Arseny Roginsky: "Every document is important, every document is precious as witness to our past."

posted 26 Dec 2017, 08:36 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 26 Dec 2017, 09:02 ]
"[...] An archive for me (of course, I have in mind only literary and historical archives) is the natural continuation of a library, and archival materials, unpublished sources that are in principle no different from those that have been published, can be considered as accidentally not published, or not yet published. I consider it necessary to explain this now, because, among people who have no connection with historical research, I have often met a considerable number who are genuinely convinced that the documents preserved in archives must either be top secret, or defamatory of someone, or perhaps something. And for that reason only select people, who enjoy a “special trust,” are allowed into archives, and that is how it should be. Such a view of archives, of course, is completely mistaken. Just as the attempts made to divide documents into those that are more or less important, more or less valuable, are mistaken. Every document is important, every document is precious as witness to our past. [...]"

    - Arseny Roginsky, from his final speech in court at his trial, spoken on 4 December 1981. Source: 'Положение историка в СССР. Последнее слово А.Б. Рогинского на суде. Ленинград, 4 декабря 1981 года,' ГЕФТЕР, 22 December 2017 [translation by Simon Cosgrove]

Photo of Arseny Roginsky: © Tomasz Kizny, via International Memorial Society