Voices of the Soviet Underground - Now Online

Anna Mazanik's picture

The Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives at Central European University (Blinken OSA) publishes an online, fully searchable database of Soviet Audio Samizdat produced by Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Samizdat Unit 1970-1989.

In 2016 Blinken OSA systematized, digitized and processed over 100 open reel tapes. These recordings, which constitute the Samizdat Archive (‘Arkhiv Samizdata’) at RFE/RL, are the voices of the Soviet underground. Some of these sound recordings were transcribed, edited and printed at RFE/RL in Munich as Russian Samizdat; others were broadcast by Radio Liberty within its Samizdat program series. Now the original recordings of the ‘published samizdat’ portion, 58 files, are accessible to all for the first time.

Most of the material are recorded telephone conversations between the members of the Soviet underground communities and RFE/RL staff. A smaller portion of the tapes are amateur recordings that were produced in the USSR, smuggled out of the country and archived at RFE/RL in Munich. 

Several other parts of RFE/RL’s vast research archives, which are deposited at OSA, are now available for online research within the Digital Repository, including collections of

·         RFE Information Items,

·         RFE/RL Situation Reports,

·         RFE/RL Background Reports,

·         RFE/RL Polish Underground Press,

·         Soviet and Russian Television Monitoring, and

·         Radio Liberty (Radio Svoboda) Russian Broadcast Recordings 1953-1995.

OSA has also made available online parts of the pre-1971 corporate records of the Free Europe Committee (FEC), the legal predecessor of RFE/RL), including digital copies of encrypted Telex messages between FEC’s office in New York and RFE headquarters in Munich from 1960 to 1964.

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About the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives (Blinken OSA)
Established in 1995, the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives (Blinken OSA) at Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary is both a repository of important collections, primarily related to the history of the Cold War and grave international human rights violations, and a laboratory of archival experiments on new ways of assessing, contextualizing, presenting, and making use of archival documents.

About RFE/RL
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a private, independent international news organization whose programs -- radio, Internet, television, and mobile -- reach influential audiences in 23 countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus. It is funded by the U.S. Congress through the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).

Categories: Archive