Extended meeting of the Board of the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Justice Ministry held on January 26, 2021
On January 26, 2021, an extended meeting of the Board of the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus was held to review the results of work of the archives and records management bodies, state archival institutions of the Republic of Belarus in 2020 and to set up the tasks for 2021.
The Board meeting was attended by the Deputy Minister for Justice of the Republic of Belarus N. N. Filippova, heads and deputy heads of the main justice departments of regional executive committees and Minsk City Executive Committee, heads and deputy heads of the archives and records management subdivisions at the main justice departments, directors of state archival institutions, members of the Department for Archives and Records Management. The meeting was held by video conference.
The Director of the Department for Archives and Records Management V. I. Kurash delivered his report. Representatives of the main departments of justice and directors of state archival institutions took part in the debates.
The Board noted that despite the unusual and difficult conditions in which the archivists had to work in the past year, the key goals in the industry in all fields of activity have been achieved. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered the plans, however, thanks to the measures taken to prevent and avoid the spread of infection, as well as the responsible attitude of staff and visitors to the archives, the work of the industry institutions did not stop during the reporting period.
As of January 1, 2021 the state archives held in permanent storage 13,129,493 paper units comprising 47,597 fonds.
Over the past year, 3,219 inventories were transferred to electronic form. In the total volume of file inventories, the share of those accessible in electronic form is 36%.
In 2020, the Plan of Actions was implemented to ensure the archival preservation of electronic records in the Republic of Belarus. To support the acquisition of electronic records in state archives, with the Information System of Archives of Electronic Records of the National Archival Fonds of the Republic of Belarus, the Belarusian Research Center for Electronic Records has developed the Regulations of the Information System. The Center held six seminars for employees of state archives and source organizations on work with the unified repository of electronic records.
The most important area of activity of the state archives is the provision of information to users. In 2020, the archives fulfilled 21,184 social and legal inquiries, 8,932 biographical inquiries, 2,749 thematic inquiries, and 278 genealogical inquiries. 3,267 users worked in the reading rooms of the archives.
The past year was traditionally marked by the implementation of a number of documentary exhibitions and publishing projects, many of which were international in scope. In all, 116 exhibitions were organised and 13 editions were published in 2020. A number of cultural, scientific and international events were fully or partially transferred online.
91 official heraldic symbols (emblems, flags, banners, breastplates) have been entered into the State Heraldic Register of the Republic of Belarus.
In 2020, research institutions in the archive industry developed 18 research topics, 11 of which have been completed.
In 2020, inspectors of the State Inspectorate for Archives and Records Management of the Republic of Belarus conducted 35 inspections of compliance with legislation in the field of archives and records management. The main problems in the organization of records management include incorrect execution and registration of documents, their non-compliance with established requirements for preservation, untimely scientific and technical processing and transfer of documents for permanent storage in state archives.
In 2020, state archives received 125,419 files for permanent storage from organizations – sources of acquisition.
The total number of files having digital copies has increased by more than 9,000 over the past year and amounted to 51,134 items. Participation in the creation of digital copies in 2020 was distributed as follows: the share of the National Technical Laboratory for Security Microfilming of Permanent Records and the Central Laboratory for Microphotocopying and Restoration of Records of the National Archival Fonds of the Republic of Belarus was 52%; national archives – 31%, regional and zonal archives – 17%. The contribution of the regions to the independent creation of digital copies in the usage fonds is uneven: Brest Region – 5%; Vitebsk Region – 64%; Gomel Region – 21%; Grodno Region – 3.3%; Minsk Region – 3.7%; Mogilev Region – 3%.
In 2021, a draft law on amendments and additions to the Law of the Republic of Belarus No. 323-Z of 25 November 2011 “On Archives and Records Management in the Republic of Belarus” will be developed. Some provisions of the Law require adjustments in view of the changed modern conditions in the state archives. There are plans to update the terminology base for archives and records management, to adjust storage periods for individual archival documents, to exclude non-working legal norms, and so on. An important place in this work will be taken by the analysis of proposals from state archives from their practical experience in applying the regulatory framework.
In 2021, the archive organisations are faced with the task of increasing the volume of paid works and services in order to strengthen the material and technical base at the expense of the earned funds and, no less important, to direct additional funds to increase the salaries of archivists.
The Board notes that this year requires intensive work from the entire archival industry of Belarus and acquires great importance also because it is a pre-jubilee year – in 2022, the 100th anniversary of the Archival Service of Belarus will be celebrated.
In 2021, a set of activities are planned to prepare for the anniversary. In this regard, the Board calls on all archivists to take the most active part and show initiative in planning and implementing the upcoming events.
Director of the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus, Viktor Kurash, speaking
Director of the Belarusian Research Institute of Records Management and Archival Studies, Andrei Rybakov, speaking
Director of the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus, Andrei Demianyuk, speaking
Director of the Belarusian Research Center for Electronic Records, Yuri Prozorovich, speaking
Director of the State Archives of Minsk Region, Yulia Romashko, speaking
Deputy Minister for Justice of the Republic of Belarus, Natalya Filippova, speaking