and published sources pertaining to Italians in the Soviet Union.
The Krasnoiarsk branch of the Memorial Society also offers a selection of materials on victims of Stalinist repression.
The OBD Memorial (obobshchennyi bank dannykh ‘Memorial’) website contains documents drawn from several major archives pertaining to the losses of the Red Army during the Second World War. It contains information on those who lost their lives on the battlefield or went missing in action, as well as on soldiers who returned from captivity or encirclement. The project was initiated and is curated by the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, with the aim of preserving the memory of those who fought for the country.
This website contains materials pertaining to the life and work of Anatoly Lunacharsky, who served as the head of the Commissariat of Enlightenment between 1917 and 1929, as well as his numerous essays, articles, and literary work.
In English (materials in Russia).
The National Security Archive serves as an investigative journalism centre, a research institute on international affairs, a library and an archive of declassified US documents. The website contains a Russian page that lists all of the projects and databases containing materials on Russia and the Soviet Union including, for example, the Sergo Mikoyan archive, the Perestroika archive, material on the dissident movement in the USSR, and the diaries of Mikhail Gorbachev’s close assistant, Anatoly Cherniaev.
This website also contains transcripts of interviews conducted for the CNN program Cold War (1998-1999). This collection includes, for example, interviews with Iuri Ivanovich Modin, Oleg Aleksandrovich Troianovskii, and Yevgeni Yevtushenko.
In Russian (with English navigation).
Netfilm is an archive of Russian documentary, scientific, educational and feature films, and newsreels. The catalogue can be searched by topic, genre, type, year or film studio; the collection also contains film materials pertaining to the Second World War.
In English (archival guide is available in English and Hungarian).
The Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archive at the Central European University is a repository of collections, primarily related to the history of the Cold War. The archival holdings include fonds on Communism, the Cold War, and their Afterlife (including the Radio Free Europe collection and personal papers of a range of political and cultural figures from the Cold War era). A Human Rights section includes fonds created by non-governmental and supra-governmental organisations, as well as individuals active in post-war Central and Eastern Europe documenting human rights violations and war crimes (including the UN Expert Commission on Investigating War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia, the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, Index on Censorship, and the Physicians for Human Rights). Finally, a section dedicated to the Open Society Network and the Central European University contains materials pertaining to both institutions.
The Archive also holds an audio-visual collection, which contains regional propaganda; historical, feature and documentary films; regional TV news programs; historical home movies; and amateur footage from the interwar period up to the present.
Open Vault provides online access to the content produced by the public television and radio station WGBH, including a series of interviews conducted in preparation for the PBS TV program War and Peace in the Nuclear Age (1989), for which both video recordings and transcripts are available. These interviews were conducted with a significant number of scientists, politicians, journalists and activists from the US, Soviet Union, Britain, Germany, France, Israel, Japan, India and Pakistan. The collection includes interviews with translator Valentin Berezhkov, Khrushchev’s son-in-law Aleksei Adzhubei, TASS special reporter and Soviet Ambassador to Cuba Aleksandr Alekseev, TASS correspondent Vladimir Bogachev, Brezhnev’s speechwriter Aleksandr Bovin, Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Gromyko, Soviet physicists Sergei Kapitsa and Sergei Policknov, and many others:
See also Race for the Superbomb (PBS film, 1999). This PBS documentary film follows the story of the nuclear arms race. The associated PBS website contains information on the film, as well as transcripts of the interviews conducted in producing this project. Of these, interviews with physicists German Goncharnov and Yuri Smirnov (both of whom recollect the death of Stalin), as well as with historian Vladislav Zubok (who speaks about his Stalin’s reaction to Hiroshima and his 1946 speech) and Soviet Army Major General Valentin Larionov may be of particular interest.
Interviews in Russian, with some material also translated into English.
This website contains interviews with survivors of the Stalin Terror, conducted in the course of research for Figes’ book The Whisperers.
Archival documents from the Russian Military Archive (TsAMO) about Great Patriotic War, including reports on fallen and missing in action, decorations, battle reports. Can be searched for individuals. A research guide (in English) is available here.
This website, maintained by the Russian State Archive, contains a collection of photographs, film materials and audio recordings (of, for example, popular frontline songs) pertaining to the Soviet experience of the Second World War. The material can be searched by theme or type (audio, photo, or film).
This is an electronic database of documents maintained by the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation containing material on the course of various military operations during the Second World War, as well as documents on the achievements and formal military decorations awarded to the members of the Soviet Army.
In Polish, Jiddish, German, Ukrainian
Reproduction of Polish newspapers from September 1939.
The main purpose of the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library is to preserve and provide electronic access to national cultural heritage relating to Russian State and Russian language. The website includes documents and publications organised in a series of collections.
Project Jukebox is a digital branch of the Oral History Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. It contains over 50 projects related to Alaska’s history. Cold War in Alaska: Nike Missile Sites represents one of the Jukebox projects pertaining to Alaska’s role in the Cold War and its numerous missile sites and radar stations. This project contains the personal stories of veterans who worked at missile sites in Alaska, and other individuals who played significant roles in the Cold War (including for example, an interview with Sergei Khrushchev).
In Russian and other languages.
Online collection of propaganda posters of Soviet and other origin.
REESWeb - The world wide web virtual library for Russian and East European Studies, The University of Pittsburgh
REESWeb is a virtual library covering Russia and Eastern Europe hosted by the University of Pittsburgh. It contains lists of websites that are categorised for ease of research, with users able to browse by subject, geography, culture or chronology. All linked websites are annotated to provide users with a good idea of what they should expect to find.
In English and Russian
Compiled by two leading economic historians, Gijs Kessler and Andrei Markevich, this website makes available a wide range of historical statistics from both published and unpublished sources. No matter if you need data on population, labor, industrial or agricultural output, capital assets and investments, land use, price and rent -- you will find it here.
This website is dedicated to the history of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army. It contains documents pertaining to the organisation and structure of the Army, information on the various military uniform types, and a collection of military maps.
Russia's Great War and Revolution is a decade-long multinational scholarly effort that aims to fundamentally transform understanding of Russia's “continuum of crisis” during the years 1914-1922. The project incorporates new research methods, archival sources, and multiple media formats and aims to increase public awareness of Russia¹s contribution to twentieth century history. The website contains contributions from a large group of historians on various topics from military affairs, international affairs and the home front, to arts and culture.
In Russian, with English navigation.
The website of the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg contains a ‘Digital Library’ section, which contains manuscripts and archive documents; unique prints; early printed and hand painted maps; rare books and other materials. It also provides access to various online collections including, for example, images of St. Petersburg between 1900-1941. The website also contains information on a substantial list of online resources.
In Russian and English.
This is the website of the Russian State Library in Moscow. Alongside practical information for visitors, it also contains a digital library.
In Russian and English.
The Sakharov Centre is a museum and cultural centre in Moscow that is devoted to the protection of human rights in Russia, as well as preserving the legacy of the prominent physicist and Nobel Prize winning human rights activist, Andrei Sakharov. The Centre's website contains a rich source of material and provides access to documents of the Sakharov archive, as well as an electronic library that contains both published and unpublished material.
Seventeen Movements in Soviet History, Michigan State University
An online archive of primary source materials (texts, images, and videos) pertaining to Soviet history from 1917 to 1991. The sources have been divided into several chronological sections, with each containing a number of sub-sections that are usually introduced by a short scholarly essay.
This website contains miscellaneous materials pertaining to the Second World War. It provides information on how to search for Soviet soldiers who were classified as missing in action, and those who died in Finnish captivity between 1941 and 1944. The website also contains various documents and wartime orders, and maps of road and railway networks across the USSR in the 1940s, as well as an annotated list of internet resources that contain materials pertaining to military topics.
In Russian with subtitles in English, French, and German
An online collection of Soviet movies, with or without subtitles. Watch a large selection of movies for a small registration charge. The full Russian version is here.
Collection of declassified documents from Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Documenting the history of the anti-Hiterl coalition in World War II.
In Russian and English.
The Stalin Digital Archive is a collaboration between the Russian State Archive of Social and Political History (RGASPI) and Yale University Press (YUP) which exists to maintain an electronic database of documents and images, and to publish material from the recently declassified Stalin archive in the holdings of RGASPI. This resource requires a paid subscription.
This website contains a large collection of primary sources and other documents pertaining to Joseph Stalin and his work, organised around themes such as collectivisation, repressions, church, and the army. It also contains recollections of Stalin by his contemporaries; Stalin’s collected works; a photo gallery; a collection of poems and songs about Stalin; and a list of links to other relevant online sources.
This portal, hosted by the University of Pittsburgh, offers a rich collection of visual material and artefacts relating to Joseph Stalin, including photographs, paintings, banner, sculptures, chinaware, pins and other paraphernalia.
Viacheslav Molotov's 1939 report on the Third Five-Year Plan. English translation published by Workers Library Publishers, New York. Excerpt: "The Third Five-Year Plan differs substantially from the First and Second Five-Year Plans. At that time the purpose was to lay the foundation of socialist society. Now socialist society has, in the main, been built. The Soviet Union has entered a new phase, the phase of completion of the building of classless, socialist society and of gradual transition from socialism to communism. That is the chief difference between the present and the earlier period." (p. 70). Instead, of course, the Soviet peoples were thrown into the most destructive war of the century, to emerge battered but victorious, in 1945.
This website contains various materials, primarily bio-bibliographical information, research tools, essays and miscellanies related to Leon Trotsky, and to Trotskyism and Trotskyists.
The Electronic Archive “Project for the Study of Dissidence and Samizdat” (PSDS) includes a database of Soviet samizdat periodicals, electronic editions of selected samizdat journals, illustrated timelines of dissident movements, and interviews with activists.
This internet portal lists a number of websites that contain resources relating to Russian and Soviet archival materials.
Of particular interest is the Introduction to Russian Archives (run by the University of Toronto), which provides a helpful guide for students planning to undertake archival research in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union, or work with Russian archival documents in Western repositories.
A large digital archive of oral history interviews (currently over 55,000 interviews, in excess of 115,000 hours of testimony). Most testimonies pertain to the Holocaust, but the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi Genocide, the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, the Armenian Genocide, and the Guatemalan Genocide are also represented. Most of the Holocaust testimonies are full life histories, which makes this an archive of Jewish life in Europe (including the Soviet Union) in the Twentieth Century. Incredibly, the testimonies are indexed and hence fully searchable by keyword. The keywords are in English, even in cases where the interview is in another language. The search results are hyperlinked to the relevant segment of the interview - an incredibly powerful research tool. More information on the collection is here.
The University of Melbourne is one of the access points to the entire collection, and the link above is to the Melbourne login. You can prepare your visit by registering on the USC Shoah Foundation website, search the collection, and save your results. Once you are on the University of Melbourne system you can access your search and watch the testimonies. For researchers and students, a guide to how to cite the collection is here.
In Slovak and English.
The Nation’s Memory Institute website contains a series of documents, publications and audio-visual material pertaining to Slovak history from 1939 until 1989. It also provides a list of online history resources.
This website contains material pertaining to significant leaders in the world history. The page dedicated to Joseph Stalin includes, among other materials, Stalin’s own work, copies of his correspondence, transcripts of his speeches, a series of recollections about him by his contemporaries, and newspaper articles, books and essays about Stalin.
This website offers information on published materials and Russian archives relevant to the history of science in Russia.
This website contains electronic versions of published works in the field of military history.
This website is devoted to various aspects of military history and technology. It contains contributions, written by various specialists, that explore lesser-known aspects of military conflicts, including the development and use of military equipment, the projects of outstanding military engineers, the tactics and strategies of famous generals, and other similar topics.
This website is dedicated to the Soviet-Finnish War 1939-1940 (The Winter War). It contains several essays on the War, and some archival documents.
The Wilson Center Digital Archive is a rich database of original documents organised around several different collections. These include the ‘1956 Polish and Hungarian Crises,’ ‘The Nikita Khrushchev Collection,’ ‘East German Uprising,’ ‘The Mitrokhin Archive,’ ‘Post-Stalinist Succession Struggle,’ and many others.
The following websites contain bibliographies pertaining to different themes in Russian and Soviet history.