Trials until 30 November 2019: World War I and Revolution in Russia, 1914-1918: Records of the British Foreign Office / Alexander III and the Policy of “Russification,” 1883-1886

Our colleague Angelina Gibson, Slavonic and Eurasian Subject Consultant, has arranged trials to two Russian history resources which are now accessible via SOLO and Databases A-Z.

World War I and Revolution in Russia, 1914-1918: Records of the British Foreign Office

This resource provides access to a collection of documents from the British Foreign Office reporting on Russia’s entry into the First World War and the Russian Revolution events in 1917-1918. The documents consist primarily of correspondence between the British Foreign Office, various British missions and consulates in the Russian Empire and the Tsarist government and later the Provisional Government.

Alexander III and the Policy of “Russification,” 1883-1886

This collection, as seen through the eyes of the British diplomatic corps in Russia, provides a unique analysis of this “retro-reform” policy, including the increase of revolutionary agitation, deepening of conservatism and changes from agrarian to industrial society, and spread of pan-Slavism, both in the Russian Empire and Eastern Europe. The British Foreign Office Records of General Correspondence for Russia, in record class F.O. 65, is the basic collection of documents for studying Anglo-Russian relations during this period of fundamental change.

The trials end on 30 November. Please send comments to angelina.gibson@bodleian.ox.ac.uk and alexander.morrison@new.ox.ac.uk.

Trial until 23 May: Vestnik Evropy – a Russian literary and political journal

Nick Hearn, French and Slavonic Subject Specialist in the Taylor Institution Library, is running a trial of the online Vestnik Evropy. The journal is not just a literary one but contains much of interest about Russian politics and foreign relations. This might therefore be of interest to historians. The trial is now available via OxLIP+.

Vestnik Evropy (DA-VE) (trial until 23 May 2018)

This electronic resource, covering the years 1802-1830, complements our printed set of Vestnik Evropy (Viestnik Evropy) held at the Taylorian which starts in 1866 and continues up to the Revolution. The journal Vestnik Evropy is among the earliest and most influential literary and political journals of Russia. The founder of the journal was the writer and historian Nikolai Karamzin.

Please send feedback to nick.hearn@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Trial until 30 March: Cold War Eastern Europe, Module 1: 1953-1960

Colleagues in the Social Science Library have arranged trial access to Cold War Eastern Europe, Module 1: 1953-1960. The trial ends 30 March 2018. It can be accessed via SOLO or OxLIP+. Please note that documents cannot be downloaded during the trial. Documents from other modules are not accessible either.

This resource provides access to over 6,800 primary source files sourced entirely from the political departments of the U.K. Foreign Office responsible for dealing with and reporting on the Soviet Union and the socialist states of Eastern Europe during the Cold War. The files provide a uniquely comprehensive, English-language history of post-Stalinist Eastern Europe.

The sources are all in English.

Module I covers the years 1953 to 1960, and consists of files selected from The National Archives series FO 371 (Foreign Office: Political Departments: General Correspondence from 1906-1966) which contains the files of the Foreign Office’s Northern, Southern, Central, and Western Departments pertaining to each of the socialist states of Eastern Europe. Every file relevant to the region from 1953 to 1960 – a total of nearly 7,000 files – is included in this resource, with the exception of any files retained by the government.

In addition, the full run of FO 371 Russia Committee files dating back to 1946 – totalling 41 files –  have been included. These complete the set of FO 371 Russia Committee meeting minutes and reports dating up to 1957, and provide context to Britain’s Soviet policy in the early Cold War.

Key events featured in the files of Module I include:

  • The East German Uprising of 1953
  • Founding of the Warsaw Pact
  • The Poznań Uprising in Poland
  • The Hungarian Revolution
  • Khrushchev’s “Secret Speech”
  • The onset of the Sino-Soviet Split
  • The U2 spy-plane incident

The Foreign Office, along with their embassies and consulates throughout the region, were interested in every aspect of the political, economic, cultural, social, and dissident life behind the Iron Curtain. They consequently reported on a hugely diverse range of issues, from state leadership to protest movements; agricultural output to international trade agreements; scientific progress to minority populations; religion to sporting events; and state-run media to popular culture. They also provided reports, and in some cases eye-witness accounts, on key milestones of the Cold War, such as the Hungarian Revolution and Khrushchev’s ‘Secret Speech’.

With coverage of every country in Eastern Europe, the resource enables comparative study of trends across the region, or in-depth analysis of individual countries. The countries featured in this resource are:

  • Albania
  • Bulgaria
  • Czechoslovakia
  • East Germany and Berlin
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Soviet Union
  • Yugoslavia

‘Northern (N): Soviet Union (Ns). Reviews of Developments in the Soviet Union since Stalin’s Death: Elections to Supreme Soviet; Comments on Election Speeches; Reports on Political Events and Meetings of the Supreme Soviet; Quarterly Reports on Soviet Policy’, in FO371: Foreign Office: Political Departments: General Correspondence from 1906-1966 (Foreign Office). [Cold War Eastern Europe, accessed 15 Feb 2018.]

The files also bear annotations relating to the administration and registry of the files which, in themselves, are hugely interesting.

You can search and browse the collections, which use tagging by country, theme, document type, language, etc. If you have a FO reference you can use it to locate specific known documents.

Please send any feedback to angelina.gibson@bodleian.ox.ac.uk by 30 March 2018.

Trial until 28 June: Imperial Russia’s Illustrated Press

Oxford users are invited to trial Imperial Russia’s Illustrated Press.

This collection from Brill contains online versions of five rare weekly magazines: Iskry (1901-1917), Sinii zhurnal (1910-1918), Zhivopisnaia Rossiia (1901-1905), Russkaia illustratsiia (1915) and Vseobshchii zhurnal (1910-1912).

None of these weeklies are possessed by any of the Bodleian Libraries. They open a wide window on Russian cultural, social and political life of Russia just before the Russian Revolution.

The trial ends 28th June. Please send feedback to Nick Hearn at nick.hearn@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Trial until 7 April: Stalin Digital Archive

Posted on behalf of Angelina Gibson, Slavonic, East European and Eurasian Subject Consultant (History, Social Sciences and Geography), Bodleian Libraries,

“Users on Oxford University PCs have trial access to Stalin Digital Archive.

Stalin Digital ArchiveIn cooperation with the Russian State Archive of Social and Political History, Yale University Press is digitizing 28,000 recently declassified documents in Fond 558 – including correspondence, memoranda, maps, Stalin’s personal books annotated in his own hand, and other rare materials from 1889 to 1952 – that comprise Stalin’s personal archive, bringing to the Web over 380,000 pages of primary source documents previously available only by special permission at the State Archive in Moscow.

Users can search and browse the resources and ‘About SDA’ sections without logging in, but to access the Document Viewer and ‘My SDA’ areas, individual users first need to create a personal ‘MySDA’ account on the site. You will automatically receive confirmation email with a password and a link for a one-time log-in to change the assigned password to your own via the ‘Manage Profile’ page. The username is the same as the email address entered at ‘My SDA.’

The Stalin Digital Archive (SDA), the result of a partnership between the Russian State Archive of Social and Political History (RGASPI) and Yale University Press (YUP), provides web-based access to rare primary and secondary research, previously only available in hard copy in the RGASPI archive:

  • Opis 1: Documents written by Stalin from 1889-1952
  • Opis 2: Documents written by Stalin from 1911-1944
  • Opis 3: Over 300 books from Stalin’s personal library with his marginal notes
  • Opis 4: Stalin’s biographical materials
  • Opis 11: Stalin’s correspondence on 188 maps from 1917-1952 with his hand-written markings

The complete wartime correspondence between Stalin and President Franklin Roosevelt is included this archive, as are Stalin’s letters to and from intellectuals in America, England, France, Germany and Italy. The digital versions of Yale’s acclaimed Annals of Communism series are also included in the collection.

The SDA has a unique interface with intuitive tools for researchers to create their own accounts — to save documents, refer, and collaborate with others. “

The trial ends 7 April. Please send feedback to angelina.gibson@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

New: Izvestiia Digital Archive

We are pleased to report that the trial for Izvestiia Digital Archive 1917- went well and that the Slavonic and Russian Subject Consultant has now secured access to it.

Among the longest-running Russian newspapers, Izvestiia was founded in March 1917 and during the Soviet period was the official organ of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Remarkable for its serious and balanced treatment of subject matter, Izvestiia has traditionally been a popular news source within intellectual and academic circles.

Access is via SOLO or OxLIP+. Use SSO for remote access.

Trials: Russian-Ottoman Relations & Izvestiia Digital Archive

Trials of the following electronic resources will be of interest to those researching Slavonic, Central European, East European and Turkish history:

Russian-Ottoman Relations

During the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, the balance of power between Russia and the Ottoman Empire was constantly monitored in Western Europe, where several powers had designs of their own on some of the Ottoman territories. This 4-part archive includes publications of relevant government documents, diplomatic reports, travel accounts, and fiercely political (and polemical) tracts and pamphlets designed to rally public support. The sources are largely Western documents.

Part 1: The Origins, 1600-1800
Part 2: Shifts in the Balance of Power, 1800-1853
Part 3: The Crimean War 1854-1856
Part 4: The End of the Empires, 1857-1914

Izvestiia Digital Archive

Among the longest-running Russian newspapers, Izvestiia was founded in March 1917 and during the Soviet period was the official organ of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Remarkable for its serious and balanced treatment of subject matter, Izvestiia has traditionally been a popular news source within intellectual and academic circles.

Access is via OxLIP+. The trials run until the end of June. Please send feedback to Angelina Gibson.