Availability of materials acquired from Russia

Material concerning Finland is acquired from different archives in Russia either as microfilms or in digital format.

The National Archives of Finland acquires documents that are important to Finnish historical research to supplement the original documents stored in the National Archives of Finland. The original documents were handed over to the State Archives when Finland became independent. The acquisitions supplement the archives of the State Secretariat, the Chancery of the Governor-General and Governors-General, as well as the Suomenmaalaisen Santarmihallinnon arkisto archive, stored in the National Archives of Finland.

Comprehensive background work related to the acquisition of material and carried out at the National Archives of Finland is supported by Russian’s scientific working group headed by the director general of the archives. The working group consists of representatives of Finnish universities and the National Archives Services.

The acquisition of material as collections or individual acts depends on several factors, such as the possibilities of the donating archive to produce microfilmed or digital copies of archival documents so that they meet the technical requirements set for digitisation by the National Archives of Finland, as well as on the physical condition and size of the material.

Documents are catalogued under the subgroup Venäläiset kopiokokoelmat suomen ja venäjän kielellä (Russian copy collections in Finnish and in Russian) of the records creator classification. Then microfilmed material is digitised and the digital copies are transferred to the Digital Archive of the National Archives. The digital copies received from Russia meet the technical requirements that the National Archives has set for digitisation.

They started to catalogue the materials and save metadata to the archives database at the beginning of 2013. Catalogue information includes archival document data, such as the title in Finnish and in Russian, time attributes, the name of the storing archives, as well as source details (archive collection (fondi), catalogue (opis) and the number of the act). Catalogue information is freely available on the website of the National Archives of Finland through the online services, under the Records section.  However, digitised document copies can only be studied in the reading rooms of the National Archives by accessing the Digital Archive via the intranet (no registration or access permit required).

The material received from Russia is partly subject to viewing limitations based on the agreements signed with the Russian party. To save or publish images, a request must be made to obtain the material and use it by contacting the Russian archives storing the material. Requests can be made in Russian or English, and the related fee is based on the rules and price list of the archives.

Documents can be searched for using the Digital Archive or the Astia online service. Astia is best suited to searching for individual documents. Individual documents can be searched for in the Digital Archive, but it is also possible to search for a larger collection, such as the Winter War collection of the Russian State Military Archive (RGVA, Moscow) (Fondi 34980). It contains more than 2,000 acts, and we have received copies of its material as microfilms and in digital format over the years.