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Legal foundations of administration in Belarus in XIV-XVIII cc.
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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.

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