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Soviet History: a Bibliographic Guide to Published Sources


Search in digital catalogs of major libraries in Russia and the CIS region, such as:

  1. Russian State Library 

Keyword suggestions: “сборник законов”, “собрание законов”, “свод законов”, “сборник указов”, “сборник/собрание постановлений”  + other keywords of your choice (e.g. “Сборник законов Казахской ССР”)

Theme search (in professional search) suggestions: “Государство и право социалистических и бывших социалистических стран”, “Сборник нормативных актов”, “Государство и право”, “Трудовое право”, “Законодательство”, “Законы и постановления” 

  1. Library and Archival Resources of the State Duma of Russia (Parliamentary Library of Russia)

The Parliamentary Library of Russia contains documents and publications of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, including official laws, records of meetings, published law collections, and works of legal studies. 


  • Use the library’s search function to find materials produced during 1917-1991 (more than 20,000 records).

  • Use Advanced Search (rasshirennyi poisk) mode to set the date range and add other search parameters

  • Online available materials are shown under the “Electronic versions (elektronnye versii)” tab, and all materials under the “Catalog of the Library (Katalog biblioteki)” tab organized by material type. 

  1. Russian State Public Historical Library

Keyword search: search “сборник законов”, “собрание законов”, “свод законов”, “сборник указов” + other keywords of your choice, and then use the dropdown menu in the search box to filter the results.

E.g. All results for searching “сборник законов” published during 1917-1991

Search by rubrics - systematic catalog: find law-related rubrics from the “Корневая рубрика” dropdown menu, such as “Государство и право СССР, 1917-1991 гг.”,  “Гражданское право СССР, 1917-1991 гг.”, or “Гражданское-процессуальное право СССР, 1917-1991 гг.”. You could search “право” to see all law-related rubrics and choose those related to the USSR. 

Within these rubrics, you can find not only bibliographic information about published laws, but also Soviet legal studies, Soviet law textbooks, and bibliographic resources. 

  1. Digital Library “Nauka prava”

The digital library “Nauka prava” is an online library of laws and legal studies. It provides access to Soviet and Russian legal sources and legal literature. In the “Catalog” of the website, you can find different ways to navigate the library’s collections. One way is to browse by rubrics. For example, under the “Official publications of the RSFSR and USSR, and RF (from 1917)” rubric, you can find information about official legal journals, bulletins of Soviet legislative bodies, and other law-related publications. The digital library provides only paid access to most Soviet legal publications.

Note: You need to register and, in most cases, pay to access the materials on the website

Official Texts of Legislation


Sobranie zakonov i razsporiazhenii raboche-krest’ianskogo pravitel’stva SSSR (1924-1938). Leiden, the Netherlands: IDC, 2008. Microforms, Harvard University Lamont Library, Microfiche SC 723. 

Note that on HOLLIS, one will see two separate versions of this work, including one in the Law Library and the one listed above on microfiche. The microfiche collection is far more complete. 

Sobranie postanovlenii i rasporiazhenii pravitel’stva SSSR (1938-1946). Leiden, the Netherlands: IDC, 2008. Microforms, Harvard University Lamont Library, Microfiche SC 723] 

Sobranie postanovlenii i rasporiazhenii Soveta ministrov Soiuza Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik: 1938-1949. 6 vols. Montabaur, Germany: Auxilibris, 1960-1962. 

Sobranie postanovleniĭ pravitelʹstva Soi︠u︡za Sovetskikh Sot︠s︡ialisticheskikh Respublik. Moscow: Iuridicheskaia literatura, 1957-1991.

Sobranie postanovleniĭ pravitelʹstva Soi︠u︡za Sovetskikh Sot︠s︡ialisticheskikh Respublik. Otdel pervyi. Moscow: Iuridicheskaia literatura, 1981-1999. (Legislation)

Sobranie postanovleniĭ pravitelʹstva Soi︠u︡za Sovetskikh Sot︠s︡ialisticheskikh Respublik. Otdel vtoroi. Moscow: Iuridicheskaia literatura, 1981-1990. (Treaties)

Dekrety Sovetskoi vlasti. 18 vols. Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo politicheskoi literatury, 1957-1989. 

Sbornik zakonov SSSR i ukazov Prezidiuma Verkhovnovo Soveta SSSR, 1938-1975. 4 vols. Eds. M.I. Iumashev, A.V. Kaliteevskaiai, and R.N. Vladimirtsev. Moscow: Izvestiia Sovetov deputatov trudiashchikhsia SSSR, 1975-1976.

Note the existence of versions of this particular volume for the various socialist republics (RSFSR, Ukraine, etc.) 

Svod zakonov SSSR. Moscow: Izvestia, 1980-1991. 

Izvestiia sovetov deputatov trudiashchikhsia SSSR. Moscow: Prezidium Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR, 1938-1977. Microfilm, Harvard Newspaper Microfilm Reading Room, Film NC 34.  Full run from 1917- available online via UDB East View.

Antonov, Vladimir Vasil’evich. Sovetskoe zakonodatel’stvo: spravochnik-putevoditel’ po osnovnym izdaniiam. Moscow: Kniga, 1981.

Сборник законов СССР и указов Президиума Верховного совета СССР. 1938-1944 г.г. — М.: Ведомости Верховного совета СССР, 1945. — 362 с. (Digital copy)


Khronologicheskoe sobranie zakonov, ukazov Prezidiuma Verkhovnogo Soveta i postanovlenii Pravitelʹstva RSFSR. Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo iuridicheskoi literatury, 1919-1957.

Sobranie postanovlenii pravitel’stva Rossiiskoi Sovetskoi Federativnoi Sotsialisticheskoi Respubliki. Moscow: Gosizdat, 1957-1991.

Sobranie uzakonenii i rasporiazhenii rabochego i krestʹianskogo pravitelʹstva. Sbornik dekretov...: 1917/18. Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatelʹstvo, 1918.

Sistematicheskiĭ sbornik vazhneĭshikh dekretov, 1917-1920. Moscow: s.n., 1921. 

Decrees of the Communist Party

Izvestiia Digital Archive.This online database includes a complete run of the Soviet government’s newspaper of record. All historic versions of Izvestiia are also available on microfilm:

Izvi͡estīi͡a T͡Sentralʹnago ispolnitelʹnago komiteta sovi͡etov krestʹi͡anskikh, rabochikh i soldatskikh deputatov i Petrogradskago Sovi͡eta rabochikh i soldatskikh deputatov. Petrograd : Komitet [and] Sovet, -1918.

Izvestii︠a︡ vserossiĭskago t︠s︡entral'nago ispolnitel'nago komiteta sovetov krest'i︠a︡nskikh, rabochikh, soldatskikh, kazach'ikh i Petrogradskago soveta rabochikh i soldatskikh deputatov. Petrograd : [s.n.], 1918.

Izvestii︠a︡ T︠S︡entralʹnogo ispolnitelʹnogo komiteta Soi︠u︡za Sovetskikh Sot︠s︡ialisticheskikh Respublik i Vserossiĭskogo t︠s︡entralʹnogo ispolnitelʹnogo komiteta sovetov rabochikh, krestʹi︠a︡nskikh i krasnoarmeĭskikh deputatov. [Moskva] : Komitety, 1923-1938.

Izvestiia sovetov deputatov trudiashchikhsia SSSR. Moscow: Prezidium Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR, 1938-1977. 

Izvestii︠a︡ sovetov narodnykh deputatov SSSR. Moskva : Prezidium Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR, 1977-1991.

Partiinoe Stroitel’stvo. Moscow: s.n., 1929-1946. 

Spravochnik partiinovo rabotnika. Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo politicheskoi literatury, 1957 [i. e. 1930]-1990. [Link]

Kommunisticheskaia partiia Sovetskogo Soiuza v rezoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s”ezdov, konferentsii i plenumov TSK. 15 vols. Moscow: Gosudarstvennoie izdatel’stvo politicheskoi literatury, 1983-1988. [Link] (Online access via HathiTrust)

 Kommunisticheskai︠a︡ partii︠a︡ Sovetskogo Soi︠u︡za v rezoli︠u︡t︠s︡ii︠a︡kh i reshenii︠a︡kh sʺezdov, konferent︠s︡iĭ i plenumov T︠S︡K. Moskva : Izd-vo polit. lit-ry, 1983-  (Online access via HathiTrust)

Kommunisticheskai︠a︡ partii︠a︡ Sovetskogo Soi︠u︡za v rezoli︠u︡t︠s︡ii︠a︡kh i reshenii︠a︡kh sʺezdov, konferent︠s︡iĭ i plenumov T︠S︡K. Moskva : Izd-vo polit. lit-ry, 1970- (Online access via HathiTrust)

Rossiĭskai͡a kommunisticheskai͡a partii͡a (bolʹshevikov) v rezoli͡ut͡sii͡akh ee sʺezdov i konferent͡siĭ (1898-1921 g.g.) Russia (Federation): Gosudarstvennoe izdatelʹstvo, 1922. (Open access)

Note : there are similar editions for all the republics, 

Prezidium T͡SK KPSS 1954-1964 : chernovye protokolʹnye zapisi zasedaniĭ, stenogrammy, postanovlenii͡a : v 3 tomakh.
Moskva : ROSSPĖN, 2004-2008. (Presidium decrees in vols. 2-3)

Adibekov, Grant Mkrtychevich., et al. Politbiuro TSK RKP(b)-VKP(b) : Povestki dnia zasedaniĭ 1919-1952 : katalog v trekh tomakh. Moskva : ROSSPEN, 2000.

Bol’shevik. Moscow: Izdatel’stvo ‘Krasnaia novost’ and Izdatel’stvo ‘Pravda,’ 1924-1952.]

Kommunist. Moscow: Izdatel’stvo ‘Pravda,’ 1952-2015.

Pravda Digital Archive. This online database includes all versions of Pravda from 1912-2019, such as Listok pravdy, Petrogradskaia pravda, Pravda truda, Proletarii, Put' pravdy, etc. Also available on microfilm: Pravda. Petrograd : R.S.-D.R.P., 1917-

Law Books. Topical Collections of Laws/Decrees

A Note On Harvard Law School Library Collection

Note also that there are sborniki dokumentov that have been published since 1991 that have a variety of legislation. Note that not all of these (perhaps even not most for the pre-1941 period) are in Hollis. Some are just listed in a special USSR bibliography at the rare books division in the law library (and most of the books are in the rare books division). See: 

Law School Library Russian titles not recorded in union catalog. Catalog of the Harvard Law School Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Law School Library, 1986. 

Antonov, Vladimir Vasil’evich. Sovetskoe zakonodatel’stvo: spravochnik-putevoditel’ po osnovnym izdaniiam. Moscow: Kniga, 1981.

East European and Soviet Law: the systematic card catalogue of the Documentation Office for East European Law, University of Leiden. Zug, Switzerland: IDC, 1981. Microfiche, Harvard University Law School Library, K40 .R55x 1981.] 

Soviet legal bibliography: a classified and annotated listing of books and serials published in the Soviet Union since 1917 as represented in the collection of the Harvard Law School Library as of January 1, 1965. Eds. Vaclav Mostecky and William E. Butler. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Law School Library, 1965. 

Legal Works of the Russian S.F.S.R. in the Harvard Law School Library. (Harvard Early Soviet (R.S.F.S.R.) law preservation digitization project.)

Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta Soi︠u︡za Sovetskikh Sot︠s︡ialisticheskikh Respublik. Moskva : Izd. Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR, -1989.

Vedomosti Sʺezda Narodnykh Deputatov SSSR i Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR. Moskva : Izd. Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR, 1989-1991.

Bibliographic Resources

Dokumenty vneshnei politiki SSSR. 14 vols. Moscow: Izdatel’stvo politicheskoi literatury, 1957-1977. [Available online via HathiTrust, with some volumes in permanent open access, others in temporary emergency  access.]

Dekrety sovetskoi vlasti. Moskva, Gos. izd-vo polit. lit-ry, 1957-<1989 >

Kuznetsov, Igor Nikolaevich. Istorii︠a︡ gosudarstva i prava Rossii v dokumentakh i materialakh. 2 vols. Minsk: Amalfeia, 2000. 

Istoriia gosudarstva i prava Rossii: istochniki prava, iuridicheskie pamiatniki XI-XX vv. Ed. P. Iu. Savel’ev. Moscow: “Manuskript,” 1995.

Law-related Journals

State Agencies Publications

The edicts and directives of various commissariats are issued in the publications of these agencies. The search for “biulleten’ narodnogo komissariata” on Worldcat will reveal a large diversity of these publications.Note that these agencies further release sborniki of their administrative acts. They are highly irregular and specialized; guidance on where to search for these may be found in A Researcher’s guide to Soviet History (p. 148).  

Below are some agencies’ publications: 

Sovet Truda i Oborony:

Ekonomicheskaia gazeta: ezhednevnia gazeta Tsentralʹnogo Komiteta KPSS. Moscow: Komitet, -1989. 

Narkomtrud RSFSR:

Voprosy truda: ezhemesiachnyi organ Narodnogo komissariata truda SSSR. Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe sotsial'no-ekonomicheskoe izdatel’stvo, 1921-1933.


Voprosy zdravookhraneniia. Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Narkomzdrava R.S.F.S.R., n.d. 

Ofitsial’nyi sbornik Narkomzdrava RSFSR. Moscow: Biomedgiz, 1935-1937.] 


Ezhenedel’nik Narodnovo komissariata prosveshcheniia. Moscow; Komissariat, 1923-1929. 

Biulletenʹ Narodnogo komissariata po prosveshchenii︠u︡ RSFSR. Moscow: Komissariat, 1930-1935.


Vedomosti of Union and Republican Supreme Soviets

Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR, Moskva: Izd. Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR, -1989.

Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta RSFSR, Moskva: Izd. Verkhovnogo Soveta RSFSR, -1990.

Vidomosti Verkhovnoï Rady Ukraïnsʹkoï Radi͡ansʹkoï Sot͡sialistychnoï Respubliky, Kyïv : Verkhovna Rada Ukraïnsʹkoï RSR, 1941-1991

Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta Kazakhskoi SSR, Alma-Ata: Verkhovnyi Sovet Kazakhskoi SSR, 1939-1991

Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta Uzbekskoi SSR, Tashkent, Verkhovnyi Sovet Uzbekskoi SSR, 1938-1991

Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta Tadzhikskoi SSR, Stalinabad/Dushanbe, Prezidium Verkhovnogo Soveta Tadzhikskoi SSR, 1939-1991

Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta Kirgizskoi SSR, Frunze, Verkhovnyi Sovet Kirgizskoi SSR, 1938-1990

Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta Turkmenskoi SSR, Ashkhabad, Izdanie Verkhovnogo Soveta Turkmenskoi SSR, 1960-1991

Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta Armianskoi SSR, Yerevan: Verkhovnyi Sovet Armianskoi SSR, 1939-1991

Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta Gruzhinskoi SSR, Tbilisi: Verkhovnyi Sovet Gruzhinskoi SSR, 1938-1991

Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta Azerbaidzhanskoi SSR, Baku: Kommunist, 1938-1991

Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta i Pravitel’stva Moldavskoi Sovetskoi Sotsialisticheskoi Respubliki, Kishinev: Izd. TsK KP Moldavii, 1966-1990

Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta Litovskoi SSR (1940-1958), Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta i Pravitel’stva Litovskoi SSR (1958-1990), Vilnius: Izd. Prezidiuma Verkhovnogo Soveta Litovskoi SSR

Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta i Pravitel’stva Latviiskoi SSR,, Riga: Izdanie Prezidiuma Verkhovnogo Soveta Latviiskoi SSR, 1940-1991

Vedomosti Estonskoi SSR (1941-1959) , Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta i Pravitel’stva Estonskoi SSR (1959-1991), Talin: Upravlenie delami Soveta Ministrov ESSR

Sotsialisticheskaia zakonnost’, Moskva, 1934-1991


General'naia prokuratura SSSR / RF

Sledstvennaia praktika. M.: Iuridicheskaia literatura, 1950-1989 (Individual articles could be requested electronically via ILL.  Some issues’ digital copies are available on this site (highlighted in yellow).)


Other Legal Journals

Vlast’ sovetov. Moscow: Kommissariat, 1918-1938. 

Note: This publication contains survey of major laws

Sovetskoe stroitelʹstvo: zhurnal Tsentralʹnogo Ispolnitelʹnogo Komiteta Soiuza SSR. Moscow: Izdatel’stvo “Vlast’ Sovetov,” 1926-1937.  

Note: this publication contains an index to the legislation of USSR and union republics.

Ezhenedel’nik sovetskoi iustitsii. Moscow: VTsIK, 1922-1929. [Link

Sovetskaia iustitsiia. 37 vols. Moskva: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo iuridicheskoi literatury, 1957-c. 1993.