Sergei Soldatov personal archive
The collection contains material about Sergei Soldatov, one of Estonia's most notable dissidents, who was culturally most active when living in exile after 1981. There are different types of documents and photographs in the collection, which describe not only Soldatov's life, but also the activities of dissident movements in the Soviet Union. Soldatov also used this material in his numerous books, which he published himself.
Tallinn Tõnismägi 2, Estonia 10122
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Name of collection
- Soldatov, Sergei. Personal archive
Provenance and cultural activities
The Sergei Soldatov collection follows the activities of Estonia’s best-known dissident, concentrating mainly on his correspondence and publishing activities from the 1970s onwards.
As an ethnic Russian, Soldatov formed close relations with dissidents in Russia while studying at the Polytechnic Institute of Leningrad, and he maintained contact with them later when working at Tallinn Polytechnic Institute. In the late 1960s, he formed a clandestine democratic group in Tallinn. After the Prague Spring, he increased his dissident activities. In the autumn of 1969, he was one of the members of the Democratic Movement of the Soviet Union, along with Artem Juskevich and others. In this context, he spent the next few years editing and distributing the samizdat periodicals Демократ (Demokrat) and Луч Свободы (Lutsh Svobody). Soldatov was one of the authors of the agenda of the Democratic Movement of the Soviet Union. He was tried for his dissident activities in 1975, and sentenced to six years' penal servitude.
Expelled from the USSR in 1981 soon after his release, Soldatov and his wife Ludmilla Grünberg-Soldatova moved to Munich in West Germany, where he worked as a journalist for Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, making broadcasts both in Russian and Estonian. Later, he lived in Frankfurt-am-Main. It was there that he founded the publishing house Ost-West Renaissance in 1987, through which he published the magazine Katharsis (1989-1991) and most of his books.
Returning to Estonia in 2000, Soldatov continued his publishing activities, bringing out, among other publications, five volumes of the independent almanac Estonia 2000. He continued to work on his collected works under the title 'The Legacy and Archive of Sergei Soldatov'.
Before his death in 2003, Soldatov expressed the strong desire that his personal papers should stay in Estonia. This became a reality in 2006, when the papers were sold to the National Library of Estonia.
Until now, there has not been much public interest in the collection, probably because of the lack of information about what happened to the materials he left behind. At present, the Sergei Soldatov collection is undergoing archival processing.
Description of content
Soldatov's personal papers contain the manuscripts and drafts of his work, including typescripts of a number of copies of the samizdat periodicals Демократ and Луч Свободы he edited, his correspondence with members of his family from the 1960s and with intellectuals living abroad, letters to the prison camp, and letters written after 1981, etc. There are also clippings from the local and foreign press, personal documents and photographs, and documents relating to the activities of his publishing company.
The photographs in the collection (more than 800) are largely undated and have not been catalogued.
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 100-499
- photos: 500-999
Geographical scope of recent operation
Place of founding
0000 NDA location
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Important events in the history of the collection
- visits by appointments
Author(s) of this page
- Tammela, Mari-Leen
Tallinna Tehnikaülikool. 2017. "Sergei Soldatov - vabadusvõitleja, Eesti demokraatliku liikumise juht, TPI õppejõud." Accessed April 27. https://www.ttu.ee/public/r/raamatukogu/raamatukogust/naitused/Soldatov_S.Vabadusvoitleja.pdf.
Vahkal, Anniki , interview by Tammela, Mari-Leen , February 28, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection