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Archival news

01 April 2011
With the approach of the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great Patriotic War, the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus participates in a new international project entitled Enhancing the Status of the Survivors of the Burnt Villages of Belarus. This two-year project is part of the Meeting Place Dialogue Programme financed by the Remembrance, Responsibility and Future German Foundation, which made payments to the victims of Nazi persecution and continues to finance projects for assisting people who suffered from Nazi crimes.

The main purpose of the project is humanitarian. The project intends to attract the public's attention to the fate of the survivors of the burnt Belarusian villages and to assist them in solving social problems.

The project's second part is scholarly. There are plans to organise documentary exhibitions, round tables, meetings between generations, etc. A book of documents "The Tragedy of Belarusian Villages. 1941—1944" has been prepared and given to the publishers. An electronic database of burnt Belarusian villages is being compiled, to provide data on the number of burnt households and population, the dates when the villages were burnt, and the data sources. In addition, the database contains archive documents, photographs and the survivor's recollections of the tragedy.

On 28 March 2011, the National Archives of Belarus had a meeting with the surviving resident of the burnt village of Skirmuntovo in Derzhinsk district, Zinaida Petrovna Levanets, and the survivor of the burnt village of Gondarevo in Slutsk district, Stefanida Viktorovna Dovnar. Their accounts about the burning of villages by Nazis were recorded and will be used in the electronic database. The archive’s staff acquainted the guests with the documents relating to the tragedy of those villages.


29 March 2011
23 March 2011, the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus held a board meeting to discuss the issues of the scholarly processing of documents at the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus, about the Thematical Plan of Research and Development by the Department for Archives and Records Management in 2011 and the implementation of research and development in 2010, and the realization of the Archives of Belarus Programme (2006-2010).

In respect of the first issue, the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus was recommended to increase the efficiency and quality of the scholarly processing and description of documents, to strengthen control over its implementation and to raise the responsibility of the staff members engaged therein.

The Department Board approved the Thematical Plan of Research and Development for 2011 and the Report on Research and Development in 2010.

The Department Board accepted the Archives of Belarus Branch Programme (2006-2010) as being substantially completed.

21 March 2011
18 March 2011, the History Institute at the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus held a round table discussion on the Peace Treaty of Riga of 1921 in the Historical Fate of Belarus.

The organizers are the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Ministry of Justice of Belarus, the Department of Humanities and Arts and the History Institute at the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. The director of the Department for Archives and Records Management, V. Adamushko, made a report and took part in the discussions.


18 March 2011
An online exhibition of documents The Chernobyl Nuclear Catastrophe 25 Years Later is posted on the website of the Justice Administration of the Gomel Region Executive Committee.

The documents, which were not previously on display nor published, make known the history of the liquidation of the consequences of Chernobyl NPP catastrophe.

The catastrophe at the nuclear plant became a disaster that affected the fates of millions of people. Especially tragic the disaster consequences were in the Gomel region, which made up over 40% of the contaminated area in the former USSR and over 60% of the contaminated area in Belarus. The radiation affected 20 out of 21 agricultural districts in the Gomel region with the population over 1,400,000 people.

In 1986, the Gomel Region Executive Committee took over fifty decisions, resolutions and instructions on the elimination of the disaster at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The measures and activities for the liquidation of the catastrophe aftermath were carried out according to the decisions taken at the close sessions of the Gomel Region Executive Committee with a signature for confidentiality until 2006. Twenty years later the documents were declassified and transferred to the State Archives of Gomel Region for preservation.

Some of these unique documents were for the first time published in two books to mark the 20th anniversary of Chernobyl catastrophe. The first book, entitled Chernobyl. 26 April 1986 - December 1991. - Documents and Materialswas prepared by the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus together with the Russian State Archives of Contemporary History. The second book, The Chernobyl Catastrophe in Documents and Materials, 1986-2006 was prepared by the archivists from the Gomel region. The latter one includes, in addition to the declassified documents, a selection of articles that were published at that complicated time in the newspapers Gomelskaya Prauda, Chacherski Vesnik and Golas Vetkaushchyny.

The photographs and documents on display are available from the Belarusian State Archives of Films, Photographs and Sound Recordings in Dzerzhinsk, the State Archives of Gomel Region, the State Archives of Public Organizations in Gomel Region and the local state archives in Mozyr, Zhlobin and Rechitsa.


02 March 2011
25 February 2011, the History Institute at the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus held a round table "Tragedy. Heroism. Memory" dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War.

The organizers were the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus, the Department of Humanities and Arts at the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, and the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus.

Participants included employees from the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus, the Russian Foundation for Assistance to Historical Studies "Historical Memory", journals "Belaruski gistarychny chasopis", "Polymia" and "Gistoryia: prablemy vykladannia".

Reports were delivered by the director of the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Republic of Belarus A. Adamushko, academician-secretary of the Department of Humanities and Arts at the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus A. Kovalenya, director of the Historical Memory Foundation A. Dyukov, member of the scholarly council at the National Library of France Vincent Boulet, professor at the Paris 8 University G Shepelev, and more.

The event included the presentation of books and the Journal of Russian and East European Studies published by the Historical Memory Foundation.
16 February 2011
The Belarusian State Archives of Films, Photographs and Sound Recordings and the internet portal TUT.BY have launched a new joint project "The World Photo".

The project will publish the unique photographs taken by the reporters of different information agencies, newspapers and journals from different countries across five continents in the period from the early 20th century to the Second World War. The Belarusian State Archives of Films, Photographs and Sound Recordings holds more than seven hundred photographs.

11 February 2011
The State Archives of Mogilev Region takes actives measures to ensure a wide use of archival documents by the native citizens and foreigners alike.

The Archives holds a collection of records created by the Administration of the State Security Committee for the Mogilev Region (UKGB), concerning the Soviet citizens who repatriated in 1945-1946 from Germany, Austria, Poland and other countries in Western Europe, as well as the registers of filtration files and captured cards for Soviet PoWs from 1942.

In 1994-2003, the UKGB records were especially actively used by the archivists in their work. In this period they issued about 50,000 archival certificates to the citizens.

Presently these records are also in high demand.

In the framework of international cooperation between the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus and the Saxon Memorials Foundation (Germany), the State Archives of Mogilev Region and the Saxon Memorials Documentation Centre signed an agreement on the creation of the electronic data bank of Soviet PoWs.

On 8 February 2011, a working meeting was held between the heads of the Archives and a leading researcher at the Documentation Centre, Alexander Kharitonov, who handed to the Archives the necessary monetary funds, equipment and software.


07 February 2011
Olivia Furtwangler at the National Historical Archives of the Republic of Belarus3 February 2011, at the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus a meeting was held with Olivia Furtwangler, daughter of Princess Irene Antoinette Stanislaus Sviatopolk-Mirski. Participants at the meeting were director at the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Republic of Belarus V. I. Adamushko, director at the National Historical Archives of the Republic of Belarus A. K. Golubovich, assistant director of the Museum N. M. Usova, first secretary of the Foreign Ministry N. S. Schasnovich, representatives of the Culture Ministry of the Republic of Belarus.
Olivia Furtwangler at the National Historical Archives of the Republic of Belarus

On 4 February 2011, Olivia Furtwangler visited the National Historical Archives of the Republic of Belarus to see the family records of the Sviatopolk-Mirskis and documents relating to the history of Mir Castle and the township of Lyubcha, Novogrudok district, Minsk province, which belonged to her ancestors.

01 February 2011
27 January 2011, the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus held an enlarged board meeting to sum up the results of the State Archival Service of Belarus in 2010 and to set the objectives for the year 2011.

Participants at the board meeting (in all, 70 people) included Deputy Minister for Justice of the Republic of Belarus A.N. Bodak, heads and assistant heads of justice departments at the regional executive committees and the Minsk City Executive Committee, archives and records management heads at these committees, directors of state archival institutions, members of the Department for Archives and Records of the Republic of Belarus.

The director of the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Republic of Belarus V.I. Adamushko delivered a report. Seven people participated in the debates. In 2010, the Archives of Belarus State Programme for years 2011–2015 was developed and adopted in line with the order by Belarus President A.G. Lukashenko and the Government. At present the state archives hold 12,136,875 paper files; 37,147 film records; 256,751 photographic records; 14,708 sound records; 1,734 video records; 12 electronic fonds; 570 museum objects. 747,870 storage units are held in 124 district and municipal archives. In 2010 the state archives answered to over 29,000 enquiries from individual citizens and juridical persons; nearly 11,000 persons visited the archives for a personal consultation. A special focus was put on work with citizens’ enquiries based on a 'single window' principle of application. In the past year the archivists organized 78 exhibitions and published 23 books of documents, directories and popular scientific editions related to the history of Belarus. 51 official heraldic symbols were entered into the State Heraldry Register of the Republic of Belarus.



01 February 2011
Belarusian archivists are currently preparing for publication a book of documents and materials entitled Belarus and the War of 1812. The book includes documents from the National Historical Archives of Belarus in Minsk and the National Historical Archives of Belarus in Grodno. The use of a great number of new documents introduced for the first time in scholarly research makes possible to look closely at the important events of the Napoleonic War of 1812 that took place on Belarusian soil and its aftermath for Belarus.

The book offers documents created by the provincial and district authorities, local self-government, the economic, financial, legal, medical, military and other institutions that worked in the provinces of Vitebsk, Grodno, Minsk and Mogilev in the Russian Empire. The documents contain data on the political situation in Belarus on the eve of the war, preparation for military actions in imperial Russia, the use of human and material resources in Belarus, care about the persons who became victims of military operations, the fate of the French PoWs who remained in Belarus after the war, commemoration of the events of 1812 in Belarus.


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