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19 December 2008
The International Council on the virtual reconstruction of the Radziwills archive and book collections, 12 December 2008, Nesvizh, Belarus



On 12 December 2008 the second meeting of the International Council on the project for the virtual reconstruction of the Radziwills archival/written heritage and book collections took place in Nesvizh, the Republic of Belarus. The meeting was organized by the Belarusian Research Center for Electronic Records and the National Historical and Cultural Museum-Reserve "Nesvizh" with the participation of the National Committee of the Republic of Belarus for UNESCO and with financial support from the UNESCO Moscow Office.

The International Council on the project for the virtual reconstruction of the Radziwills archives and Nesvizh library collections was set up in line with recommendations made by the international conference "The UNESCO Memory of the World Programme: the activities of libraries, archives and museums in safeguarding documentary heritage" that took place in Minsk between 30 November and 2 December 2006. The first meeting of the council, which was held in Minsk on 27 April 2007, adopted a resolution that each country should implement the whole complex of activities stipulated by the project for parts of the Radziwills collections preserved in the archives, libraries and museums of their country. The International Council on the project for the virtual reconstruction of the Radziwills archives and Nesvizh libraryThe first results of this work and the future plans were expected to be discussed at the second meeting.

The second meeting brought together archive and library specialists from Belarus, Poland, Russian Federation, Ukraine and Finland.

The Director of the Belarusian Research Center for Electronic Records informed that pursuant to the first meeting a joint nomination dossier has been prepared and submitted by Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Russian Federation, Ukraine and Finland for the inclusion of the Radziwills archive and book collections on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

Mr Vladimir Schastny, Chairman of the National Commission of the Republic of Belarus for UNESCO informed of the support given by UNESCO to the international project "Documentary heritage of Rzeczpospolita/the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth", which aims to identify all major complexes of documents created in the territory of this State during the period of its existence, to integrate their descriptions at the level of fonds and collections, and to develop unified principles of the collection classification on the basis of the ISAD(G) International Standard Archival Description. The project will be implemented through joint efforts between specialists in Belarus, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine as the main historical successors of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, not excluding active interactions with experts from other countries.


12 December 2008
The ninth issue of the Belarusian Archaeography Yearbook came out at the Belarusian Research Institute of Records Management and Archival Studies.

The issue contains materials on archival publications, archive science, source studies, textual and code analysis, and the history of government institutions.

The journal offers documents on the medieval, new and contemporary history of Belarus, the surveys of archival collections, and other materials. This is intended for historians, archivists, philologists, and specialists in local lore.


25 November 2008
A regular joint meeting of the boards of the Department of Archives and Records Management under the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus (Department) and the Federal Archival Agency of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation (Rosarkhiv) took place on 19 November 2008 in Moscow.

The sides exchanged experience in declassifying records of the Communist Party and Komsomol institutions conducted in the years 1991 – 2008.

It was noted that the archival services of these countries, guided by the national legislation for the protection of state secrets and the archival business, work much in declassifying records created by the Communist Party and Komsomol organisations, which are held in the state archives. In the Russian Federation the interagency expert commissions for declassifying records of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) function in this field with the participation of the archivists. Since 2001, a considerable part of work in declassifying records of the higher and central bodies of the CPSU has been done by the Interagency Commission for Safeguarding State Secret. In the Republic of Belarus, the activity on declassifying records of the former party archives has been carried out by the commissions of seven state archives.

For the past period these countries have declassified considerable amounts of archival records. The Rosarkhiv regularly publishes the bulletins of declassified records from the state archives. In Belarus, 2, 7 million files of the former party archives have been declassified, with 1,4 million files (51% of the total) added to restricted access…


25 November 2008
A scholarly conference "The fourth international bibliology readings on new technologies in safeguarding documentary heritage" took place on 20-21 November 2008 at the National Library of Belarus. The conference brought together librarians, archivists and museum custodians from Belarus, Germany, Iran, Kazakhstan, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and Czechia.

The conference discussed the issues of creating and preserving documentary heritage, the introduction of modern technologies in archives, libraries and museums, and the joint projects aimed at safeguarding and providing wide access to book and archive collections.

The representatives of the State Archival Service of the Republic of Belarus actively participated in the conference.

The reports read by the Belarusian archivists dealt with the following issues:
• The use of information technologies in preserving documentary heritage in public archives (by O.A. Ledovskaya, chief of department of preservation, state registration and automated technologies at the Department of Archives and RM of the Republic of Belarus)

• Belarusian genealogical sources in the Internet (by T.S. Mikheenok, chief of department of automated archival technologies at the National Historical Archives of Belarus)

• The creation of electronic catalogues at the Belarusian State Archive-Museum of Literature and Art (by T.B. Bakovets, chief of department of information retrieval systems at the National Historical Archives of Belarus)

• Practices of presenting documents of the National Archival Holdings of Belarus on the Website "Archives of Belarus" and creating thematical resources in the web (by A.B. Pashkevich, scholarly secretary at the Belarusian Research Centre of Elecronic Records).



05 November 2008
31 October 2008, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Republic to Belarus Marian Serwatka visited the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus.

The Slovak ambassador became acquainted with the activities of various departments at the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus, contents of its holdings, storage conditions, and the archival publications, including those relating to the Czechoslovak crisis in 1968. The ambassador showed especial interest in the documents concerning the Slovaks' involvement in the Partisan movement in Belarus during World War Two. An agreement was reached about the preparation of the project dedicated to this problem.

03 November 2008
24 October 2008, the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus hosted a presentation of two scholarly editions published within the frames of the international conference "The Prague Spring and the International Crisis 1968" organized by the Austrian Boltzmann Institute for Research on War Consequences, the Russian State Archives of Contemporary History, the History Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences, the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus, and other scholarly institutions.

A two-volume book, "The Prague Spring and the International Crisis 1968" and a directory, "Records in the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus relating to the 1968 crisis in Czechoslovakia" were presented to the audience memembers.

The two-volume book is in 2,900 pages. The first volume includes 70 articles written by scholars from different countries. Among these are the articles by V.D. Selemenev, director at the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus and A.V. Sharkov, department chief at the Ministry of Internal Affairs Academy of the Republic of Belarus. The second volume presents documents selected from various archives in 37 countries, with 5 documents from the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus.

The directory, "Records in the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus relating to the 1968 crisis in Czechoslovakia" offers data on 99 documents relating to the topic. Many of these are published in full. The supplement includes information materials issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which are held at the Russian State Archives of Contemporary History.

Among the participants at the presentation were Peter Ruggentaler from the Austrian Boltzmann Institute for Research on War Consequences, Viktor Ishchenko, deputy director at the History Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Belarusian archivists, and media representatives.
22 October 2008
On 16–17 October 2008 Director of the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Republic of Belarus, V. Adamushko, participated in the celebration events marking 200 years since the foundation of the State Archives of Poland, which took place in Warsaw and in Pultusk.

The events included a documentary exhibition called "The Republic (Rzeczpospolita) of Many Peoples", a grand meeting to mark 200 years of the Polish archives, and an international conference on the history of the Polish archives.

The celebration brought together representatives of central archival agencies from 19 countries in Europe. Belarus had bilateral meetings with representatives of Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine and Russia to discuss issues of cooperation in archive business, in particular joint projects aimed at provision of access and use of archival documents.


17 September 2008
18 September 2008 the Belarusian Research Centre for Electronic Records (BelNITsED) marks ten years since its foundation. During the past years the Centre played a leading role in the developing of normative and procedural documents for electronic recordkeeping and executed major works in the automation of archives in the Republic of Belarus. One of the significant products created by BelNITsED is the Archives of Belarus Website, which has been developed and maintained since 1999.

The centre scholars can be proud of many information systems created independently or jointly with other institutions. These include the electronic Atlas Directory "Gubernia" for the Belarusian provinces of the former Russian Empire, the automated information system of the State Heraldry Register, the Rehabilitated Persons Database, and more. These information products have already been introduced into practices of the Belarusian archives and receive a good response.

The Centre is an active participant in an international project under the UNESCO auspices aimed at the electronic reconstruction of the archives and library from the Niasvizh estate of the Radziwill magnates, whose collections had been created from the late 16th to the early 20th centuries, and are now dispersed in many archives and libraries of Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and other countries. In the year 2007 the Centre guided the preparation of the Dossier of the Niasvizh Radziwill Archives and Library Collection, needed for its nomination to the UNESCO Memory of the World Registry. The Centre is also the author of the CD-ROM Information System "Niasvizh, a Cultural Centre of Europe and a National Monument" created in 2005 at the request of the National Commission of the Republic of Belarus for UNESCO.

05 September 2008
An international scholarly conference "The Prague Spring. The International Crisis 1968" was held in Austria on August 20-22, 2008.

The conference has finalized the project that have been implemented for two years by the Austrian Boltzmann Institute for Research on War Consequences, the Russian State Archives of Contemporary History, and the History Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences, with the participation of the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus.

The conference brought together scholars and archivists from 20 countries, including Austria, Germany, Russia, Belarus, USA, Czechia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Lithuania and Estonia.

The seven sessions discussed the issues of the reform process in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic; the positions of the USSR, the USA, Austria, Germany, China and other countries in the international crisis of 1968; the role of CIA, KGB and Ministry of Internal Affairs in the conflict; and the Prague Spring and the Soviet republics.

The conference also heard the reports delivered by V. Selemenev, Director at the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus and A. Sharkov, professor and department head at the Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus.
25 August 2008
A book of documents, "Small ethnic groups in Gomel Region in the 1920s-1930s. Analytical materials and documents issued by the State Archives of Gomel Region" came out in 2008.

Published for the first time are122 original documents relating to the history and culture of small ethnic groups in the Gomel Region, i.e. Ukrainians, Germans, Latvians, Lithuanians, Czechs, Assyrians, and Gypsies.

The book illustrates the political and ethnoconfessional diversity of the Dniepr Region at this time, that is the Gomel Province and Eastern Polessie. In the 1920s-1930s, this area had the highest concentration of ethnic communities in the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic (BSSR). These are the main ethnic group (Belarusians) and non-Belarusian ethnic groups (national minorities, ethnic diasporas).

The research into the history and culture of small ethnic groups in the region contributes significantly to the correction of the historiographical distortion that resulted from the predominance in research and published information on the history and culture of the main ethnic group (Belarusians) and the larger national minorities such as Russians, Jews and Poles on this territory.

Of especial importance are the documents that make possible to study the life of small ethnic communities in terms of the history of everday life.

In production now and the next to be published is a book of documents titled "Gomel Province. 1919 - 1926", a joint initiative by the archivists from Belarus, Gomel region, and from Russia. The intent of this book is to present documents issued by the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus, the Russian State Archives of Socio-Political History, the State Archives of Gomel Region, and the State Archives of Social Organizations in the Gomel Region.
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