Completed investigative files of the Soviet Estonian KGB
The collection of completed investigative files at the National Archives of Estonia is an extensive set of investigative files about people who were persecuted during the Soviet period. A significant part of the collection is made up of files about persecuted cultural figures. The files in this collection are complete, which means that the interest of the authorities towards a person (or persons) had ended, due to death, rehabilitation or other reasons, and the cases were closed.
Tartu Nooruse 3, Estonia 50411
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Name of collection
- Collection of completed investigative files of the State Security Committee of the ESSR
Provenance and cultural activities
The collection of completed investigative files was formed as a result of the everyday work of the KGB of the Estonian SSR. It contains investigative files of people arrested for political reasons, starting with former Estonian state officials, police officers and military commanders, as well as dissident groups. The collection also includes the files of many cultural figures and intellectuals who were accused of bourgeois nationalism, anti-Soviet tendencies etc. As such, it is an invaluable source material for research into the cultural opposition.
As a separate collection, the collection of completed investigative files (known by the signature ERAF.130SM in the Estonian National Archive system) began to form in 1954, when the Department of Security Investigation was created within the KGB of the Estonian SSR.
The collection of completed investigative files (ERAF.130SM) forms an interconnected archival system with other collections described here: investigative files in process, or incomplete investigative files (ERAF.129SM). Both consist of investigative files. The difference lies in the fact that the collection of completed investigative files consists of files of those who were rehabilitated, dead, granted an amnesty, or they could be written off from State Security monitoring for some other reason. People were written off from the monitoring account and their files moved to the ERAF.130 collection up to 1991. This also means that the personal files of those who were rehabilitated later than 1991 are still in the collection of incomplete investigative files (ERAF.129SM).
The collection contains mainly files from the 1940s and 1950s, and to a lesser extent files from the 1960s to the 1980s. The last entry to this collection was made in 1991.
The collection was taken over from the State Security Archive in Tallinn in the autumn of 1991, and has maintained its original structure. This means that the investigative files are ordered alphabetically. No reorganisation based on themes has been made. As a result, some prior knowledge, in particular the names of persons of interest, is needed when working with material in this collection.
During the takeover of archival material from the KGB archive, part of this collection ended up temporarily in Ulyanovsk in Russia, but was brought back to Tallinn, half a tonne of archive material in total, in December 1991. By a decision of the government, the collection was given to the Estonian Police Board instead of the Estonian National Archival Board, which led to objections by archivists. It happened that neither professional historians nor archivists were involved in taking over the KGB archives. The collection was incorporated into the National Archives (the former Party Archives) in the spring of 1993.
Description of content
The collection consists of 15,535 files. Some investigative files may include multiple volumes which are kept under one file number. Files under one file number usually consist of at least two separate files: a main file and a monitoring file.
The investigative or criminal files include arrest warrants, defendant questionnaires, interrogation records, search records, correspondence between the KGB and other institutions, charge summaries, trial records, court rulings, and certificates of rehabilitation. They can also include personal letters, and material considered as evidence, such as manuscripts, letters, publications (samizdat, etc), insignia, and photographs.
An operational-informational card index of files of those arrested for political reasons is attached to the collection of completed investigative files, although the card index (62,040 cards) consists of cards about the collections of incomplete and completed investigative files. It was incorporated into the National Archives in 2000.
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 1000-
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- all closed to the public
Author(s) of this page
- Tammela, Mari-Leen
- Tark, Triin
Ohmann, Valdur, interview by Tammela, Mari-Leen , September 26, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection