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04 March 2013
On 28 February 2013 the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Justice Ministry of the Republic of Belarus held a board meeting to discuss the issue of creating file inventories in electronic form at the state archival institutions of the Republic of Belarus. Having heard the report by the chief specialist at the records preservation, state inventory and information technologies division, T. Labaznova, the department board emphasized the development of information retrieval resources as a major task in the activity of the state archival institutions. The file inventories in electronic form are being created in accordance with the schedule. The archives convert the file lists into electronic form by means of digitization; entering data on computer in MS Word or MS Excel; maintenance of databases. The electronic inventories can be submitted to the staff of the state archives and the researchers at the reading rooms. Access to electronic inventories is provided at the official website of the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus (http://narb.by).

The discussion of the issue revealed the necessity for the development of a unified approach to creation of electronic inventories, their preservation and provision with wide access, in particular by means of the internet.

27 February 2013
The Belarusian State Archives of Films, Photographs and Sound Recordings holds the unique sound records of news, documentaries and artistic features on the events in the public, political, economic and cultural life in this country. In the framework of the new project Voices of the Age launched jointly by the Archives and the web portal TUT.BY you can hear the speeches of the prominent politicians, the voices of our writers and poets, the dialect of the common Belarusians. The first issue offers the speech of the outstanding statesman of Belarus, Hero of the Soviet Union, Hero of Socialist Labour, Petr Mironovich MASHEROV at the Second All-Union Conference of the Supporters of Peace in Moscow in 1952. 26 February 2013 marks 95 years since the birth of Petr Masherov.

The material is prepared by the chief archivist at the information, publications and records use division at this Archives, Elena Poleshchuk.

20 February 2013
On 20 February 2013 the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Justice Ministry of the Republic of Belarus holds a republic-level training workshop on issues related to the commercial operation of the Automated Archival Information System in the state archives, scheduled by the Department’s Plan of Actions in 2013.

By order of the Department’s director of 23.02.2012 ¹ 7 “On commercial operation of the Automated Archival Information System. Version 1.1”, the state archives (except the Belarusian State Archives of Films, Photographs and Sound Recordings) have put into commercial operation the Automated Archival Information System. Version 1.1 (Archives AIS) and use it as a tool for implementing the major activities.

The Archives AIS consists of seven program modules: Acquisition, Personal Fonds, Inventory, Preservation, Finding Aids, Usage, the Archives AIS Administrator and a unified database. Each of the program modules automates the respective archival activity. This demands the knowledge of the subject as well as the competent computer skills.

The workshop is intended for specialists at the state archives who make the editing of the information in the program modules (input, delete, update) as well as the executives in charge of the work organisation.

The workshop is conducted by the director of the Department for Archives and Records Management V. Adamushko, deputy director of the Department O. Ledovskaya, division heads and other specialists in charge of the program modules at the Department, as well as the representatives of the development organisation.

11 February 2013
On 8 February 2013 a meeting was held between the Director of the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Justice Ministry of the Republic of Belarus Vladimir Adamushko and the Archbishop and Metropolitan of Minsk and Mogilev Tadeush Kondrusevich. The meeting discussed the perspectives of cooperation between the state archives of the Republic of Belarus and the institutions of the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus. A special attention in the discussion was given to issues related to the identification of records held at the parishes of the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus and the possibility of their transfer to the state archives for preservation.

Among the participants at the meeting were the director of the National Historical Archives of the Republic of Belarus D. V. Yatsevich and the deputy director at this Archives D. V. Liseichikov.

29 January 2013
On 24 January 2013 the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Justice Ministry of the Republic of Belarus held an enlarged board meeting to review the activities of the archives and records management bodies and the state archive institutions in the Republic of Belarus in 2012 and to set the objectives in 2013.

Attending the board meeting were the Deputy Justice Minister of the RB I. G. Tushinsky, heads and deputy heads of the main justice boards and the archives and records divisions at the regional executive committees and the Minsk City Executive Committee, directors of the state archive institutions, staff members of the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Republic of Belarus. In all, 65 persons 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 2012, the state archive institutions were actively engaged in completing the Archives of Belarus State Programme for 2011-2015. 5,3 billion rubles were drawn for the purpose from the republic’s budget. In the regions, the activities were financed at the expense of the local funds to the sum of 4,7 billion rubles.

Much attention was turned to the legal provision of the archive activities. The normative and legal basis in the archives and records management was made fully conformed with the Law on Archives and Records Management in the Republic of Belarus of 25 November 2011. On 26 May 2012, the Belarus President signed the Law on Official Heraldic Symbols, which has become the first national legislative act in the post-Soviet area for the regulation of the relevant legal relationship.

The works were completed in the technical protection of the regional and local archive buildings, their provision with modern equipment, and the expansion of access to archive records. The Department emphasized the good results achieved in the field by all regional archive institutions and the archivists in the regions of Brest, Vitebsk, Grodno and Minsk.

A breakthrough in the automation of the state registration of records was the location in the Internet of the information contents of the National Fonds Catalogue of the Republic of Belarus.

The provision of information services remained an important activity for the state archives in 2012, in particular the execution of legal and social inquiries. In all, in the past year the state archive institutions handled over 28,000 inquiries. More than 14,000 people visited and consulted the archives in person. The exhibition and publication activity increased considerably. During the reported time the state archive institutions organized 75 exhibition projects and published seven collections of documents. 74 official heraldic symbols were entered into the State Heraldry Register of the Republic of Belarus.
22 January 2013
On 29 January 2013 the National Historical Archives of Belarus and the Petrus Brouka Belarusian Encyclopedia Publishers host a presentation of the published collection of documents, The Testaments of the Nobility and the Burghers in Belarus in the second half of 16th century (from the deed books of the National Historical Archives of Belarus).

The National Historical Archives of Belarus continues a tradition of editing the records of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania that require a deep knowledge of paleography and are not easily accessible to the unprepared reader.

The book presents 116 records of the last will of the citizens of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania included in the deed books of the municipal and land courts in the districts of Brest, Vitebsk, Minsk, Novogrudok and Slonim and the town of Mogilev for the period of 1559-1600.

The testament texts are accompanied with a detailed index of personal and geographical names and a glossary. The majority of records are in the Old Belarusian language, some of the testaments are in the Old Polish.

Among the participants at the presentation will be the representatives of the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Republic of Belarus, the Petrus Brouka Belarusian Encyclopedia Publishing House, the Institute of History at the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, the Belarusian Research Institute of Records Management and Archival Studies, the History Faculty of the Belarusian State University, the History Faculty of the Maxim Tank Belarusian State Pedagogical University, the National Historical Museum of the Republic of Belarus, and the mass media.

The book is the result of many years of work by the employees of the old deeds department at the National Historical Archives of Belarus: the department head Volga Babkova, the chief archivist Iryna Bober, the chief paleographer Albina Alyaksandrava. The scholarly edition was conducted by Alyaksandr Dounar, candidate of historical sciences.

Information on the book

Testaments (wills) provide a unique source of historical information. Testaments illustrate the person’s confession, property status, family structure, and education level. They reflect the man’s attitude to life and death, to his relatives, and to his postmortem memory. The majority of the authors of the records presented in the book come from the class of the middle nobility who possessed a small property as well as the persons of the higher status who held various governing posts and played important role in the system of the government administration. Among the testators are the noted persons such as the first wife of the Chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania – Darota Firlei, the mother of Duchess Safia Slutskaya – Barbara Kishka, the father of Bishop Velyamin Rutski – Shchasny Velyamin-Rutski, the governor of Smolensk Vasil Tyshkevich, the head of Slonim Mikhal Valovich, the governor of Vitebsk Bagdan Yanushkouski, Prince Shchasny Svirski, the burgomaster of Mogilev Kuzma Esmanovich and many others.

18 January 2013
A documentary exhibition, The Gomel Region. 75 Glorious Years was opened at the Culture and Sports Complex of the Gomel Branch of the Belarusian Railway on 18 January 2013 to mark 75 years since the foundation of the Gomel Region.

The exposition displays a complex of documents from the holdings of the State Archives of Gomel Region that reflect various aspects of the political, economic and cultural development in the Gomel Region.

17 January 2013
A practical workshop, An Institutional Archive: Creation and Work Organisation (in light of the new Rules of work in the archives of government institutions and other organisations (2012) and the new Records Retention Schedule (2012) is to be held at the Belarusian Research Institute of Records Management and Archival Studies (BelNIIDAD) on 31 January 2013.

The workshop is intended for archive heads, records management officers, legal experts, accountants, institution heads.

The workshop addresses the following issues:
  • Legislation of the Republic of Belarus in archive business and the state control over its observance. The procedures for an archive’s creation and management.
  • The new Records Retention Schedule.
    • Assignment of records retention periods. Appraisal of records in an institution’s recordkeeping and archive.
    • File classification plan as a basic record in archive’s management. Types of file plans and procedures for their development. Participation of an institutional archive in the creation and confirmation of file plans.
  • The new Rules of Work in the archives of government institutions and other organisations.
    • Procedures for archive’s creation and work organisation.
    • Transfer of files to an institutional archive for preservation. Destruction of records and files with expired retention periods.
    • An institutional archive’s control over file organisation in internal divisions.
    • Assignment of retention periods. Appraisal of records in an institution’s recordkeeping and archive.
    • Making of file inventories while transferring records to an institutional archive. Combined file inventories in an archive.
    • Procedures for destruction of records with expired retention periods.
    • Inventory and preservation of records and files in an institutional archive.
      - Inventory of records in an archive, development of finding aids.
      - Preservation of records in an institutional archive (requirements to storage facilities, conditions, equipment, file location).
    • Use of records in an institutional archive (handling citizens’ inquiries, issuance of files).
Participants at the workshop are E. Davydova, head of records management and formation of the National Achival Holdings at the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Republic of Belarus, A. Rybakov, Director at the Belarusian Research Institute of Records Management and Archival Studies and other top experts in archives and records management, authors of normative documents, teaching aids and procedural guidance.

28 December 2012
On 27 December 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 research provisions at the state archive institutions: the condition, problems, perspectives; handling the inquiries of citizens and legal entities at the state archive institutions of the Republic of Belarus in the second part of 2012; execution of legislation on combating the corruption at the republic-level archives in 2012; results of financial and economic inspections in the subordinate institutions and measures to strengthen the control and economy of budget funds, preservation of material assets, and other issues.

On the first issue it was noted that research and development at the Department, the records and archives bodies and the state archive institutions are provided by the Belarusian Research Institute of Records Management and Archival Studies (BelNIIDAD) and the Belarusian Research Centre for Electronic Records (BelNITsED). In all, 54 research topics were developed in the period 2007-2011 (36 by BelNIIDAD, 18 by BelNITsED). Presently 44 topics are completed (29 by BelNIIDAD, 15 by BelNITsED).

On the second issue the department board noted that work with citizens’ petitions and inquiries and the issue of archival references at the state archives are conducted in strict accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Belarus. Archival references and other information are issued to applicants on the basis of written applications. The Department and the archives and records divisions at the Minsk city and regional executive committees execute permanent control over the observance of legislation on handling the inquiries of citizens and legal entities at the archive institutions. No legal violations in this respect were reported. At the same time the archive institutions encounter certain difficulties in work with citizens’ inquiries connected with the poor preservation of the personnel records of liquidated organizations.

The issue of the execution of legislation on combating the corruption at the central archive institutions is under permanent control by the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Justice Ministry. In accordance with the Coordinative Plan for Control (Inspection) Activities in 2012, the Department conducted a complex inspection of the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus and the financial and economic revisions at the Belarusian State Archives-Museum of Literature and Art and the Belarusian State Archives of Films, Photographs and Sound Recordings. In addition, the mentioned institutions were inspected for the observance of legislation on handling the inquiries of citizens and legal entities. The facts of corruption practices were not found.

The department board discussed and approved the draft Plan of Action for 2013.

22 December 2012
The book The Modern Heraldry of Belarus by V.I. Adamushko and M.M. Elinskaya was presented to the public at the bookstore “PResentation” of the Petrus Brovka Belarusian Encyclopedia Publishers on 19 December 2012. Attendees at the event were the publishing company’s chief for historical and socio-economic sciences editorial board Yu.V. Bazhenov, the book’s editor V.V. Fedkovich, the faculty and students of the Belarusian State University, members of the Heraldry Council V.A. Lyakhor and D.V. Yatsevich, and those interested in modern Belarusian heraldry and symbols.

In his speech V.I. Adamushko told the participants about the structure and contents of the book, the importance of the official heraldic symbols in the life of the modern society, and the principles of work at the Heraldry Council under the President of the Republic of Belarus. He noted, in particular, that the book was written during a number of years and presents 197 coat of arms and 150 flags of the administrative and territorial units in this country, the official heraldic symbols instituted by the decrees of the President of Belarus starting from 2002. These constitute the essential part of the State Heraldic Register, the maintenance of which is in charge of the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Justice Ministry. V.I. Adamushko also noted that the reconstruction of historical arms, the creation of new arms and flags, their appraisal, institution and use are conducted in accordance with the Belarus Law On Official Heraldic Symbols adopted on 26 May 2012.

M.M. Elinskaya spoke on the specific features of the territorial heraldry in Belarus, starting from the origins of the ancient national symbols. She briefly touched on the conferring of coat of arms to the towns and boroughs by Grand Dukes of Lithuania and the Polish kings in the 16th to18th centuries and to the governorships and provinces in the Russian Empire in the late 18th and 19th centuries. She noted that the modern Belarusian heraldry has adopted the best practices accumulated by the predecessors during the past several centuries. It was emphasized that the Belarusian specialists in heraldry also make use of the international experience, applying to classical knowledge as well as to modern technologies in the creation of the complete heraldic complex for the inhabited localities of different level.

V.A. Lyakhor, who prepared the master images of coat of arms and flags and proposed the artistic design of the edition, told about the specifics and problems in the reconstruction of the historical heraldry and the different stages in developing the new symbols. He emphasized that the book preserves with maximum identity the icon-painting of the 16th to 19th centuries and conveys the atmosphere and artistic trends of the time when these arms appeared. The modern territorial heraldry of Belarus is noted for the variety of subjects and methods in their creation. The arms and flags presented in the new book demonstrate a unique national style of the Belarusian heraldry and vexillology and its specific characteristics.

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