Archival search under martial law

08.08.2022 448

Due to the escalation of the war actions and their spreading throughout the whole territory of the country, martial law was declared in Ukraine on February 24, 2022. The functioning of many organizations and structures has changed, and the face-to-face reception of citizens has been terminated almost everywhere. Changes were also made in the sphere of archival institutions:

  • The reading rooms of all archives are closed to the public – work is done by sending requests by e-mail and regular mail;
  • All Ukrainian archives stopped accepting requests from citizens of Russia and Belarus;
  • As of the beginning of August 2022, the State Archives of Kharkiv region and the State Archives of Kherson region do not work completely. The State Archives of Mykolaiv region processes only requests to search for documents that are needed to submit to Ukrainian and foreign structures;
  • Branch archives of power structures (Ministry of Internal Affairs and Security Service of Ukraine) operate in a limited mode – requests for case scanning and deep search in many cases are postponed until the end of martial law, as other activities are prioritized;
  • Some archives have increased turnaround times for inquiries due to the reduction of staff, who, for example, have gone abroad or gone to war;
  • The Ministry of Justice terminated a number of treaties with the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus, including the Convention on Legal Assistance in Civil, Family and Criminal Matters, adopted in 1994. Thus, cooperation between the registry offices of Ukraine and Belarus, Ukraine and Russia was interrupted. Accordingly, Ukrainian civil registry offices no longer accept powers of attorney or applications from citizens of Russia and Belarus;
  • The postal connection between Ukraine and Russia and Belarus has been terminated – it is no longer possible to send anything from Ukraine to these countries, either through Ukrposhta or through private logistics companies;
  • The ability to send and receive payments to/from the accounts of citizens of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus is blocked;

Under conditions of war, the Ukrainian archives are focused primarily on the preservation of archival funds. The digitization of many archives is also actively ongoing in cooperation with Family Search.

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