A rare complete series of the historic dissident journal "Problems of Eastern Europe" achieved its first-ever online publication today as part of the new Russian-language Web pages of the National Security Archive, also featuring hundreds of digitized facsimiles of declassified Soviet-era documents on topics such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet war in Afghanistan, Mikhail Gorbachev and the end of the Cold War, and dissident movements in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
Introduced on the Archive site by long-time editors Larisa and Frantisek Silnicky, "Problems of Eastern Europe" published throughout the 1980s a wide range of Soviet, Eastern European, and ultimately even Western reformist thinking, in order to make connections between those various publics and overcome the information barriers that especially hindered the development of dissident and oppositionist ideas.
The new Russian-language Web pages, compiled and edited by the Archive's director of Russia Programs, Svetlana Savranskaya, together with technical editor Rinat Bikineyev, also include the most sought-after primary sources in Russian from the Archive's extensive collections, ranging from the diary of top Gorbachev aide and long-time Central Committee official Anatoly Chernyaev, to the scholarly collection compiled by the late Sergo Mikoyan based on his father Anastas Mikoyan's experience as a leading Soviet Politburo member, to the specialized collections developed by Archive staff on such topics as the Soviet side of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet invasion and occupation and withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the surveillance and repression of dissidents such as the Moscow Helsinki Group.
The site also features a new "document of the month," the original "sovershenno sekretno" (top secret) transcript of the Soviet Politburo discussion 30 years ago of the Afghanistan war, which reads in parts as if lifted from current international debates over progress or the lack thereof in the current U.S. and NATO intervention in Afghanistan.
Today's publication of primary sources in their original Russian fulfills one of the major goals of the Archive's Russia and Eurasia Programs, which is to increase public and scholarly access to original sources especially to younger scholars throughout the former Soviet space. In recent weeks, the Russian government has posted online the declassified archive of Soviet documents related to the Katyn massacre of Polish officers by Stalin's NKVD, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has endorsed the opening of archives from the Soviet period, and noted Russian expert Dmitri Trenin has called for archival openings as part of a new Russian foreign policy emphasis on cooperative security.
English-language publications of the Archive's Russia and Eurasia Programs include more than two dozen Electronic Briefing Books of key U.S. and Soviet documents (in translation) covering major Cold war topics and events such as the series of superpower summits featuring Presidents Reagan and Bush with Soviet general secretary Gorbachev, as well as the new book from Central European University Press, "Masterpieces of History: The Peaceful End of the Cold War in Europe, 1989," edited by Svetlana Savranskaya, Thomas Blanton and Vladislav Zubok.
English introduction - http://www.nsarchive.org/rus
New Russian-language Web page - http://www.nsarchive.org/rus/Index.html