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Gift of
John Kluge

Preservation and Filming of American Records in Russian Archives

After the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, many long-closed archives in Russia opened for research. Most of the material in these archives document Soviet activities, but one surprise was the discovery of a large collection of documents created by Americans in America about activities in the United States. These documents were shipped secretly to the USSR many decades ago. Also part of the collection are documents on Americans who worked in or emigrated to the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s. Rumors of such a collection had circulated for many years, but it was not until January 1993 that its existence was confirmed when a Library of Congress historian became the first American scholar to examine them. The collection, "Fond 515," consists of more than 400,000 pages of the original records of the Communist Party USA along with other American-related material. Most of the documents are unique with no copies existing in the United States. Communism and anticommunism were major concerns of American politics for a large portion of the 20th century, and these archival documents will greatly enhance the ability of scholars to accurately understand what happened.

 

 

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