Revelations from the Russian Archives:
Exhibit Publications from the Library of Congress
With the sudden and unexpected collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991, ownership of the huge archival legacy of the entire Soviet period (both of the government of the USSR and of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union), located in large centralized archives in Moscow and Leningrad, passed to the now-independent Russian Federation. Russian archivists turned to American colleagues, including Librarian of Congress James Billington, in early 1992 to request assistance in declassifying and organizing the formerly secret and inaccessible party archives.
In exchange for assistance and advice offered by Americans, including the Library of Congress, the new Russian Commission on Archives offered the Library of Congress the remarkable opportunity to exhibit in Washington original, formerly top-secret, documents from the Communist Party archives. The exhibit, termed "Revelations from the Russian Archives," was the first of the Library's exhibits to be put online, in the very early days of the Internet. The exhibit opened in June 1992 with a symposium of Russian and American historians, librarians, and archivists presenting views on the significance of the epochal changes occurring since the then-recent collapse of the USSR and the consequences of these changes for archival documents from the entire Soviet period, 1917-1991.
The first three publications below were issued at the time of the June 1992 exhibit at the Madison Gallery of the Library of Congress' Madison Building. They detail the items shown in the exhibit and present a summary of the symposium of scholars discussing the documents. The last item, Revelations from the Russian Archives: Documents in English Translation, is a compendium of translations of all the documents in the exhibit. This richly illustrated book presents 343 documents on a broad range of subjects with commentary to make their significance clear.