The Library subscribes to several electronic resources relevant for research on Chernobyl. The foremost of these is the Chernobyl Files database. This database provides access to a wide array of pertinent documents from Soviet and Ukrainian government agencies. The Library also subscribes to the electronic archives for several major Russian language newspapers such as Izvestiia and Pravda that existed during the Soviet Union. Searching these archives, you can find countless articles on Chernobyl that give a sense of how the Soviet Union responded to the disaster in the media.When using the keyword search function in these databases, it is recommended when possible to search in Russian using a Cyrillic keyboard setting.
The subscription resources marked with a padlock are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.
The Library also supports a digital exhibit complementing the 1992 "Revelations from the Russian Archives" project. The exhibit features a section dedicated to Chernobyl.
The collection contains reports prepared for and by a variety of Soviet and Ukrainian government agencies, such as the KGB, documenting and detailing the most important developments in the wake of the disaster, but also internal reports and investigations on the its various causes.
Some of the most fascinating items from the collection are internal reports, communiques, and correspondences between various heads of local and regional KGB officials long before the tragedy. Some reports going as far back as the beginning phase of the construction of the plant provide solid documentary evidence of criminal neglect in the building process, the unwillingness of the authorities to address the issues raised by the KGB and its vast network of informants, and the subsequent attempts at cover-up.
The collection also contains documents relating to the less known September 9, 1982 partial meltdown of the reactor Block no. 1, the subsequent mishandling of which was perhaps the first indication of the inevitability of the 1986 accident. All in all, the collection contains materials going as far back as 1971 and up to 1991 offering a unique window into the entire spectrum of the secret information circulating within the Soviet and Ukrainian governmental structures.
Documents are in full-image, text searchable files. The documents are in Russian and some Ukrainian, with all titles translated into English.