Telephone directories are used by genealogists and historians to identify people and businesses from a particular place and era. This guide lists directories from the countries of Soviet and post-Soviet Central Asia in the Library of Congress collection.
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Angela Cannon, Reference Specialist, European Division
Note: This guide is adapted from an earlier version, which first appeared on the European Reading Room website in 2004.
Created: January 12, 2020
Last Updated: January 21, 2020
Most of the foreign telephone directories held by the Library of Congress are uncataloged. We have therefore compiled this list of Russian-language telephone directories from the countries of the Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan) as a finding aid for our staff and researchers. These directories cover Soviet and post-Soviet Central Asia between the years 1955-2013. In addition to the uncataloged directories listed below, the Library also holds a handful that are cataloged and may be requested using the online catalog. To locate these directories, search the Library of Congress Online Catalog using subject keywords such as "Kazakhstan" and "directories," or the name of a city plus "directories." Besides telephone directories, this kind of search also yields business/address directories from the countries of Central Asia. Additionally, the Library of Congress may hold directories in Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik, Turkmen, or Uzbek in the African and Middle Eastern Division.
The finding aid, which represents Library of Congress holdings as of January 2020, is arranged by country/republic, then by city, and then by the year prominently displayed on the cover of the piece, which may or may not be the actual date of publication (i.e., a directory will often have one year in large print on the cover, and a different, usually earlier, year of publication elsewhere). Directories that cover all of a particular country appear first in the list. The type of directory is indicated by the words "residential," "organizational," or "both" for directories that include both business and private numbers.
Most of the directories are in Russian, but several have parallel Russian/English titles and entries. The geographic names used in this list for all five countries reflect recent changes away from the former Soviet and/or Russian names.
In addition to the uncataloged directories listed below, the Library also holds a handful that are cataloged and may be paged from the closed stacks using their call numbers. To locate these directories, search the online catalog using subject keywords such as "Kazakhstan" and "directories" or the name of a city plus "directories".
Besides using printed telephone directories, a reader may find it helpful to use online directories available for free on the Internet. For example, the Russian telephone portal site Spravka.net External provides a few directories for Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. World 192 External has directories for each country. Many other sites exist and can be found using any search engine. Searching of these web sites generally will require the use of Cyrillic characters as well as some knowledge of the Russian language.