Parliament opens access to archives of communist regime

May 19, 2015

On 9 April 2015, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted Law of Ukraine “On access to archives of repressive authorities of communist totalitarian regime in 1917-1991) (Draft №2540, Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine), that aims at providing openness of archive information as “integral and indispensable element of the historical heritage of Ukrainian people”.

The Law guarantees the right of everyone to free access to archive information of repressive authorities, the list of which is prescribed by the Law and includes the Chief Intelligence Directorate, the Committee for State Security, People’s Commissariat of Internal Affaires, People’s Commissariat for State Security and others.

For direct providing of access to such archives, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine should create Sectorial State Archive of the Ukrainian institute of national memory, which among other should systematically restore and digitize medium of archive information.

According to the Law, archival institutions have an obligation to provide and publish archive information of repressive authorities through providing mediums of such information and its copies for examination, publishing of digital copies on official web-site, preparing archive enquiries, extracts from documents as well as publications, exhibitions and other forms of popularization of archive information of repressive authorities.

Access to mediums of archive information on archival institutions is provided on the ground of document that certifies the identity and filled application form.

According to the Law, the access to the information on staff and on temporary employees of repressive authorities cannot be restricted. However, a person who is victim of repressive authorities, has a right on restriction of access to archive information about himself / herself, specifying a type of information, pages and term of such restriction, which cannot exceed 25 years. Members of family and relatives of a victim of repressive authorities have similar right, but the restriction may deal with data concerning their racial (ethnical) origin, political views, ideology, religion and data concerning health and sex life of a person.

At the moment, the Law is in preparation for signature of the Chief of Verkhovna Rada, it will enter into force after official publishing.

The card of the Draft: