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news3     Preservation of information from the Soviet archives and access to those documents was the focus of the participants of the international scientific conference "Archives of Communist Special Services: formation, use, interpretation" held at the National University of Kyiv named after Taras Shevchenko.  “Open access to archival documents of the Soviet special services is important for effective counteraction to the threats to the national security of Ukraine nowadays.  After all, the methods used by the Russian aggressor have practically not changed since the Soviet era. The Archive of SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) provides access to KGB affairs and it also encourages academic discussions about new scientific discoveries made through our work” – Andriy Kohut, Director of the State Archive of the SB of Ukraine, said in his speech.  By the way, the institution is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.  In the same year, the SBU co-founded the scientific-documentary magazine “From the archives of VUCHK-GPU-NKVD-KGB”, where secret documents began to be printed in Ukraine for the first time. Since 2015 when the anticommunistic” laws were established, the access to these documents was finally free for all citizens.  Today  the SBU Archive is ranked first in the international ranking of open access to KGB archives among post-Soviet countries.

     The participants of the conference discussed issues related to the archival documents of the NKVD and the KGB, shared the results of their own searches, and got acquainted with the history and the current condition of access to the archives of the special services not only in Ukraine but also in Russia, Moldova and Georgia. It turned out that the situation there is much worse than in Ukraine. “It is difficult to estimate and understand the losses suffered by the KGB archives after 1954, when the order to preserve certain documents perpetually was cancelled. The cases of the operative verification (the compromising materials on the citizens) suffered mostly. After Stalin's death, it turned out that there were more than 6 million people in operational development, and generally there are evidence that the KGB had materials for 28 million people. Unique materials about famous people were destroyed: writers, scientists. One case by Anna Akhmatova contained three volumes of such observations. And in 1990, the last KGB head, Kryuchkov, commanded not to put in the archive and not to keep the files of the operative development. The KGB was aware that watching the citizens, controlling their actions, their thoughts was anti-constitutional activity. Destroying all the documents is an admission of being guilty and an attempt to replace the traces. Therefore, the materials that can be found in the KGB archives in Russia is a very sad picture. Even the documents that have been preserved are closed for the general public.” says Nikita Petrov, a Russian historian, deputy chairman of the board of the Scientific-Information and Educational Center of the Memorial Society.

     The chairman of the board of the “SovLab” research laboratory, Herakliy Khvadagiani told about the complexity of the study of the archives of the Soviet special services in Georgia and the value of the Ukrainian experience: “Unfortunately, the access to the archives of the KGB and other Soviet repressive structures is worsening every year.  The intricate bureaucratic system makes public control by historians and civic activists impossible.  That is why the Ukrainian experience is very valuable to us for understanding reforms of the system.  It is important for us to be part of a professional network for sharing experiences, forming international support for promoting reforms and providing access to the archives of former totalitarian regimes.”  Ihor Kulyk, the director of the State Archive of Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, informed that the process of creation of the National Memory Archive is proceeding in Ukraine: “The greater the openness of the KGB archives and other repressive bodies is, the more white spots of history we will open and be able to fill them.  And not only in general terms, but also we can investigate an event on the example of a particular fate or a specific locality.

     We will also receive maximum information not only about the victims of the crimes of the totalitarian regime, but also about the perpetrators of these crimes, about those who reported and contributed to these crimes.  True, lies and provocations coexist in the archives of the SBU, so it is worth analyzing and collating documents.  So our historians will have a lot of interesting work coming soon,” the director of the archive said.  The roundtable was also attended by Doctor of History, Director of the Center for Studies in Totalitarianism, Faculty of History and Philosophy of Moldova State University, Igor Kashu (Moldova), Valery Smoly (Ukraine), Ivan Patryliak (Ukraine), Roman Podkur (Ukraine), and Yuri Shapoval (Ukraine)  ), Andriy Zhivuk (Ukraine), Vadim Zolotarev (Ukraine), Oleksandr Rublev (Ukraine), Oleg Bazhan (Ukraine), Ruslana Davidyuk (Ukraine), Tatiana Sheptytska (Ukraine), Elena Polidovich (Ukraine), Mykola Brivko (Ukraine) and others.  Organizators: National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Institute of History of Ukraine NASU, Sectoral State Archive of the Security Service of Ukraine, Kyiv National University named after Taras Shevchenko, Sectoral State Archives of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, Center for Liberation Movement Studies, Main Editorial Board of the Scientific and Documentary Series of Books “Rehabbed by History”.