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Archival news

26 March 2012
On 22 March 2012, the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Justice Ministry of the Republic of Belarus held a board meeting to discuss the issues of work organization at the expert services of institutions - sources of records acquisition for state archives, about the Department’s Thematic Plan of Research and Development for 2012 and the Final Report of R&D in 2011, about the Archives of Belarus 2006-2010 Programme.

On the first issue the department board noted that as on 01.01.2011, 7577 expert services were created in 8453 organizations - sources of records acquisition for state archives, which makes 89,6% of all registered organizations. Yet only 321 expert commissions (3,8% of the total number of the created commissions) include staff members of the state archive institutions. Presently 84,4% organizations, which have created the expert commissions, have the duly approved regulations on expert commissions.

Most expert services place the main focus on organization of records selection for permanent preservation or destruction, the discussion and approval of inventories of files with permanent or temporary (over 10 years) retention, including personnel records, file classifications, reports on destruction of records not required for preservation, instructions on record-keeping, regulations on organization’s expert commission and archive.

The department board has approved the Thematic Plan of R&D in 2012 and the Final Report on R&D in 2011.
22 March 2012
To mark the 95th anniversary of Minsk City Council of Deputies, the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus has prepared an exhibition entitled Minsk City Council. Historical Landmarks. The archive records cover nearly a century ’s activity of this important organ of democracy, beginning from March 1917 when the Minsk council was founded as a socio-political organization and a representative body of workers and soldiers to the present time, when the Minsk city council is a public authority of local self-government in the Belarusian capital Minsk.

The exhibition tells about the activity of the Council in different historical periods, the forms and conditions of work of the deputies, the changes in the life and appearance of Minsk.

The unique handwritten minutes of the first meetings of the Council and the newspaper publications give an insight into the complicated way of the formation of Minsk Council in the years 1917-1920. In addition to archival documents there are photographs of organizers, leaders and active members of the Council, whose names are well known to Minskers as they have been perpetuated in the names of Minsk streets. Most of them tragically perished in the year 1937.

Of great interest are the documents in which the deputies report of their activity in the 1920s. In order to be accessible to the then population with a low level of literacy, these reports were made in the form of coloured diagrams and drawings. Of no less interest are the personal records of the council members: questionnaires, identity cards, membership cards, reports of explanation etc.

The illustrations and photographs of the city streets and buildings and an old map of the city show the changes in the appearance of Minsk from the provincial town in the beginning of the 20th century, destruction in the Second World War to the modern megapolis – the capital of independent Belarus in our days.

The focal point of the exhibition are the documents illustrating the activity of the elected representatives of the people, whose aim in all times was and always remains the same – to improve the well-being of citizens on the basis of national interests.

The Belarusian State Archives of Films, Photographs and Sound Recordings and the State Archives of Minsk Region actively participated in the preparation of the exhibition.
19 March 2012
In March 2012, the Minsk City Council of Deputies celebrated its 95th anniversary. To mark this date, the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Republic of Belarus, the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus, the Belarusian State Archives of Films, Photographs and Sound Recordings, the State Archives of Minsk Region and the Minsk City Council released a book of documents entitled The Minsk City Council of Deputies 1917-2012 (the publishing house Belorussky Dom Pechati). The compilers are V.I. Adamushko, Ya.N. Blazhei, E.M. Grinevich et al.

The book offers 396 documents, including 99 from the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus, 144 from the State Archives of Minsk Region, and 55 from the Archives of the Minsk City Executive Committee. An interesting information was taken from the newspapers — "Molot", "Zvyazda", "Sovetskaya Belorussiya" etc. Most documents have been published for the first time.

The published resolutions, decisions, minutes, reports, returns, certificates, internal documents etc narrate about the election campaigns, the number and composition of deputies, the organization of the Minsk City Council etc. The book shows how in the course of the revolutionary events the Minsk Council turned from a socio-political organization into the state authority.

Many documents illuminate the activity of the city council in the socio-economic and cultural development of Minsk and its role in the transformation of the provincial town into the capital. The book is illustrated with photographs and facsimile copies of records available from the state, agency and personal archives.

The book also includes short biographies of chairmen at the Minsk City Council and its executive committee, a name index, and a list of abbreviations.
11 March 2012
On 2 March 2011, an exhibition of books and documents was opened at the Belarusian State Archives-Museum of Literature and Art to mark the 120th anniversary of the birth of the renowned scholar, public figure, politician, member of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences Branislau Adamavich Tarashkevich.

An exhibition entitled "AWriter, Scholar, Fighter" demonstrates books and periodical publications containing Tarashkevich’s translations and articles and the critical-biographical essays about him. These include three editions of his famous "Belarusian Grammar for Schools" (1919, 1921, 1929), a book of documents "Interpellations by Belarusian Ambassadors to the Polish Diet 1922–1926" (1927) with preface by Tarashkevich, "Selected works. Criticism, publicism, translations" (1991), monographs about the scholar by A.S. Lis and A.R. Bergman etc.

The exhibition includes personal records of Tarashkevich about his study at the high school in Vilnius and at the University of Petrograd, the autographs of his article "Litva and Belarus" (in Polish), a letter from Tarashkevich to Zoska Veras, letters from the academician A.A. Shakhmatau, Yanka Kupala, Ryhor Shyrma, photographs etc. A variety of documents describe the political and public activity of Tarashkevich: statutes (of the Belarusian Ambassadors Club etc), draft party programs (of the Hramada Belarusian Socialist Party etc.) prepared by Tarashkevich, mandates etc.
10 February 2012
The staff members of the State Archives of Grodno Region have prepared a compilation of documents, The Augustow Canal and its Environment.

The scholarly editor of the book is S. Kul-Selvestrova, Ph.D., professor at the Grodno Yanka Kupala State University, who also authored the introduction and commentaries. The commission for documents selection and arrangement was headed by A. Kisel, director at the State Archives of Grodno Region.

In all, the book includes 40 documents which have been published for the first time. Many of them were originally secret but now declassified. The documents are arranged in chronological order from 1945 to 2004 and in the original language without any literary and other corrections. These contain lots of information about the history of the Augustow Canal and the adjacent localities, the work of the starch plant and agricultural factories in the former Sapotkin District, the names of the frontier posts, the damage inflicted by the Nazis in the Second World War, the restoration of the economics and organisation of the cultural public events within the Augustow Canal in the Culture of Three Nations progamme. The book is supplemented with illustrations, maps and drawings.

The book was released by the Slonim press with the funds of the Grodno Region Executive Committee. It is intended for scholars, students and everyone interested in the history of the Nioman Region and Belarus. The book will indeed contribute to the development of tourism in the Grodno region.
09 February 2012
The Belarusian Research Institute of Records Management and Archival Science (BelNIIDAD) issued the procedural recommendations on Ensuring Optimum Conditions for Storage of Paper Records of the National Archival Holdings of the Republic of Belarus.

The recommendations describe the requirements for archive buildings and facilities and the storage of records on paper media. They also dwell on the issues of records preservation during their storage, transferrence, usage and transportation.

The guidelines are intended for institution heads, archivists, workers in museums and libraries which hold manuscript collections, builders.

The Belarusian Research Institute of Records Management and Archival Science (BelNIIDAD) issued the Album of Forms of Organizational-Administrative Records with Commentaries (based on the unified record forms in the Unified Administrative Records System).

The Album offers examples for the formation of records based on the unified record forms included in the Unified Administrative Records System (USORD), adopted by order of the director at the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Justice Ministry of the Republic of Belarus of 14.05.2007 ¹ 25.
20 January 2012
On 18 January 2012, the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Justice Ministry of the Republic of Belarus held an enlarged board meeting to review the results of work at the archive and records management agencies and the state archive institutions in the Republic of Belarus in 2011 and to set the objectives for 2012.

Attending the board meeting were the Justice Minister of the Republic of Belarus O.L. Slizhevsky, heads and deputy heads of justice administration and archives and RM divisions at the regional executive committee and the Minsk City Executive Committee, directors of the state archival institutions, members of the Department for Archives and Records Management. In all, 78 people attended the meeting.

The Director of the Department for Archives and Records Management V.I. Adamushko delivered a report. Seven members took part in the debates. In 2011, the state archival institutions started the Archives of Belarus State Programme for 2011-2015, adopted by the resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus of 15 September 2010 ¹ 1322. The central archival institutions successfully fulfilled the activities within the State Programme for 2011 at the amount of 1, 470 billion rubles assigned from the republic’s budget.

Considerable attention was devoted to the legislative provision of the state archival agencies and institutions. The Law on Archives and Records Management in the Republic of Belus was adopted on November 25, 2011 and became effective on December 18, 2011. The House of Representatives of the Republic of Belarus passed in first reading the Law on Official Heraldic Symbols.

At present the state archives hold 50 145 fonds, 12 295 267 paper items; 37 733 film records; 258 134 photographic records; 15 602 sound records; 2193 video records; 13 electronic fonds, 502 electronic items; 569 museum items. In 124 local (municiple and district) archives there are 32 755 fonds, 802 500 items. In 2011 the state archives handled about 29 000 inquiries from individual and juridical persons; more than 13 000 people visited and consulted the archives in person. Special attention was focused on handling citizens’ inquiries based on a "single window" principle. In the last year the archivists organized 88 exhibitions, published 14 books of documents, monographs, handbooks, and scholarly editions relating to the history of Belarus. 120 official heraldic symbols were entered into the State Heraldry Registry of the Republic of Belarus.
03 January 2012
On 2 January 2012, the Justice Minister of the Republic of Belarus O. L. Slizhevsky on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Belarus presented the Director of the Department for Archives and Records Management at the Justice Ministry of the Republic of Belarus, V. I. Adamushko, with the Honorable Diploma of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus. For high professionalism and significant personal contribution in archive business, Mr Adamushko is awarded with with the breastplate of the Justice Ministry "For Distinguished Service" 1st level, the breastplate of the Department for Archives and RM "A Honorary Archivist of Belarus", and the breastplate of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus "A Jubilee Medal for 80th anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus".
29 December 2011
On 21-28 December 2011, the republic-level state archive institutions held meetings of work collectives to summarize the results of work in the year 2011 and set up objectives for 2012. Attending the meetings were chiefs and division heads at the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Justice Ministry of the Republic of Belarus.

Participants at the meetings noted that all planned assignments in the main directions of archive activity have been fulfilled. In 2011 the central state archives and institutions performed the activities within the Archives of Belarus State Programme for 2011–2015, conducted intensive work on the security protection of archival fonds, strengthening of material, technical and resources basis in archives, the formation and acquisition of the National Archival Holdings of the Republic of Belarus. The important directions were, as before, the provision of information service to users, use of archival records, provision of information to government institutions and local self-government. The main directions of archive activities have been automatized, which makes possible a transfer to new, more effective methods of work.
At the same time there are many unsolved issues. Due to objective reasons, the reconstruction of a number of archive buildings have not been finished. The material and technical base of archives needs further development, etc. Belarusian archivists are expected to solve these tasks in the new year 2012.
23 December 2011
On 21 December 2011, within the framework of the New Year charity action Our Children, the deputy director at the Department for Archives and RM of the Justice Ministry of the Republic of Belarus O.A. Ledovskaya, the chairwomen of the primary trade union organizations at the National Historical Archives of the Republic of Belarus and the Belarusian Research Institute of Records Management and Archival Science V.A. Khodina and I.N. Shpilevskaya, visited a Social Orphanage in the Sovetsky district in Minsk. The orphanage children were presented with New Year gifts.
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