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Аrchive of National Remembrance.About us.

Let's get acquainted

 We are convinced, you already know about the existence of SSU (the Security Service of Ukraine) Archives, central state archives, state archives of the regions. Even, most likely, you have already applied to these institutions for documents, investigative cases in search of information about your families or repressed relatives.

 At the same time, don`t think you have heard much about our archive, the full official name of which is the State Archive of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance (SA UINR). No, we are not just an archive that is subordinated to the UINR and stores its documents. The purpose of creation and our activity is much wider and larger.

 SA UINR, which we simply call the Archive of National Remembrance, is an institution where in a few years the documents of the secret police, special services and other repressive bodies of the communist and National Socialist totalitarian regimes will be collected.

 Our vocation is to concentrate in itself the whole array of historical data for 1917-1991 from all law enforcement agencies, which still keep the documents of the non-existent state. These include the Security Service, the Foreign Intelligence Service, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of the Interior, the National Police, the National Guard, the State Border Guard Service, prosecuting authorities and courts.

In total, up to 4 million archival documents will be stored in the repositories of the National Remembrance Archive. And all this data will be freely available to everyone - be it a historian, journalist or just a citizen who wants to study the history of their country and family.

 Why does Ukraine need such a fundamental institution? How, for what and for whom was it created? Why can the Archive of National Remembrance become a real pride for Ukrainians and a revolution in working with archives?

In the best European traditions 

In fact, the creation of such a single large-scale archive is not Ukrainian know-how. Such institutions have existed for decades in developed European countries, in particular in our close and not very neighbors, who have also “felt the happiness" to build a bright communist future on the deaths of millions of people. In particular,  it is Germany, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary.
 
In Ukraine, the need of such an archive was discussed in the 1990s, but only in 2009-2010  such a possibility first begin to emerge in practice.
 
At that time, the establishment of such an institution was hampered by the coming to power of Yanukovych, and the creation of such an archive opposed to the policy of returning to the Soviet past. The desire to restore the USSR-2.0 during 2010-2014 further demonstrated the need to create such a specialized archive in order to prevent the restoration of the totalitarian past in Ukraine in the future.
 
The Revolution of Dignity gave new life to the idea of creating the Archive. The real impetus was the adoption on May 21, 2015 of the Law "On Access to the Archives of the Repressive Bodies of the Communist Totalitarian Regime of 1917-1991", which created a separate civilian institution - the State Archives of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance.
 

Archive of National Remembrance. The mission 

The task of the Archive of National Remembrance is to provide access to the original cases with information from repressive bodies in one place. It should be a state-of-the-art archive using the latest technologies for the most convenient work of archivists and users with documents of repressive bodies.
 
The Archive of National Remembrance should become the only point of entry for all who wish to investigate the formation and collapse of totalitarian regimes, collect evidence of communist crimes, identify perpetrators of crimes at all levels of government, restore "white spots" of history about their repressed relatives and settlements.
 
 
The Archive will provide access to information through the digitization of cases and the creation of various online databases. The preparatory work of the researcher will begin with the site, where the maximum array of information will be posted so that everyone can work with electronic files and documents. In the reading room of the archive it will be possible to get acquainted directly with the originals of cases.
 
What information will be stored in our Archive? This is not just data on repressed citizens. Though this is a large and important amount of materials, but not the only one. It is important to collect evidence in the archives of the crimes of the communist totalitarian regime, how the special services acted, violating the rights and freedoms of man and citizen.
 
Therefore, our archive will store absolutely all information on any media that was created, received or was in the repressive authorities. Such information can be contained in different types of documents: already mentioned criminal (investigative) cases, cases on personnel issues (personnel), on issues of financial support of employees (cash support cards), personal, working cases of freelance employees of repressive bodies, operational and investigative (counterintelligence) and other operational cases, internal, incoming and outgoing correspondence, etc. 
 
 

Why historical archives have no place in modern secret services?

Archival documents should not be stored in the archives of modern special services and law enforcement agencies. Preservation of historical documents and study of the history of Ukraine are not functions inherent in law enforcement agencies. Their main tasks are radically different - to catch criminals, ensure security, counter terrorism and more. In addition, the continued presence of documents of repressive bodies makes these law enforcement agencies certain successors of the shameful practice that existed in the USSR. Therefore, it is important to get rid of this legacy of the Soviet totalitarian past.

 In addition, in law enforcement agencies, historical documents for 1917-1991 are kept in non-specialized archives, often in secretariats or regime-secret units. Premises of law enforcement agencies are regime objects. This is inconvenient and restricts both the archive staff and visitors.

The archive does not have the ability to digitize documents by involving people and equipment from outside. Visitors need to spend extra time every day to get passes, journalists - to agree on the date and time of shooting for a long time.

Archive of National Remembrance. Building and reconstruction

In June 2019, we took a step closer to our goal of building a state-of-the-art Archive in Ukraine. After all, on June 5, the Archive of National Remembrance received from the National Bank of Ukraine a premise of 11 thousand square meters on the Pukhovska St, 7 (Desnianskyi district, Troieshchyna). And on June 25, the Archive appeared as a separate legal entity.

We immediately set to work – performed all the bureaucratic procedures for the design of the premises, collected the necessary data for the design to begin reconstruction. The result of such a rapid pace was that in record time – in six months! – The archive of national memory received a positive expert report on the already developed project documentation. Moreover, thanks to the joint work of archivists and designers, it was possible to increase the total usable area of the future Archive by two thirds – from 11,000 square meters. m. to almost 17,500 sq. M.

However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Verkhovna Rada amended the State Budget for 2020, and in April the Archive of National Remembrance withdrew all funds for the reconstruction of premises in the amount of UAH 57.6 million.

This case forced the Archive to cancel the already announced tender for the search of a general construction contractor. So at the moment we have no choice but to pause the reconstruction of the premises until the allocation of additional funds.

What is the current situation?

Our team does not take the pause for reconstruction as a verdict. We do not give up, conversely – we continue to work actively.

Recently, the Archive established a Consultation Center to search for information about the repressed, where hundreds of Ukrainians have already turned for help. At the same time, we are doing everything in our power to resume funding for the reconstruction of the Archive and get to work as soon as possible.

We strive to create more than just an institution where millions of documents will be stored. We want to implement the best European archival practices in Ukraine. The team of the Archive of National Remembrance wants to unite around themselves historians, scientists, journalists and, of course, all those who want to know the truth about the history of Ukraine and their repressed relatives - freely, without exhausting and long bureaucracy.

Only by organizing and speaking about our past we will finally be able to move towards a conscious and successful future.