Communist International (Comintern) Archives at the Library of Congress
The Comintern operated from 1919-1943 to foment world revolution. This guide describes a project to make metadata and materials from the Russian State Archives for Social and Political History (RGASPI) in Moscow available at the Library of Congress.
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Michael Neubert, Head, European Reading Room
Note: Substantial portions of this LibGuide are taken from descriptive information about the archival database project that was prepared in 2004-2005 by former Library of Congress staff member Ronald Bachman.
Created: May 11, 2020
Last Updated: December 30, 2021
The archives of the Communist International (Comintern) are held by the Russian State Archives for Social and Political History (RGASPI - in Russian, Российский государственный архив социально-политической истории, РГАСПИ) in Moscow. As part of an international effort to preserve the archives and make them accessible to researchers, RGASPI digitized some one million pages of documents from 59 sub-series.
In selecting materials for digitization, the International Committee for the Computerization of the Comintern (INCOMKA), of which the Library of Congress was a participating institution, drew upon the expertise of Comintern historians from around the world. INCOMKA focused on the commissions, secretariats, and departments under the Executive Committee of the Comintern.
The digitized materials may be viewed at a dedicated standalone workstation in the European Reading Room of the Library of Congress or using the Russian Federal Archives web site (in Russian), at http://sovdoc.rusarchives.ru/ External. The most significant difference between the online access provided by the Russian web site and the dedicated workstation in the European Reading Room is availability of searchable indexes for personal names and subject descriptors on the dedicated workstation. As of May 2023, the Comintern Archives dedicated workstation in the European Reading Room is not working. Please use Ask a Librarian (link at left) to contact us with any questions. We are able to provide advice for navigating the Russian Federal Archives web site (link above) that provides access to the same digitized files.
The role of the Library of Congress in the Comintern Archives Project was to convert personal names from Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet and to translate "descriptors" (keywords/subject headings) from Russian to English. The descriptors link to records that in turn link to the digital images that are available, which are displayed in the Archidoc system used on the standalone workstation provided at the Library of Congress. (Archidoc is a product of the Spanish software company Informatica El Corte Ingles.)