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Soviet History: a Bibliographic Guide to Published Sources


Note: memoirs and diaries deal with personal history and are often broadly cataloged as “biography”. Use this search term paired with a name of a country, city, etc., or an institution, professional, ethnic, etc. group or historical event and filter by form/genre:

Soviet union biography (filtered by form/genre "personal narratives")

engineers Soviet biography (filtered by form/genre "autobiographies")

Revolution biography Soviet (filtered by language "Ukrainian")

war world soviet biography (filtered by form/genre "diaries")

Soviet Union personal narratives 

Soviet Union -- Biography -- Bibliography

soviet union diaries

Suggested keywords (for better results, filter results by desired dates/date ranges):




Russian State Library

Suggested search keywords:




Suggested theme search (in professional search):

Воспоминания и записки

Автобиографии, дневники, воспоминания писателя

Дневники. Воспоминания. Письма

Материалы для изучения биографии и творчества писателя

Russian State Public Historical Library

The “Predmetnyi katalog” of the digital catalog of the Russian State Public Historical Library is useful for identifying memoirs, diaries, personal correspondence, biographies, and other personal narratives. Browse the “kornevaia rubrika” dropdown menu in the search box and find the person/groups of people who might be related to your research, such as “Абхазские писатели”, “Авантюристы в России”, “Бабел, Исаак Эммануилович”, or “Дипломаты народов СССР”. Very often, such search queries lead to memoirs, diaries, personal correspondence, and other biographical materials. 

E.g. the rubric titled “Бахтин, Михаил Михайлович (1895 - 1975)”

Search personal narratives in periodicals

Some memoirs, oral history interviews, and diary entries were published in journals or newspapers. You could use the strategies mentioned in the “Journals and Newspapers” section to identify personal narratives published in the Soviet press (e.g. usually by searching relevant keywords, such as записки, воспоминания, интервью, etc., in libraries’ digital catalogs, or searching in full-text databases, such as East View Digital Archives). 

Bibliographic Resources

Sovetskoe obshchestvo v vospominaniiakh i dnevnikakh: annotirovannyi bibliograficheskii ukazatelʹ knig, publikatsii v sbornikakh i zhurnalakh. Ed. V. Z. Drobizhev, comp. K. I. Butina et al. Moscow: Kniga, 1987-2017. See the contents of each volume described here

Voennye memuary series from Voenizdat publishers (Moscow).

O zhizni i o sebe series from Politizdat publishers (Moscow). (Memoirs of leading Soviet political figures). 

Kolesnikov, L. A. Istoriko-revoliutsionnaia memuaristika (1917-1935 gg.): monografiia. Nizhnii Novgorod: Nizhegorodskii gosudarstvennyi arkhitekturno-stroitel’nyi universitet, 2004.

Galperina, I. G. and N. V. Gorshkova. “Bibliografirovanie ‘lichnoi’ istorii: annotirovannye bibliograficheskie ukazateli memuarnoi literatury.” Bibliotekovedenie 66, no. 2 (2017): 154-158. 

Fitzpatrick, Sheila, and Yuri Slezkine. In the Shadow of Revolution : Life Stories of Russian Women from 1917 to the Second World War. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2018.

Arans, D. How we lost the Civil War : Bibliography of Russian emigre memoirs on the Russian Revolution, 1917-1921 (Russian bibliography series ; 6). Newtonville, Mass.: Oriental Research Partners, 1988.

Ogarev, P., & Sekirin, M. O voĭne, o tovarishchakh, o sebe : Velikai︠a︡ Otechestvennai︠a︡ voĭna v vospominanii︠a︡kh uchastnikov boevykh deĭstviĭ : Annotirovannyĭ ukazatelʹ voenno-memuarnoĭ literatury, 1975-1981 gg. Moskva: Voen. izd-vo Ministerstva oborony SSSR, 1982.

Tartakovskiĭ, A., Emmons, T., Budnit︠s︡kiĭ, O., Gosudarstvennai︠a︡ publichnai︠a︡ istoricheskai︠a︡ biblioteka, & Stanford University. Rossii͡a i rossiĭskai͡a ėmigrat͡sii͡a v vospominanii͡akh i dnevnikakh : annotirovannyĭ ukazatelʹ knig, zhurnalʹnykh i gazetnykh publikat͡siĭ, izdannykh za rubezhom v 1917-1991 gg. Москва : РОССПЭН, 2003-2006.

Prozhito : Lichnye istorii v elektronnom korpuse dnevnikov. A searchable online corpus of Soviet diaries, both published and unpublished.

Diary and memoir resources in the Digital Handbook for Research on Soviet History