AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XXVIII, No. 1, Spring 1996


Russian Memory

Scholars are continuing to make great progress in recording the recollections and locating archives revealing the once-hidden history of physics in the Former Soviet Union (see also article p. 00). Problems of security restrictions and even corruption, reported in the press, relate more to top-level political and intelligence matters than to the history of science itself. The Economist reports:

"...access to the Russian archives has been miraculously transformed since 1988. They are not yet as open as the British Public Record Office, not to mention the American archives. But Russian archives are now more fully open than those of Turkey or the Vatican -- roughly comparable with those of France. "The biggest trouble is the acute lack of resources. Staff wages are minuscule; many have left. Almost no repairs have been carried out to the main state archives complex in Moscow.... There are no bulbs in most of the antiquated microfilm readers.... To save the archivists from poverty and protect tens of millions of files for the 21st centuiry requires a substantial injection of money from private charities or international agencies."

The Economist (March 2, 1996), pp. 78-79.

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