The First State Archive of Ukraine was established as the Library and Archives Division of the Department of Arts of the General Secretary for Educational Affairs (September 1917 - January 1918). For a hundred years, the name and structure of the archive has changed more than 10 times, the current name and form of government is the State Archival Service of Ukraine (since December 2010).
There are 9 central state archives in the country, 10 state branch archives, 27 regional state archives; excluding archival departments of state scientific institutions, museums and libraries.
Branch State Archive of the Security Service of Ukraine
(Галузевий державний архів Служби безпеки України)
The Archive stores the largest collection of documents of communist special services in Ukraine – about a million files. Only in Kyiv there are 224 thousand files, in the regions – 735 thousand. If we count in kilometers, then in Kyiv it is 7 kilometers, if we keep every files upright.
Since 2015, after the adoption of special legislation on access to the archives of the Soviet special services, the Archive has positioned itself as the most open institution with KGB documents in the post-Soviet space and among the countries of the former Eastern bloc. Copying documents here is free, there are no restrictions on access – both for Ukrainian and foreign citizens. To obtain access, no confirmation from the university or permission from relatives is required. Documents are not covered by the law on the protection of personal data. Access to the file can be limited only in one case: if the victim of political repression forbade providing access to the file about himself.
In addition, current archival management often initiates publishing and online projects that are aimed at publishing in the public access previously unknown or hardly accessible documents. Most publishing projects are freely available: for example, an edition on the deportation of Crimean Tatars or a documental book on the first Ukrainian government, all members of which were repressed is different ways. The Archive also collaborates with the Electronic Archive of the Ukrainian Liberation Movement project, which publishes thematic collections of documents (now the site has over 25,000 digitized documents in free access and in high quality). For example, here you can find such collections from the SBU Archive: documents about the Chornobyl disaster, photos from camera rolls of foreign tourists, which were detained by the Soviet special services, etc.
Now the Archive cannot simultaneously host a large number of visitors: the reason lays in size and limited places in the reading room – there are only 9 places. However, statistics show that the number of requests and requests that the Archive processes annually is constantly growing. For comparison: 2014 – 1329 calls, 2015 – 2160, 2016 – 3161, 2017 – 3530, 2018 – 3147, 2019 – 3347.
Documents of the SBU Branch Archive in the future will be transferred to the profile Archive of documents of the Soviet special services – the institution is now being created at the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance. The new institution will solve the problem of limited space in the reading room, as well as speed up the process of digitizing documents.
Now in the SBU Branch Archive the following types of documents are stored:
On the Archive’s webpage on the website of the Security Service of Ukraine, you can find application templates, fonds guides and other useful contacts and links.
Central State Archive of the Supreme Authorities and Administration of Ukraine
(Центральний державний архів вищих органів влади та управління України)
The Сentral State Archive of Supreme Authorities contains more than two million items.
The Archive contains documents from the central authorities from 1917 till the present time. In particular, the Archive’s fonds include documents of the Central Rada of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UNR) (1917–1918), the Ukrainian State of Hetman Pavel Skoropadsky (1918), the UNR Directory (1918–1920), documents of Soviet authorities (1917–1991). In addition, there are documents of the government of the UNR in exile, the Carpathian Ukraine, the Western Ukrainian People’s Republic, universals of the Central Rada, draft of constitutions – both Soviet and the period of Independence.
Documents of the period of the Second World War will also will be interesting for researchers – in particular, documentation of the occupation administration. The Archive has a large collection of documents on the Ukrainian liberation movement, OUN and UPA – the resistance movement against Nazi and Soviet occupation.
The Archive also accepts for storage the personal fonds of prominent political figures or representatives of the Ukrainian intelligentsia of the twentieth century. After 1991, documents from the Presidential Administration, Parliament, Government, the Constitutional and Supreme Courts and other central departments are annually transferred to the Archive.
Moreover, the Archive website has published a list of fonds that contain documents of Soviet repressive bodies – access to these documents in Ukraine is regulated by special legislation that guarantees the full availability and openness of these documents to anyone who wants to familiarize themselves with such documents or copy them.
The Archive periodically publishes online various thematic collections of documents. Digitized documents can be downloaded on the website or researcher can get digitized copies in the Archive itself. For example, since 2017, the project “Ukrainian Revolution: Archive Chronicles”, dedicated to the events of 1917–1921, has been implemented on the CDAVO website. Every month the Archive publishes a selection of documents reflecting the events which happened a hundred years ago.
In addition, the Archive prepares online documentary exhibitions, dedicated to events or topics, as well as to prominent personalities. For example, there are documents that relate to the Chornobyl disaster, World War II, many collections of documents about the symbol of Ukrainian national literature – Taras Shevchenko, and others.
Storage statistics indicated on the Archive's official website: 3338 fonds, 2083049 storage units (31396 linear meters of shelves) for 1917–2009, 19368 storage units of scientific and technical documentation.