Blinken OSA Archival Evidence for a Project on the 1991 Soviet Coup D’état Attempt


Archival documents from the collection of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Research Institute held at Blinken OSA contributed to the documented evidence published now within the new interactive public history project on 1991 August Coup in Leningrad and Moscow. The online portal Leningrad. August. Freedom was launched for the 30th anniversary of the 1991 Soviet coup d’état attempt. Citing documents from Blinken OSA is the first step in a cooperation between the Archives and the St. Petersburg-based research and information center Iofe Foundation on history of dissent in Leningrad.

The portal Leningrad. August. Freedom published testimonies by the events’ participants, including those resisting the putsch in Leningrad. The project reconstructed the developments between August 19 and 22, 1991, using various archival and media documents, memoirs, and oral history interviews, highlighting the defining role of citizens’ agency and freedom of choice. The project’s authors emphasize that what happened in Leningrad was no less important in the political transformation in Russia, than the events in Moscow.

At Blinken OSA, archival documents on the events are held in the series Old Code Subject Files within the fonds Soviet Red Archives, in the series Published Samizdat, Biographical Files, and Unpublished Samizdat within the fonds Samizdat Archives, and in the series The Former Soviet Union Archives within the fonds The Information Service Department.

The online portal Leningrad. August. Freedom and its sister project Islands of Freedom, Petersburg, XX–XXI Century are both run by Iofe Foundation. The Foundation is an informal community created in 2000 by the 1960s political prisoner Veniamin Iofe. Since 2015, the Foundation has been conducting public activities previously carried out by Memorial