RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE-RELATED LEGAL DOCUMENTS


On Procedure for
Declassification of and
Extension of Classification Limits on
USSR Government Archival Documents

Statute
01 March 1995

1. This Statute on procedure for declassification of and extension of classification limits on USSR Government archival documents is based upon the Russian Federation law "On State Secrecy" and the Fundamentals of Russian Federation Legislation on Russian Federation Archival Material and Archives and defines procedure for the declassification of or extension of classification limits on (subsequently to be referred to as "declassification") USSR Government documents housed in Russian Federation archival institutions.

2. This Statute defines USSR Government documents as archival documents of the USSR Council of People's Commissars, the USSR Council of Ministers, the USSR Cabinet of Ministers and their permanent bodies, as well as the Committee for Operational Management of the USSR Economy and the Interstate Economic Committee.

3. A decision to declassify USSR Government documents must be made by the Interagency Commission for the Protection of State Secrets (subsequently to be referred to as "the Interagency Commission").*

4. In order to support decision making regarding declassification of USSR Government documents the Interagency Commission shall establish an interagency group of experts on declassification of and extension of classification limits on USSR Government documents (subsequently to be referred to as "the Interagency Group of Experts").

5. The Interagency Group of Experts shall include representatives of the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense, the Russian Federation Federal Counterintelligence Service, the Russian Federation Foreign Intelligence Service, the Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information under the President of the Russian Federation, the Russian Federation Ministry of Justice, the Russian Federation Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Russian Federation State Committee for Defense Industry, the Russian Federation Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Russian Federation Ministry of Economics, the Russian Federation Ministry of Finance, the Russian Federation Ministry of Atomic Energy, the Russian State Archive Service and the central apparatus of the State Technical Commission under the President of the Russian Federation, as well as representatives of the Russian Federation Presidential Administration and the Russian Federation Government Apparatus, by agreement. The composition of the Interagency Group of Experts shall be confirmed by the chairman of the Interagency Commission in consultation with the aforementioned ministries and agencies. The Interagency Group of Experts shall be headed by the deputy chairman of the Interagency Commission.

6. Depending upon the subject of the documents slated for declassification, the Interagency Group of Experts may bring in specialists from other Russian Federation ministries and agencies, the heads of which are authorized to classify information as state secrets.

7. Members of the Interagency Group of Experts, as well as additional specialists brought in to assess documents, shall perform their work without compensation.

8. The Interagency Commission shall organize its work relative to declassification of files and documents created during the existence of the USSR Government and housed in Russian Federation archival institutions:
  • systematically with regard to documents for which the time limit on classification has expired;
  • in compliance with edicts, directives and orders from the President of the Russian Federation and decrees, directives and orders from the Government of the Russian Federation pertaining to information support for organs of state authority and the conducting of socially significant events;
  • in compliance with orders from the Chief of the Russian Federation Presidential Administration or the Chief of the Russian Federation Government Apparatus in connection with requests from the head of the Russian State Archive Service or users of archival materials regarding publication, research, exhibits or other projects.

    9. The directors of Russian Federation archival institutions which house secret USSR Government documents shall present to the Russian State Archive Service annual proposals regarding the contents of an overall annual plan for declassification of the aforementioned documents. The overall annual plan for declassification of USSR Government documents shall be reviewed by the Interagency Commission and approved by its chairman.

    10. The directors of the Russian Federation Presidential Archive, the Russian Federation Government Archive and the Russian Federation State Archive shall in the cases enumerated in Point 8 of this Statute:
  • present to the Interagency Commission information regarding secret documents subject to declassification (reference materials, lists and overviews);
  • ensure that the members of the members of the Interagency Group of Experts and additional specialists who have been brought in are familiarized with the original files (or documents) at their place of storage or with copies which substitute for them (microfilms, microfiches or photocopies). The members of the Interagency Group of Experts and the additional specialists brought in by them shall review the files (or documents) submitted for declassification page by page.

    11. Based on the results of expert assessments of USSR Government documents submitted for declassification, the members of the Interagency Group of Experts and the additional specialists brought in by them shall compile detailed findings. A finding must include a list of the files (or documents) reviewed and conclusions regarding the appropriateness of declassifying them (either fully or partially), removing the secrecy classifications attached to them, or extending the time limit on their classification. If necessary a finding shall also include recommendations regarding further use of the declassified documents.

    12. Findings by the members of the Interagency Group of Experts and outside specialists brought in by them shall be reported at a session of the Interagency Group of Experts for the purpose of drafting a coordinated draft decision on declassification of USSR Government documents.

    13. A draft decision by the Interagency Group of Experts must be reviewed by the Interagency Commission and approved by its chairman.

    14. A decision by the Interagency Commission shall be sent to the Russian State Archive Service and the head of the archival institution that submitted the documents for the commission's review. This decision is then binding on all archival institutions in the Russian Federation which house USSR Government documents and shall serve as a basis for the removal (or reduction) of secrecy levels assigned to those documents and for appropriate changes in record keeping relative to them.

    15. Declassification of archival documents which were created during the period of existence of USSR ministries and agencies and which are part of USSR Government materials shall be carried out on recommendation from the Interagency Commission by the legal successors to the creators of those materials, i.e. by Russian Federation ministries and agencies, the heads of which are authorized to classify information as state secrets.

    16. A decision to declassify archival documents which are part of USSR Government materials and were created during the period of existence of USSR ministries and agencies which were subsequently eliminated and have no legal successors shall be made by the Interagency Commission.

    17. Decisions to declassify documents created by the USSR Government and the CPSU shall be made jointly by the Commission for the Declassification of Documents Created by the CPSU and the Interagency Commission meeting in joint session.

    18. Declassification of USSR Government documents which contain information regarding citizens' personal lives or their personal data shall be carried out in accordance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the Russian Federation law "On Investigative Activity in the Russian Federation," the Fundamentals of Russian Federation Legislation on Russian Archival Materials and Archives, and other legislative acts.

    19. Lists of declassified USSR Government documents shall be published in the Archival Information Bulletin and distributed to Russian Federation archival institutions.


    Footnote* In compliance with Russian Federation Presidential Edict No 614, issue on 30 March 1994, the functions of the Interagency Commission were temporarily assigned to the State Technical Commission under the President of the Russian Federation.