Accessing Russian archives appears today to be nothing like the frustrating experience many of us had in Soviet times. I’ve had an email exchange with the Russian State Archives of Literature and Art (RGALI) in which they’ve confirmed the documents I need to present, and reminded me that as a foreign scholar I can also request archival materials two weeks in advance of my arrival, so that they will be available the day I show up. RGALI’s website has a complete list of their holdings down to the level of individual manuscript items. It’s possible to imagine the day in the near future when all the materials will not only be listed, but scanned and available online as well. You won’t even have to leave home!
At RGALI, I will be focusing on unpublished memoirs and letters among the friends and colleagues of Levitan and Chekhov.