30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

History of the Cold War

Studying the history of the Cold War and collecting documents from the archives from both sides of the “iron curtain” was the original focus of the Archive’s Russia programs.  We leaped at the golden opportunity of opening archives in Russia and Eastern Europe and started building our own collection.  Now the Russian and East European Documents Database (RADD) includes 18,000 individual documents from all major Russian, Georgian and East European archives. [photo].  We worked with the Presidential and Security Archives of the Republic of Georgia to obtain their Cold War period documents. [photo]

In addition to collecting documents in the post-Soviet archives, project staff actively file declassification requests in the United States and works in all major U.S. Presidential libraries to open and gather most interesting documents on key developments in the Cold War, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, “flashpoints” in Eastern Europe (Germany 1953, Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968, Poland 1980-81), détente of the 1970s, War Scare 1983 and the End of the Cold War.

In active collaboration with James Blight and janet Lang of Harvard and Brown University, the archive organized a series of highly successful critical oral history conferences in the framework of the Cuban Missile Crisis and Carter-Brezhnev projects.

Studying the role of dissent in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe is another major interest of the Russia project.  We partnered with the International Memorial Society in Moscow to produce a joint web-portal “Carter and Soviet dissidents” and worked with leading dissidents, founder of the Moscow Helsinki Group Yuri Orlov and current chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group to document their life and work.