Skip to Main Content

Russian Telephone and City Directories

Address and telephone directories are used by genealogists and historians to identify people and businesses from a particular place and era. This guide lists the directories from Russia and the Russian Empire in the Library of Congress collections.


Tail of telephone directory from 1899
Advertisement for an electric company on the tail of Adresnai︠a︡ kniga goroda S.-Peterburga, 1899. Library of Congress General Collections.

The Library of Congress began systematically collecting residential and organizational telephone directories from many countries in 1937, but as a rule current telephone directories (both residential and "yellow pages") are not cataloged or included in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. To fill that gap the European Reading Room compiled this guide to provide a list of the Library's holdings of telephone directories from the Russian Federation and the Russian parts of the former Soviet Union, as well as a few titles from the Russian diaspora. There are over 1,300 entries in the guide representing the Library's holdings as of July 2022.

Most pre-1937 address (non-telephone) directories and business directories may be found in the online catalog, but a selection of them also are included in the indexes below. The older directories are of great value to historians, biographers and genealogists, for they indicate where an individual lived and what years he or she resided there. Some directories provide additional biographical information, such as profession or trade. Many directories also contain listings for businesses and institutions either organized alphabetically or arranged by subject like "yellow pages." The directories in this guide are primarily in the general collections, with a few historical directories available in the European Reading Room. Cataloged directories may be requested using the online catalog, but uncataloged directories should be requested in the Main Reading Room, or by asking a librarian in the European Reading Room for help. For older directories available only on microform, it is necessary to consult with the staff of the Microform and Electronic Resources Center. The location of the directories listed in this guide is the International Telephone Directory collection in the Adams Building stacks unless stated otherwise.

Russian telephone directory collage
Russian telephone directories on the shelf. Library of Congress General Collections.

To locate older directories which have been cataloged (some published during the Soviet era and some before 1917), search for the name of the city and use the subject term "directories." Many of these directories were published during the Soviet era, although the Library of Congress continues to acquire selected historical directories when they become available to expand the collection. For the most part in recent years print directories have ceased to be published or it has been difficult to acquire them, thus the most recent directory from Russia in the collection is from 2014.

Note that a fair number of residential directories are available even at the "raion" (district) level, although coverage is not uniform. (That is, for some parts of Russia the Library may have a number of raion-level directories for a particular oblast', krai, or republic, while for another it may have none). Also, perhaps contrary to what might be expected, residential telephone directories are frequently less available for large cities than for small cities and towns. Apparently the cost of publishing such directories profitably is difficult in cities such as Tver' and Samara (to take two examples). No Moscow residential directory has been published for many years and neither has one been published for post-Soviet St. Petersburg.

The records in this finding aid are arranged by city and then sub-arranged under each city by year, with the most recent appearing last. Where two directories were published in the same year for the same city, they are sub-arranged alphabetically. The Cyrillic text was transliterated using the standard LC transliteration scheme. The fields contained in the records are as follows:

Russian telephone directory collage
Russian telephone directories on the shelf. Library of Congress General Collections.
  • City (or region): All records contain an entry for this field. Most of the records have city names in this field, but some directories are for a particular region (generally an oblast' or raion, in Russian), and such information will appear in this field. The city names are in Russian except for Moscow (for "Moskva"). City name entries correspond to the name of the city at the time of publication. In a very few cases, the city name in the title may not correspond with the city field entry - where an earlier name has been used in some directories even though it is not the official city name (for example, Viatka for Kirov).
  • Year(s): This will be the year most prominently visible on the individual item. This may or may not be the year 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).
  • Title: This entry is generally taken from the title page of the directory. Some directories do not have title pages as such, if this is so then the "title" entry is taken from the cover. Some of the older directories were transferred to the Library of Congress from other government agencies and are missing both cover and title page, thus they lack an entry for this field. Some of the entries in this field include the name of the issuing body (following a forward slash), where this would substantially assist the user in determining the coverage of the directory or otherwise provide clarity.
  • Type: Directories can be one of three types. "Organizational" and "residential" are self- explanatory, while "both" indicates a directory that contains both kinds of information. These are indicated with abbreviations: Res., Org. or Both.
  • Notes: In the notes field each directory has the name of the oblast', okrugkrai, or republic to assist in identification of directories from regions. Additionally, this field can contain various other information about the particular item. Information in quotations marks is taken from the directory cover or title page. If the library location of the item is anywhere other than the uncataloged international telephone directory collection in the Adams Building, it will be indicated in the notes field.

Besides using printed telephone directories, a researcher may find it helpful to use online directories available for free on the Internet, some of which are described below.

Library of Congress Guides to Russian Resources

Russian Newspapers in the Library of Congress

Newspapers are essential primary sources for both current and historical study. This guide lists newspapers published in Russia or the diaspora held by the Library along with links to external databases and websites for expanded research.

Peter the Great: Primary and Secondary Resources at the Library of Congress

A towering historical figure, Petr Alekseevich Romanov (1672-1725) profoundly influenced Russian politics, culture and society. This guide highlights primary and secondary sources available at the Library of Congress related to the leader.

Igor Stravinsky: A Guide to Primary and Secondary Resources at the Library of Congress

One of the most influential composers of the 20th century, Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) is well represented in the print, manuscript, and digital collections of the Library’s Music Division.

Russian 2008 Presidential Election Ephemera Guide

Election ephemera such as party platforms, posters, and flyers are primary sources for the study of politics, history and elections. This guide describes the collection for the March 2008 Russian Presidential election in the European Reading Room.

American Folklife Center Collections: Russia

This guide provides access to ethnographic resources documenting Russian expressive culture in Russia and the United States in the collections of the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Russian Newspapers Published in the United States

Newspapers are essential primary sources for current and historical study. This guide lists newspapers published in the Russian language in the United States held by the Library along with links to external databases and websites for expanded research.

Rubinov Papers: A Topical Guide to Articles Referenced in the Collection

Anatoliĭ Zakharovich Rubinov (1924-2009) served as an editor for the Russian newspaper Literaturnaia gazeta. Providing a view into the social attitudes of the late Soviet period, this guide indexes articles referenced in the many letters to the editor.

Yudin Collection at the Library of Congress: A Resource Guide

Gennadii Yudin's private library is the foundation of the Slavic collection at the Library of Congress. This guide provides an overview of the Yudin collection and includes tips on how to find Yudin items at the Library of Congress.

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.