Open access electronic repository of WWII documents
The Russian Defense Ministry has started posting wartime documents on its official web site. The files can be found in the electronic archive "The Achievements of the People in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945".
Documents dating back to the first days and months of the war are expected to appear in this section of the site by the 65th anniversary of victory, celebrated on May 9th. A total of 204 thousand documents, including those concerning military operations, will become available. The electronic repository is planned to be updated with historical facts of WWII until 2012. Dometiy Zavolsky, an employee of the Russian State Archive of Social and Political History, is hopeful that all documents at the disposal of the Russian Defense Ministry will be included in the electronic archive:
"It is quite natural that the Ministry first started digitizing orders of the High Command. But it is necessary to create a full database on all soldiers of the Red Army, Navy, and Border Troops during the Second World War. Such databases have been established in all countries concerned about preserving their historical memory. And in Russia, which went through the terrible war, a similar base will be of paramount importance".
Creators of the archive pledge to eternize the memory of all heroes of the war, regardless their ranks and awards. Visitors of the web site will be able to get acquainted with descriptions of 30 million heroic deeds of Soviet soldiers and officers. Descendants of soldiers killed in the WWII will gain direct access to copies of wartime documents. The overall weight of archive material involved will account for nearly 400 tons in paper equivalent.
Setting up an electronic repository of documents on a key period in modern history ranks second to none in size, historical and social significance. It is therefore expected to become a monument to the people's achievements, project organizers say.