Impact of the Opening of the Soviet Archives on Western Scholarship on Soviet Social History

Journal article


Fitzpatrick, Sheila. (2015) Impact of the Opening of the Soviet Archives on Western Scholarship on Soviet Social History. The Russian Review: an American quarterly devoted to Russia past and present. 74(3), pp. 377 - 400. https://doi.org/10.1111/russ.12021
AuthorsFitzpatrick, Sheila
Abstract

The opening of formerly closed and classified archives following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 was a remarkable experience for historians working in this field. Our data base abruptly expanded in a quantum leap, changing our situation from one roughly comparable to that of researchers on early modern Europe (working with the limited range of sources generated by a relatively unambitious state with a small literate population) to that of researchers on any other developed twentieth‐century state (working with the huge array of records generated by a modern bureaucratic state and literate society). From the standpoint of researchers, this brought many changes. Field‐specific research skills painfully acquired in the period of archival dearth suddenly become more or less redundant. Different skills and strategies were often required to deal with the new situation of abundance. This essay examines the extent and peculiarities of Western scholars' access to Soviet archives in the decades before 1991, and the nature and variety of archival sources becoming available to Western scholars for the first time, and the impact these had on research and interpretation of Soviet social history.

Year2015
JournalThe Russian Review: an American quarterly devoted to Russia past and present
Journal citation74 (3), pp. 377 - 400
PublisherWiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN0036-0341
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/russ.12021
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84931074371
Page range377 - 400
Research GroupInstitute for Humanities and Social Sciences
Publisher's version
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Controlled
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