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The History of Volunteerism in the Soviet Union as Reflected in the Collections of the Central Russian Archives. P. 26–35

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Section: History




Natal’ya I. Gorlovа
Plekhanov Russian University of Economics;
Stremyannyy per. 36, Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation; e-mail:


This article presents a comprehensive analysis of written sources on the history of volunteerism in the Soviet Union that have been found by the author in the State Archives of the Russian Federation, the Russian State Archives of Socio-Political History, and the Central State Archives of the City of Moscow. The review includes organized information on the composition and content of individual sets of archival documents complemented by a source analysis. The presented documents adequately cover the activities of volunteers in numerous spheres and areas of public life. At the same time, they vary greatly in content and in their value for studying the development of volunteerism. Nevertheless, these materials allow us to trace the history of the establishment of voluntary associations and to evaluate their multifaceted activity when it comes to organizational issues of managing volunteer resources – from recruiting new members or freelancers to determining specific areas of voluntary work. Using archival sources, we can get a clearer idea of the size and forms of the volunteer movement throughout the Soviet Union as well as explore the little-studied and controversial aspects of its development and institutionalization in the country. The introduction of these documents into scientific discourse will help us clarify, reconsider and better understand the phenomenon of Soviet volunteerism with its characteristic features, including good organization, large-scale involvement, directive mechanisms, etc.


archival collection, volunteer movement in the USSR, volunteerism, volunteers
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2. Maslennikov S.A. Narodnye druzhiny deystvuyut [People’s Patrols in Action]. Kursk, 1961. 64 p.
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