news2     On Monday ,the 24s of June the State Ukrainian Institute of National Memory showed a room where all the archive documents of the Extraordinary Commission of People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs-Committee for State Security (ЧК-НКВД-КГБ(KGB)) will be collected in 1,5-2 years. The journalists of “Media Detector” visited the building where the archive will be created and learned when, how and why this archive will be equipped. The idea of launching an integral archive with a free access to the all declassified documents of the Soviet Special Cervices has been discussed over several years. Finally on the 5th of June 2019 the government of Ukraine allocated a room (over 11 thousand square kilometers) in the one of the capital region Troyeshchyna (Pucharivska Street ,7, 5th building) for this archive. This building hadn’t been used for a long time. It is located at the area that belongs to the National Bank of Ukraine. There will be the State Archive of Ukrainian Institute of National Memory here in several years. It will be available to everyone if he shows a passport.

>     Why do we need such archive of the Soviet Special Cervices? The Supreme Council of Ukraine approved a significant “anticommunistic pack” which consists of 4 laws. One of them concerns opening of archives of communistic Special Cervices - the Law of Ukraine “About access to the archives of the repressive authorities “. Anyone can use documents of Committee for State Security almost unlimited since this law is in force. Volodymyr Viatrovych says that using this law thousands of people worked in archives and found out the fate of their families that were repressed by the Soviet authority. Foreigners and journalists who want to reveal the information about the crimes of the communistic regime to the world can also use archives. These “anticommunistic” laws provide transferring archives of the Soviet Special Cervices to a separate civil archive. All these documents still remain at the Securty Service, National Police, Foreign Intelligence Service and other law enforcement services. When such integral archive will be inaugurated everyone will be able to work with these data comfortably in one reading room. The qualified stuff will know where needed documents are located and will help all the visitors promptly.

     Representatives of the Institute claim that the building will be modified and enlarged to 18 thousands square kilometers at the expense of technical rooms. They promise that the main part of the building and reading rooms will be completed in 1,5-2 years. The high quality video surveillance and temperature favorable for preserving the documents are expected. Next step is gathering a team of professionals that will start the realization of the project. The head of the team is Ihor Kulik – the director of the State Archive of Ukrainian Institute of National Memory. He says that the majority of countries that used to belong to the Soviet Union created similar special archives where all the documents of the repressive organs (analogous to Committee for State Security in Germany, Poland and The Czech Republic) are collected. “There are a lot of data about the capturing the territories and destruction of people who disagreed by Soviet Union in the preserved documents. Such horrible methods are identical to those that Russian Special Services use now. That is why studying the documents gives us an opportunity to work out ways of resisting the informational war that Russia has begun.”- highlights Mr Kulik. The only thing that is required for free access to the documents that will be in this archive is the desire of the person himself, and a passport must be shown on the spot.  In addition to free access to documents, you will be able to copy the electronic version of the document to your flash drive or to other media.

     In order to search the data faster, it will be possible to call the archive in advance and order the required document.  “The reading room should be in the popular open space format.  There should also be a kitchen where food can be warmed up if the person works in the archive from the morning until the evening.  The reading room can also be used by a person to be alone with their thoughts and to comprehend the information they have learned.  Why is this important? Personally in my practice , I have repeatedly encountered situations when a person read his or her relatives' case for the first time in 50-60 years, and often it was shocking.  It is important for a person to give time to figure it out.  I will also add that documents are not always 100% true.  Historical documents can contain both truth and lies and provocation, ” adds Ihor Kulik. Since 2015, the number of people seeking information from the Security Service’s of Ukraine State Archives and a number of other state archives has more than doubled.  Most of them sought information about their repressed relatives, says Andriy Kohut, director of the Security Service Sectoral State Archive.  “Today we have reached the limits of our ability to work with those applications that come to us.  In particular, there is a lack of jobs where people can work with documents.  Every day we are approached by 12-20 people who want to work in the reading room.  However, we also see a growing number of researchers in such archives abroad.  For example, in 2014-2015, foreign journalists and historians did not really believe that KGB documents were really open to us.  But now the situation has changed, and more and more people become interested.  Such an archive will give everyone the opportunity to work with documents comfortably”he says.  In order to find information from archives, it is important to contact the right institution, says Andriy Kohut.

     The law passed in 2015 provides transferring the Soviet special services archives from law enforcement agencies to a single archive. When it comes to regions, such archives are primarily the archives of the Security Service and the Ministry of Internal Affairs in each region. “However, if we talk about the general state archives of the regions, according to the law, the documents stored in them will continue to be stored there. Why? Because these are specialized archives. Other special documents can be found there. For example, about the birth dates of relatives”, he says. Sectoral archive should be equipped with CCTV cameras and maintain the temperature-controlled regime required for the storage of documents (Photo: Media Detector) According to historians, when access to archives is restricted in any region of Ukraine, it is a direct violation of the law, and such incidents should be reported to the Institute of National Memory. The only exception, when access to such documents may be restricted, is if the victim of political repression herself writes a statement demanding that access to her information has to be restricted. ”We started opening KGB archives in 2008 for the first time.I became the director of the Security Service archive then”, recalls Volodymyr Viatrovych “ Unfortunately, there was no special law regulating this process at that time. But we still started to open the archives, and this, of course, caused an alarm by our northern neighbour. There they tried to prevent the opening of the archives.

     From Russia, defamatory information about the archives was thrown.  They say that they musn’t be opened categorically.  They wrote: “The revealing of the archives could lead to a civil war: revenge will start. Don’t do this anyway! ”  At that time, due to the political situation, it was not possible to approve the law, but in 2015 we did it.  For almost four years now, since these archives have been opened, there is no civil war and nothing like that in Ukraine.  On the contrary, Ukrainians are getting stronger because they understand their history better.  And relying on these archives, they can defend themselves against Russia's informational influence and deconstruct the Soviet myths that Russia is still exporting to us."