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Archival news

02 November 2011
Gomel archivists released a Guide to Holdings of the State Archives of Public Organizations in Gomel Region.

The Guide contains data on the fonds of parties and public organisations held at the State Archives of Public Organizations of Gomel Region.

The compilers are N.V. Yakovtsova, the archive’s director and A.L. Fedorenko, chief of the information, records publication and scholarly use department.

The book includes descriptions for 3247 fonds with the end dates 1879-1880, 1898, 1901, 1917-1941, 1943-2010, including 22 fonds of public institutions and political parties of the Gomel region which were transferred to the Archives for permanent preservation during the period from 1993 to 2009.

The edition is intended for archivists, scholars, undergraduate and postgraduate students, regional specialists, and researchers into the history of Belarus.
28 October 2011
On 27 October 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 progress of work on the scholarly and technical processing of census records, their transferrence to the state archives for preservation and the work of state archives in the provision of information to foreign residents.

On the first issue, the state regional archives and the Belarusian Research Centre for Electronic Records carried out a considerable amount of work in scholarly and technical processing of census data filled in during the 2009 census campaign in the Republic of Belarus and their preparation for transfer to the state archives for preservation. The organizational and procedural guidance for the scholarly arrangement of census records was provided by the Department for Archives and Records Management. The arrangement and transfer of records to the state archives for preservation is mainly to be completed in the year 2011. As on 1 October 2011, the state regional archives arranged 55 261 files; 36 819 files have been transferred to the state archives for preservation.

On the second issue, the department board noted that in the period from 2006 through the first half of 2011 the state archives of the Republic of Belarus performed 30 183 inquiries (17,6% of the total number) received from foreign citizens, including 17 353 social legal, 9 973 thematic and 2 857 genealogical inquiries. In the reported period 1 052 foreign users (5,5% of the total number) worked in the reading rooms of the state archives in Belarus. Almost half of them was recorded at the National Historical Archives of Belarus in Minsk (412) and the state archives of Grodno Region (58). An important part of the archives activity in the provision of information to foreign residents was the cooperation in joint use of records in the frames of international exhibition and publication projects and the exchange of records copies with foreign archive institutions based on two-party agreements.
28 October 2011
An exhibition of heraldic symbols for administrative and territorial units has recently opened at the Gramyka Arts Gallery in Vitebsk, entitled "The heraldic garland of the Vitebsk region". On display are 37 heraldic symbols for towns and villages in the Vitebsk region. The exposition starts with the National Emblem of the Republic of Belarus and the heraldic symbol of the Vitebsk region.

The organizer of the exhibition is the archives and records management department at the Vitebsk Region Executive Committee.

The present exhibition is already incomplete. By his decree of 28 February 2011, the President of Belarus has established another five coat-of-arms, the coloured images of which have not yet been framed under glass. Therefore, presently there are 42 heraldic symbols for administrative and territorial units of Vitebsk region that have been officially registered. The same number is in the Brest region, which is higher than in the other regions of the country.

The heraldic symbols of the Vitebsk region are widely used in public life. Their images are placed on special shields at the entrance to the district or town. Last year the similar exhibition was staged in Vitebsk, this summer in Polotsk and in Glubokoe, and now in Orsha. These towns were selected not at random but as the important centres of archival service in the region, where the state archives are located.


24 October 2011
On 20 October 2011, the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus approved in second reading a draft law on archives and records management in the Republic of Belarus.

This draft law forms the basis for the legal regulation of activities of government agencies, other institutions and citizens in the acquisition, preservation and use of records and in the field of records management.
12 October 2011
On 4-5 October 2011, an annual three-party meeting of the heads of archive services and institutions in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine was held in Veliky Novgorod, Russia. The meeting discussed the issues relating to the use of records in archive institutions: normative and legal regulation and practice. Among the participants at the meeting was the Governor of Novgorod Province, S.G. Mitin.

The Belarusian delegation headed by the director of the Department for Archives and Records Management of Belarus V.I. Adamushko included the director of the Belarusian State Archives of Films, Photographs and Sound Recordings V.V. Balandin, director of the National Historical Archives of Belarus A.K. Golubovich, director of the Belarusian State Archives-Museum of Literature and Art A.V. Zapartyko, director of the Belarusian State Archives of Scientific and Technical Documentation A.M. Zapartyko, director of the State Archives of Brest Region A.G. Karapuzova, alternate director of the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus N.K. Rudakovsky, director of the State Archives of Vitebsk Region T.M. Svistunova, and director of the Central Laboratory for Records Microphotocopying and Restoration I.V. Silin.

The Russian delegation was headed by the chief of the Federal Archival Agency of Russia A.N. Artizov; the Ukrainian delegation by the chairman of the State Archival Service of Ukraine O.P. Ginzburg.

At the plenary meeting among speakers from the Belarusian delegation who made reports on the issues of normative and legal regulation and practice in the use of archival records were the director of the Department for Archives and Records Management of Belarus V.I. Adamushko, alternate director of the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus N.K. Rudakovsky, director of the Belarusian State Archives-Museum of Literature and Art A.V. Zapartyko.

The chief of the Federal Archival Service of Russia A.N. Artizov and the director of the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Justice Ministry of Belarus V.I. Adamushko held a working meeting.

Belarusian archivists acquainted with the work at the State Archives of the Contemporary History of Novgorod Region, visited the State Archives of Novgorod Region building under construction, historical monuments in Veliky Novgorod.

The next meeting of archivists from the three countries is expected to be held in 2012 in Ukraine.
12 October 2011
On 6 October 2011, the archives and records management department at the Gomel Regional Executive Committee held a consultative training workshop on Records Management and Archival Science.

The workshop organiser is the Belarusian "Knowledge" Society in Gomel.

The participants at the workshop were records managers, personnel office staff, heads of institutional archives.

The workshop discussed the following issues:
  1. Legislation in records management and archive business in the Republic of Belarus and the system of state control over its observance. The results of work of the State Inspection for Archives and Records Management in the Gomel Region. Review of auditing inspections in 2011, legislation drawbacks and violations committed by the economic entities.
  2. Requirements to entries in documents and local normative legal acts in compliance with the "Instruction on records management in government institutions in the Republic of Belarus" (resolution by the Justice Ministry of Belarus of 19.01.2009 ¹4).
  3. Institutional forms. The procedure of using a corner stamp. The procedure of using, registering and confirming record forms with the picture of the National Emblem of the Republic of Belarus.
  4. Common requirements to creating records with the computer.
  5. File classification plans.
  6. Preservation of records at institutional archive in government institutions (archive organisation, requirements to storage facilities, equipment, files storage and arrangement). Types of archives. The procedure of transferring files to an archive. Records appraisal in an institution’s recordkeeping and archive. Definition of records retention periods.
  7. Ownership of records in the reorganisation, liquidation and privatisation of juridical persons or the loss of the owner.

07 October 2011
On 5 October 2011, the State Archives of Gomel Region held a round table dedicated to the Archivist’s Day on the topic The Archives Service in Gomel Region: History and Present Day.

At the meeting the Archives Service in Gomel Region was represented by the State Archives of Gomel Region and the local state archives in Mozyr and in Zhlobin. The participants at the round table were historians, museum workers and teachers.

The participants heard the reports and papers prepared on the basis of archival records held at the state archives of Grodno Region.

An exhibition of documents, The Archival Branch in Belarus: Pages of History, and the excursion to the Gomel Regional Museum of Military Glory were held as part of the round table.
29 August 2011
On 26 August 2011, the Department of Archives and Records Management of the Justice Ministry of the Republic of Belarus held a board meeting to discuss the results of the audit of economic and financial activity in the archive institutions.

The board meeting made a relevant decision. The directors of the state archive institutions were assigned with a task to strengthen the control over the expenditure of budgetary funds and the financial discipline.
22 August 2011
The Belarusian Research Institute of Records Management and Archival Science (BelNIIDAD) issued a new edition of General Records Retention Schedule for records pertaining to government system, price formation, financing, insurance, management of state property, privatization, and foreign economic relations.

The General Records Retention Schedule for records of government system, price formation, financing, insurance, management of state property, privatization and foreign economic relations created by government agencies, institutions and private businessmen (Schedule-2001) was adopted by resolution of the State Committee for Archives and Records Management of the Republic of Belarus of 6 August 2001 No. 38. The new edition incorporates changes and amendments proposed by resolutions of the Committee for Archives and Records Management of Justice Ministry of 28 April 2004 No. 4 and resolutions by Justice Ministry of the Republic of Belarus of 31 August 2007 No. 58, of 12 January 2009 No. 5, of 28 July 2009 No. 59, of 19 March 2010 No. 21, and of 1 November 2010 No. 86.

The new edition contains a revised and expanded index of record types and titles organized to simplify the search of records in the schedule’s structure.

This Schedule is one of the main normative and legal acts governing the disposition and retention of records relating to issues stated in its title. Schedule-2001 is used in preparing records classification schemes, file plans, agency records schedules, records appraisal, file description and formation, records acquisition and file processing. The Schedule’s norms are mandatory for execution in both government and non-government institutions.

Schedule-2001 is used by archives and records management offices along with Schedule-2006 for records of statistics, accounting, electronic information resources, labour relations, social care, personnel, education, customs control, logistics, administrative and household activity, records management and archives, adopted by resolution of Justice Ministry of the Republic of Belarus of 14 December 2006 No. 82.
17 August 2011
Chernobyl Accident. 1986-1991A new book, Chernobyl Accident. 1986-1991, came out.
The edition is prepared by the Department for Liquidation of Consequences of Chernobyl Accident at the Ministry for Emergency Situations, the Department for Archives and RM at the Justice Ministry, the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus, and the State Archives of Gomel Region.
The book is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl catastrophe and continues the 2006 edition, Chernobyl. 26 April 1986 - December 1991. The new edition contains 114 documents, including 100 from the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus, 12 from the State Archives of Gomel Region, and 2 from the Russian State Archives of Contemporary History, most of which have been published for the first time. These are resolutions, memoranda, data, certificates, meeting minutes, decisions by the Government Commission. A number of documents pertain to the activity of the Commission for Liquidation of Consequences of Chernobyl Accident. There are also documents that describe the population resettlement from the contaminated areas, the construction of housing for resettlers, the state of public health and medical care in the districts affected by the disaster, the international assistance, meetings, the demands of the work collectives. Of interest are the documents relating to the historical and cultural values that remained in the contaminated districts.

The aftermath of the Chernobyl accident in Belarus had no precedent in history: due to the meteorological conditions the country—s territory received nearly 35% of Cesium137 emitted from the Chernobyl reactor; the area of 46,5 thousand square kilometres was contaminated (23% of the country—s territory); about 3600 inhabited localities found themselves in the area of radioactive contamination, including 27 cities with the population of 2,3 million people; the total damage inflicted by the catastrophe to the country is estimated at 235 billion dollars. Of especial importance in this respect are the primary sources, archival records, which make possible to understand the situation in those days.
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