About the project

About the project

A personal matter for everyone is a guide for citizens who want to implement their right to access to documentary evidence about political repressions that took place in the Soviet Union and find information about the destiny of their relatives.

The aim of the project is to create a network for researchers who deal with different kinds of practices of access to archival material.

During the 20th century millions of people went away – people were shot, had to emigrate, were sent to prison camps, big groups of people were deported, they were de-kulakizated and resettled from villages to cities – not to mention the people who disappeared and died on the front during the Second World War, who ended up on occupied territory, the prisoners of war, those who were driven away and forced to work in Germany, and many more.

This incredible slaughter combined with the closed nature (and often deliberate rudeness) of the Soviet administration as well as family secrets has led to many people today not knowing anything about their ancestors further than two or three generations back. And to know the history of your family is absolutely a cause for the common good: only when having a feeling for your relatives as part of the big history and what role they played in it you can feel yourself as a part of the modern Russian society, acknowledge your relation to our contemporary time, feel affiliated with our country and feel responsibility for it.

Article 29 of the constitution of the Russian Federation guarantees you the right to ”freely search for, get, pass on, produce and distribute information any legal way”. Are we using this right to find out the history of our families and our country? Do the state archives put this right that the citizens have been guaranteed into practice to the fullest extent? What obstacles await a person who wants to find archival information that is of significance for his family or the society?

On the site of A personal matter for everyone you can find statutory regulations of the Russian Federation on the access to archival information with comments by historians and legal counsels, histories of successful and less successful archival researches and, most importantly, detailed recommendations for those who look for information about their relatives and are planning to go the an archive or are already working in one. These recommendations help you to successfully defend your right to information and understand different archival documents.


Working on this project:

Coordinator: Svetlana Shuranova

Copy editor: Paulina Nikolaeva

Designer: Igor Yarygin

Programmer: Konstantin Polivanov

And also: Kristina Golomazova, Viktoriya Yeliseykina, Alena Zuyeva, Andrey Dudin, Dmitry Kokorin, Aleksandra Polivanova

For help and support we thank Nikita Petrov, Yan Rachinsky, Arseny Raginsky and the other co-workers of Memorial.