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Hidden Historical Archive Now Accessible to Audiences

11. November 2010 by Michelle 0 Comments

Even the most knowledgeable historians have yet to discover all of the mysteries hiding in great mother Russia’s past. Only those who have experienced the events live, or learned about them on television or radio broadcasts, possess this valuable information. However, for the first time in history, the Russian State Television and Radio Archives will be unlocked and revealed to the world.


The state-owned Russian television and radio company was founded in 1990 to give President Boris Yeltsin his own voice, independent of Soviet channels. In addition to television and radio, the company also operates the Russian International News Agency (RIA Novosti).


Once programs were originally broadcasted to the Russian public, they were locked away in vaults for preservation. For the past decade, Englishman and Russian consultant Anthony Gould has been negotiating with various Russian Government officials to access the material and distribute it internationally, and finally, a ground-breaking deal has been agreed upon.


“I’m delighted to finally be able to unlock access to Russia’s amazing TV and film archive, detailing over 2 million pieces of footage,” Gould said. “Throughout this ten year project to get us to this stage, I have always found the Russian archives to be something very special. It is an exciting moment for me to be able to share this with millions of people around the world.”


The entire contents of the collection are still being identified as each individual reel is being carefully restored and digitized, guaranteeing the best quality for re-broadcast. So far, there are over 130,000 documentaries, 7,000 musical performances, 3,000 films, 2,500 cartoons, and 1,100 televised plays and radio programs. There is footage from the 1900s of Emperor Nicholas and the House of Romanovs, plus exclusive recordings from WWI. Many Russian leaders are cataloged in the broadcasts, from Stalin and Lenin, to Yeltsin and Gorbachev. There are also reels showing visits from various world leaders, including President John Kennedy meeting with Nikita Khrushchev.


One documentary details the construction of the Baikal Amur Highway from 1975-1985, which runs alongside the Trans-Siberian Railway. The Western media was never allowed to report on it and was not permitted to attend the grand opening. The footage reveals the secrets of how this massive project was accomplished in the permafrost of the Siberian region, as well as the harrowing tales from workers.


International investors, such as museums, universities, and media companies, are invited to take part in unleashing these treasures with the world. Discovery Communications has already signed on to acquire many of the documentaries.


Source: Twentieth Century Communism: a journal of international history