Archival sphere and its regression

The State Archival Service of Ukraine submitted to the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine Order on making amendments to the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine of November 19, 2013 No. 2438/5, which violates the mass of Ukrainian laws and international treaties. Everything seemed to be good, or rather tolerated, but now there are a lot of obstacles for researchers not only Ukrainian, but also those who come to the country to search for information. Let’s get acquainted.

Here is a brief summary of the main restrictions imposed by the new law

  • The right to receive archival certificates has disappeared.
  • Unreasonable restriction on receiving 20 cases in electronic form.
  • Restriction of originals 3 months after returning to the archive.
  • The provision on the principle of openness of previously published documents has been removed.
  • The right to brief review of documents in poor physical condition was withdrawn.
  • Consultations of archive workers on the content and location of documents only on the research topic.
  • A ban is placed on making copies of archival documents (electronic copies are also copies).
  • Restrictions on copying in a designated place (without specifying the requirements for such a place).
  • Restrictions on copying with SLR cameras and using tripods.
  • Restrictions on the use of archive scanners.
  • Restrictions on copying documents:
    more than A4 format,
    4+ cm thick
    Parchment documents
    old documents with fading or slightly contrasting text,
    documents executed in watercolor, gouache, pencil, charcoal, iron-gall ink,
    collections in full.
  • Prevents the copying of the help apparatus, including descriptions.

This actually imposed restrictions on the copying of all pre-revolutionary documents and in total up to 97% of all documents stored in the archives of Ukraine. The whole absurdity of the order also lies in the fact that if it is carried out literally, then even making an extract from the document is prohibited, since this is making a copy of the document (albeit with a pen or pencil).

All this, in general, drives Ukrainian researchers into working conditions somewhat worse than in the 19th century.

As it will be now: you need to come to the reading room, find the necessary fact and make an extract from it (although this is formally forbidden). We all know how limited time is in reading rooms. This at the same time increases the load on the reading rooms because now the researcher is forced to spend two to three times more time in it and increases the risk of making an error at discharge and does not immediately make a link to a photocopy of the fact.

Yes, a photocopy can be ordered in the archive, but for this you need to write the appropriate order – give it to the director for signature (do the directors have nothing else to do?) – pay for the order (usually on the run between the accounting department, the bank and the reading room up to 2 hours of working time) – and a month to wait for copies from the archive (most archives are not able to make high-quality copies due to lack of technology, curvature and basic misunderstanding of the importance of a high-quality copy). Further, if it was already at home that the statement was not complete, the case cannot be ordered again for 3 months. And if during the systematization you found the maiden name of the great-grandmother and want to see the document again?

Recommendation No. R (2000) 13 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to member states regarding the European policy on access to archives emphasizes that well-preserved and accessible archives are an important component of the democratic functioning of societies, and states that “access to public archives is a right. In a political system that respects democratic values, this right should be granted to all users, regardless of their nationality, status or function;


Good luck in finding.