Centre for Doctoral Training in Russian, Slavonic & East European languages and culture


Archive of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation


Location and Contact Details

Address: Moscow, Plotnikov Pereulok, 11
Smolenskaia (dark blue line)
(499) 241-04-80 Fax: (499) 244-44-11/ (499) 244-27-80
Archive director:
Nadezhda Pavlovna Mozzhukhina
Chief archivist:
Sergey Vitalevich Pavlov

Opening Hours: Monday-Thursday: 10.00-17.00
Friday: 10.00-15.00.
The archive is usually closed from late July to early September. 

How to Register

The procedure is long and could be difficult. It takes minimum one month to obtain a pass, but could be more. The best way to proceed is to call the archive first and tell them roughly what you would like to research. Do this at the very least one month before travelling to Moscow. Then, you will be asked to fax them a letter from your department with all the details of your research. Try to have all the usual stamps, signatures and logos on it. Once you have sent the fax, keep calling them to ask if they have received your documents and if you have been authorised. You are likely to have to call them a couple of times per week for a relatively long time. At some point you might or might not be asked to provide them with a 'research plan', basically another ideally more detailed description of your research. It is absolutely vital that you don't give up calling them, otherwise the procedure might stop and you will need to repeat everything from the very beginning. The documents can be in English, but Russian is likely to speed up things.

How to Order Material

Procedure: There are no opisi in AVP RF. The archive personnel choose what you will see according to the description of your research. Be careful to describe it in as much detail as you can, but obviously don't mention you are interested in topics that are potentially considered to be 'of national security'. You only have to wait for the pass. Once you have been authorised, you will be able to see documents every day.

There is no limit to what you can see in one day, apart from how much you can resist reading boring Soviet diplomatic correspondence.

Reading Room Practices, General Hints and Tips

The reading room is small and can be very hot or very cold depending on the season since it's in a basement. In a recent change, laptops are now allowed. There is no stolovaia in the building, but there are plenty of cafes and restaurants on the Arbat, including a nice Mu-Mu cafe 50 metres away from the archive. Apart from the annoying procedure to obtain access, AVP RF works really well as an archive. Basically, once you're in nothing particularly annoying is likely to happen. It is worth studying the guidebook to AVP RF available on the LSE 'archives made easy' website:


It's not very up-to-date, but contains very useful tips on how to understand the archive classification without opisi. It is very useful to do so especially because a lot of the files they give you are absolutely worthless, and going through them will result in nothing but a huge waste of time. After some time you should be able to understand how the files are classified, and tell the archivists that you only want this particular kind of delas, but not these other ones (e.g. you are interested in correspondence from the local embassy, but not in extracts from the local press).

Next Steps:

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