A couple of years ago, thanks to one of those chance conversations that happen in academia, a librarian based at the Defence Academy heard about a number of Russian books and newspapers that had been placed in storage after a research group had been disbanded. On closer inspection it turned out to be a substantial treasure-trove of books, journals, maps, reports, and broadcasts that had once served the Soviet Studies Research Centre and its successor the Conflict Studies Research Centre at Sandhurst.
Since this discovery, staff at Barrington Library (Cranfield University) and the Defence Academy – ably assisted by Dr Steven Main, a specialist and independent researcher in Russian military affairs – have been working to save, preserve, and bring order to this valuable collection.
It has been resurrected as the Russian Military Studies Archive and it is hoped that researchers and military enthusiasts will be encouraged to come and use the facilities.
What does the Archive cover?
The majority of the material is in English or Russian, but there is also a considerable amount of material in other languages including Czech, Polish, German, Romanian and Albanian, as well as original language source material from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
The archive houses over 16,000 individual books, some of which are rare, and in the case of much of the Russian-language material, especially works published pre-1980, very difficult or very expensive to obtain now.
The collection contains material such as BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, Foreign Broadcast Information Service Reports, RAND papers, Soviet Army Studies Papers and many journals including:
- 30 years’ worth of the USSR’s/Russia’s main military medical journal Voenno-meditsinskiy zhurnal
- 40 years of the Soviet/Russian Navy’s journal Morskoi Sbornik
- Over 30 years of the Soviet/ Russian Ground Forces journal Voenniy Vestnik and the Soviet Air Force main monthly Aviatsiya I Kosmonavtika
Amongst the maps is a very rare collection of former Soviet General Staff maps of the USSR, produced on the eve of the invasion of the USSR in June 1941. However, the bulk of the maps are Soviet/Russian/English maps of the various constituent republics of the USSR/CIS/Russian Federation, Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Near and Far East, etc.
Not just historical…
Although not updated since 2010, Dr Steven Main says the archive is still immensely useful for researching current topics, as he himself has used it to write several recent articles for the British Army Review.
What you can do to help the RMSA
Rachel Daniels and Mike Groves of Barrington Library would like to appeal for potential customers:
“Please do spread the word about the archive to anyone you think would be interested. We really want the archive to be used and valued as it deserves to be. Students, academics, authors, and war-gamers can all benefit!”
For more information about the archive and find out what’s been added recently to the
catalogue (a work in progress!), please visit the RMSA website: http://barrington.cranfield.ac.uk/rmsa/
Follow @RMSArchive on Twitter
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org