HomeOpen Access Primary Sources

Open Access Primary Sources

This section provides information about open access primary source materials for the study of Soviet history. This bibliographic guide focuses on both unpublished and published materials, including archival documents, document collections, primary source books, periodicals, cartographic materials, statistical data, personal narratives, correspondence, oral history, photographs, and works of literature and art. Rather than specific items, this guide is mostly devoted to digital archives, libraries, collections, exhibits, projects, and databases. Many resources provide free access to extensive primary source materials, which users can explore themselves. 

Below are selected resources from our database organized by material type. You can also browse all resources in our database, or check featured resources, which contain relatively diverse and extensive primary source materials. Researchers with specific geographic and/or chronological focuses can search items by date range and region. You can also search by metadata on each item page or use Advanced Search to find specific resources. 

To learn more about digital resources for research in Post-Soviet and Eurasian studies available via Harvard digital platforms, you can refer to the following bibliographic guide:

        Digital Resources for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University

Archival Documents

Documents of the Soviet Era

Documents of the Soviet Era

Extensive digitized archival documents from Soviet state and party organs, socio-political organizations, and personal fonds.

Digitized Fonds of TsDAVO

Ukrainian archives

Digitized fonds information and original documents of the Central State Archives of Supreme Bodies of Power and Government of Ukraine.

Collections Online Search, Academic Historica (Taiwan)

Academic Historica

Documents from the Guomindang government and officials about the Soviet Union and Sino-Soviet relations.

Wilson Center Digital Archive

Wilson Center Digital Archive

Huge digital archive containing archival documents from all over the world, covering various topics in Cold War history.

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Primary Source Books

Armenian Book (1512-2012)

Armenian Books

Huge database of digital copies of Armenian books published between 1512 and 2012.

Culture of Ukraine

Ukrainian culture

Digital library of the National Library of Ukraine named after Yaroslav the Wise.

Library of Turkistani

Library of Turkestani

Digital library with many materials on Soviet Turkic-speaking populations.

Digital Library of SPHL


Digital library of the State Public Historical Library of Russia.

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Russian Domestic Periodicals

Russian Domestic Periodicals

Digital copies of imperial Russian and Soviet periodicals from the Yeltsin Presidential Library.

DIGAR Estonian Articles


Digital database of newspapers, journals, and serials published in Estonia from 1811 till today.

Vtoraia literatura

Vtoraia literatura

Digital library providing free access to digitized Russian emegre publications in the 20th century.

National Periodicals of Uzbekistan

Uzbekistani periodicals

Digital archive of periodicals of Uzbekistan developed by the National Library of Uzbekistan.

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Memoirs, Diaries, Letters & Oral History



Website with a huge number of diaries and memoirs from the Soviet period from a variety of people.

Diaries and Letters (Militera)


Russian-language diaries and personal correspondence on wars in the 20th century.

Centropa Archive


Digital archive of oral history interviews on Jewish life in Central and Eastern Europe and the USSR.

Harvard Project on the Soviet Social System Online

Harvard Project on Soviet Social System

Transcripts of interviews conducted with refugees from the USSR during the early years of the Cold War.

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Legal Sources

Legislation of Russia

Legislation of Russia

Online databse of the federal and regional laws of Russia from 1917 to today.

Legislation of Ukraine

Legislation of Ukranine

Online database of laws adopted in Ukraine from 1983 till 1991.

Legislation of the USSR

Legislation of the USSR

Online database of Soviet laws.

The Evolution of Labor Relations in Russian Industry

The Evolution of Lbor Relations in Rusian Industry

Multifunctional information system providing resources for research on the evolution of labor relations in Russia.

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Statistical Sources



Online databse containing historical statistics of the Russian Empire and the USSR.



Demographic data of the former Soviet states as well as other world countries.

1930-1933. Famine in Kazakhstan

Kazakh Famine

Online database on victims of the Kazakh Famine of the 1930s.

Historical Materials

Historical Materials

Primary source materials on Russian and Soviet history, including a big collection of statistical sources.

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Literature and Arts



Digital copies of Soviet-era publications, most of which are literary works and humanities studies.



Archive of Lithuanian movies from 1930 till today, with thousands of Soviet Lithuanian productions.

Electronic library of Ukrainian Literature

Electronic Library of Ukrainian Literature

Free-access digital copies of Ukrainian literary works published in different periods.

The Fundamental Digital Library of Russian Literature and Folklore


Digital information system with free access to digital texts of Russian literary works and folklore, and scholarly research on them.

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Cartographic Materials

David Rumsey Map Collection

David Rumsey Map Collection

Digital map preservation project which includes numerous high-resolution maps of the USSR.

Maps (Osmikon)


Digital map collections and geographical databases on Russia, Central-Eastean Europe, and the Balkans.

Kaardid Map Database


Huge database of maps and other cartographic materials published in Estonia in different periods.

Online Map collection of the National Library of Armenia

Online Map Colletion. NLA

More than 10 thousand maps and atlases from the National Library of Armenia.

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Audio, Video, Photographs, and Other Multimedia Sources

Kyrgyz Photo Archive

Kyrgyz Photo Archive

Thousands of annotated historical photographs about Kyrgyzstan and the Kyrgyz people.

Soviet Music

Soviet Music

Database of Soviet music, lyrics, and some audio recordings of Soviet leaders' speeches.

Fim Archive Information System


Digital film and sound archive of the National Archives of Estonia.

Online Projects of the Russian State Archive of Phonodocuments

Russian State Archive of Phonodocuments

Digital projects based on audio materials from the Russian State Archive of phonodocuments.

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Sources on Social Media

A Special Guide to Primary Sources on Social Media

Mosfilm English YouTube Channel

Mosfilm English YouTube Channel

The official English YouTube channel of Mosfilm, presenting over 1000 Soviet and Russian films with English subtitles.

Soviet PSYCHEDELIC cartoons VK Group

Soviet PSYCHEDELIC cartoons

A VK group that shares Soviet "Psychedelic" cartoons. Here you can find numerous surrealistic and strange Soviet cartoons.

"Society for Promoting Helpful Books" Telegram Channel

Society for Promoting Helpful Books

The Telegram channel of a digital project of the same name that shares digitized imperial Russian and Soviet rare books (always on very niche topics).

Soviet and Post-Soviet music VK Group

Soviet and Post-Soviet music

A VK group that shares Soviet and Post-Soviet post-punk, psychedelia, industrial, noise rock, underground, and other types of niche music.

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