This page has information and links to information related to history. See Biographical Research for history of individual people. For specific time periods, places/areas, and/or topics see left-hand side for topics.

Soviet Union 1917-1991 Introduction

This page lists resources related to Soviet Union history. The time frame for this page is 1917-1991. However, there are few resources and subjects that refer to contemporary Russia and former Soviet Union countries.

Reference Books               Books                 Indexes (identify journal articles)                 Journals                           Web Sites

Reference Books

Reference materials can be an extremely useful resource when conducting research. Depending upon your specific topic, you might consult one at the beginning, middle, or near the end of your research.

  • The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Russia and the Former Soviet Union. DK14 .C35 1994 Reference
  • Cultural Atlas of Russia and the Former Soviet Union. DK32 .M62 1998 Reference
  • Dictionary of Wars. D 25 .A2 K63 1999 Reference
  • Eastern Europe: An Introduction to the People, Lands, and Culture. 3 vols. DJK 9 .E25 2005 Reference
  • Encyclopedia of Eastern Europe. DJK 6 .E53 2000 Reference
  • Encyclopedia of Russian History. 4 vols. DK14 .E53 2004 Reference and ERHonline to CSU affiliates
  • Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture. DJK 28 .R87 E53 2002 Reference
  • Encyclopedia of World History. D 21 .E577 2000 Reference
  • Encyclopedia of World History. D 21 .E578 2001 Reference
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library. GVRLonline; CSU affiliates only
  • Great Soviet Encyclopedia. AE 5 B58 Reference (Translation into English of Russian-language encyclopedia. Published during Soviet era [1973-1982].)
  • Ground Warfare An International Encyclopedia. 3 vols. D 25 .A2 G76 2002 Reference
  • Historical Dictionary of Russia. DK36 .R39 1998 Reference
  • Invasions and Conquests from Ancient Times to the Present. D 25 .A2 D38 1996 Reference
  • Magill's Guide to Military History. 5 vols. D 25 .A2 M34 1001 Reference
  • The Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History. DK14 .M6 Reference
  • The Oxford Companion to Military History. D 25 .A2 O94 2001 Reference

Circulating Research Materials of Interest

  • The Cambridge History of the Cold War. 3 vols. D842 .C295 2010 Morgan
  • Handbook of Major Soviet Nationalities. DK33 .H35 1975 Storage
  • Of the Making of Nationalities There is No End. 2 vols. DJK28.R87 M34 1999 Storage temp
  • Russia: A Reference Guide from the Renaissance to the Present. DK36 .B59 2004 Morgan
  • The Soviet Multinational State: Readings and Documents. DK33 .S668 1990 Storage
  • The Soviet-Afghan War: How a Superpower Fought and Lost. DS371.2 >S665 2002 Morgan


Books are a key resource for information about the Soviet Union from 1917-1985. The subject headings listed in this section can be used to find books related to this topic in any library catalog which uses Library of Congress Subject Headings, including CSU's Library Catalog (it is not an exhaustive list). Do a subject search using the terms below to identify books in the library catalog and Prospector (the Colorado Regional Catalog). Books may be requested from Prospector by CSU affiliates. Look at subdivisions as well. A term ending with "Sources" means the items listed all include primary sources (or are entirely primary sources). CSU affiliates may request copies of books in the database to be purchased by the Library. An eID is required.

  • Afghanistan History Soviet Occupation, 1979-1989
  • China Foreign Relations Soviet Union
  • Church and State Soviet Union
  • Church and State Soviet Union History
  • Cold War
  • Communism History 20th Century
  • Ethnology Soviet Union
  • Families Soviet Union
  • Family Policy Soviet Union
  • Finland Foreign Relations Soviet Union
  • Former Soviet Republics
  • Former Soviet Republics Economic Conditions
  • Former Soviet Republics Ethnic Relations
  • Former Soviet Republics Politics and Government
  • Former Soviet Republics Post Communism
  • Former Soviet Republics Social Conditions
  • Glasnost
  • Motion Picture Industry Soviet Union
  • Motion Pictures Soviet Union
  • Motion Pictures History Soviet Union
  • Motion Pictures Political Aspects Soviet Union
  • Orthodox Eastern Church Soviet Union History
  • Paganism
  • Peasants Soviet Union
  • Perestroika
  • Propaganda Communist Soviet Union
  • Propaganda Soviet Union
  • Russia Federation
  • Russkaia Pravoslavnaia Tserkov History [church]
  • Sex Role Soviet Union
  • Soviet Union
  • Soviet Union Antisemitism
  • Soviet Union Armed Forces
  • Soviet Union Church and State
  • Soviet Union Church History
  • Soviet Union Ethnic Relations
  • Soviet Union Foreign Relations
  • Soviet Union Foreign Relations 1917 1945
  • Soviet Union Foreign Relations 1945 1991
  • Soviet Union Foreign Relations 1953 1975
  • Soviet Union Foreign Relations 1975 1985
  • Soviet Union Foreign Relations 1985 1991
  • Soviet Union Foreign Relations Afghanistan
  • Soviet Union Foreign Relations Asia
  • Soviet Union Foreign Relations China
  • Soviet Union Foreign Relations Europe
  • Soviet Union Foreign Relations Finland
  • Soviet Union Foreign Relations Germany
  • Soviet Union Foreign Relations Great Britain
  • Soviet Union Foreign Relations Japan
  • Soviet Union Foreign Relations Middle East
  • Soviet Union Foreign Relations Poland
  • Soviet Union Foreign Relations United States
  • Soviet Union Foreign Relations United States Sources
  • Soviet Union Foreign Relations Yugoslavia
  • Soviet Union History
  • Soviet Union History 1917 1936
  • Soviet Union History 1925 1953
  • Soviet Union History 1939 1945
  • Soviet Union History 1953 1985
  • Soviet Union History 1985 1991
  • Soviet Union History Autonomy and Independence Movements
  • Soviet Union History German Occupation, 1941-1944
  • Soviet Union History, Military
  • Soviet Union History Revolution, 1917-1921
  • Soviet Union History Revolution, 1917-1921 Personal Narratives
  • Soviet Union History Revolution, 1917-1921 Personal Narratives Russian
  • Soviet Union History Revolution, 1917-1921 Sources
  • Soviet Union Medicine
  • Soviet Union Military Policy
  • Soviet Union Nationalism
  • Soviet Union Politics and Government
  • Soviet Union Politics and Government 1985-1991
  • Soviet Union Raboche Krestianskaia Krasnaia Armiia Biography [Red Army]
  • Soviet Union Raboche Krestianskaia Krasnaia Armiia History
  • Soviet Union Religion
  • Soviet Union Social Conditions
  • Soviet Union Sovetskaia Armiia History [army]
  • Soviet Union Voenno Morskoi Flot Baltiiskii Flot [navy]
  • Soviet Union Voenno Vozdushnye Sily [air force]
  • Warsaw Treaty 1955 Sources
  • Warsaw Treaty Organization
  • Warsaw Treaty Organization Armed Forces
  • Women Soviet Union History
  • Women Soviet Union Social Conditions
  • World War 1939 1945 Soviet Union

Indexes (identify journal articles)

Use indexes to identify articles of interest. Be sure to make use of their bibliographies, works cited, and references for additional resources that will help with research on any topic.

Indexes, Print

  • Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature. AI 3 .R48 Reference 1900-
  • Humanities Index. AI 3 .I495 Reference 1974-1998
  • International Index to Periodicals. AI 3 .I49 Reference 1920/1923-1952/1955
  • International Index. AI 3 .I49 Reference 1955/1958-1964/1965
  • International Political Science Abstracts. JA 36 .I5 Reference 1951-2006
  • London Times Index (various titles: Palmer's, etc.) AI 21 T51 & AI21 .T46 Reference & others nearby 1785- ; the newspaper itself is on microfilm, call number AN .T5 (current issues in print in newspaper area); 2000- is available. See also Times Digital Archives.
  • Social Sciences Index. AI 3 .I496 Reference 1974/75-1998/99

Indexes/Databases, Electronic

These indexes may also be accessed by CSU affiliates via the "A-Z Database List" pages. See Truncation and Proximity Operators for advanced searching methods for these and other databases.

JSTOR. Full text articles at least 3-5 years old (varies by journal).  Full text or linked to full text for more recent articles (most of them). Contemporary vocabulary is vital for success.

Project Muse.  Full text articles (view in PDF).

Historical Abstracts. 1954- .  Covers events of 1450 to the present.

PAIS International. 1915- .  Government to government activity and other international topics.

Times Digital Archive 1785-2008. London Times newspaper. Includes weekday and Sunday paper (Sunday a separate paper).  Full text articles (view in database reader or PDF).

See also:

  • WorldCat. Identifies books, archival materials, etc., but not articles. (Subject terms should match those listed under Books. The library catalog, Prospector, and Interlibrary Loan requests can be made directly from WorldCat via the  button)
  • New York Times 1851- . (Contemporary vocabulary is vital for success.)
  • Web of Science. (Arts & Humanities Citation Index)


  • Ab Imperio: Teoriia I Istoriia Natsionalnostei I Natsionalizma V Postsovetskom Prostranstve=Ab Imperio: Studies of New Imperial History and Nationalism in Post-Soviet Space. DK1 .A25 Not owned by CSU. See AItable of contents on journal Web site. Request desired articles from Interlibrary Loan
  • American Slavic and East European Review. D377.A1 A5ej ASEERonline 1945-1961 to CSU affiliates. (Continued by Slavic Review.)
  • Analysis of Current Developments in the Soviet Union. DK 266 .A2A5 1966-1971 Storage
  • Canadian-American Slavic Studies. Revue canadienne-américaine d'études slaves. D 377 A1C34 1987- Journal Room & Bound Journals; 1967-1979 Storage Microtext
  • Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique. 1959- CMEAonline (although not recent years) to CSU affiliates; 1999- selectively online to all
  • Canadian Slavonic Papers. PG 6 C3 1965-1966,1968-1982,1986-1987,1989-1997 Bound Journals
  • East Central Europe. L'Europe du centre-est. DR2 .E16 1977-1979,1983-2004 Bound Journals, 1974-1976 Microfilm
  • East European Quarterly. DR1 .E4 1967/1968-1970/1971,1972/1973-1974/1975,1981/1982-1994/1995,1996/1997-2008/2009 Journal Room & Bound Journals. EEQonline 1996-2008 to CSU affiliates.
  • Harvard Ukrainian Studies. DK508.A2 H33ej; HUSonline to CSU affiliates 1970s-2004
  • Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas. D1 .J3 1983-2004 Bound Journals
  • Journal of Ukrainian Studies. ZHurnal ukraïnoznavchykh studii. DK508.A2 J67 1976-1979 Storage
  • Kritika (Bloomington, Ind.). DK1 .K75ej Konline to CSU affiliates 2000-
  • Nationalities Papers. DR24 .N37 & DR24 .N37ej 1976-1977,1980-2001 Storage and NPonline 1999- (most recent 18 months not available) to CSU affiliates
  • Russian History. Histoire russe. DK1 .R74 1977-1992,1994- Journal Room & Bound Journals; 1974-1976 Microfilm
  • The Russian Review. RRonline 1941- to CSU affiliates.
  • The Slavonic and East European Review. D377.A1 S65 1943-1976,1978-1981,1985-1994,1996-2006 Journal Room (current) & Movable Shelves. SEERonline 1928- (most recent 5 years not available) to CSU affiliates.
  • Slavic Review. D377.A1 A5 1961-1996 Journal Room (current) & Storage. SRonline 1961- (most recent 3 years not available) to CSU affiliates. (Continues American Slavic and East European Review.)
  • Studies on the Soviet Union. DK 266 .A2S8 1961-1971 Storage

Find additional titles by doing a subject search in the library catalog for: Soviet Union periodicals


Listed below are some web sources that will be helpful in researching.

A Country Study: Soviet Union (Former). Library of Congress.  Chapter 2 covers 1917 to 1982.

Timeline: Soviet Union. BBC.  1917 to 1991 chronology.

Directory. REESWeb: The World Wide Web Virtual Library for Russian and Eastern European Studies. 

"REESWeb is the Virtual Library covering Russia and Eastern Europe. . . . All web sites listed in REESWeb are vetted by the editors, categorized for easy searching, and annotated to provide users with a good idea of what they will find upon visiting a site." Directory page has links to topics. Politics & Government and Social Sciences areas are of most interest to this topic. Extensive. Look up Soviet Union and much more.

Primary Sources

A few secondary sources may lurk, but these consist primarily of primary sources.

Revelations from the Russian Archives. Library of Congress. 

Soviet time period documents collected for an exhibit. Documents (letters, memorandums, etc.) are introduced, scanned (image shown), and translated into English.

Russian Archives Online. PBS.

  Links to various museums and archives. See for example, The Red Army and Soviet Propaganda.

Russian Revolution. Internet Modern History Sourcebook. Paul Halsall. Fordham University. 

Primary source material can be found here (text modifications, if any, are noted). The Russian Revolution page covers the Tsarist State, the Russian Revolution, Bolshevik Rule to 1924, and Stalinism.

Russian Revolution, Civil War and USSR 1917-1991. Euro Docs. 

Links to posters, orders, documents, manuscripts, and more. Some of these primary source documents are in Russian.

Seventeen Moments in Soviet History

"Seventeen Moments in Soviet History contains a rich archive of texts, images, maps and audio and video materials from the Soviet era (1917-1991). The materials are arranged by year and by subject, are fully searchable, and are translated into English." Links out to certain materials. The seventeen moments are from 1917, 1921, 1924, 1929, 1934, 1936, 1939, 1943, 1947, 1954, 1956, 1961,1968,1973,1980,1985, and 1991.

The Soviet Experience in Afghanistan: Russian Documents and Memoirs. Edited by Svetlana Savranskaya, October 9, 2001. Volume II: Afghanistan: Lessons from the Last War. The National Security Archive. 

Ten years of declassified documents from the former Soviet Union. Page gives an overview of the time period's reasons and has links to full text primary documents in PDF. For example: Colonel Tsagolov’s Letter to USSR Minister of Defense Dmitry Yazov on the Situation in Afghanistan, August 13, 1987 (Document 20).

Soviet History Archive. Marxists Internet Archive. 

Arranged by: Revolution; Government; Culture and Society; and The Great Patriotic War. See also from the same Marxist Internet Archive The Bolsheviks; Subjects of the Soviet Union (e.g. Women) and more by subject.

Soviet Union (XX Century) section of Russian History Index. The World Wide Web Virtual Library. 

This section of the page features a short list of links to sources on the Web. May include secondary sources.

Soviet Movies
For information on doing research on films, see Films/Movies. Soviet film research should follow the parameters of this page in general.

East European Cinema: A Bibliography of Materials in the UC Berkeley Library

Books and articles about Soviet Union/Russia films and directors. Extensive. Check local library for holdings. CSU affiliates should also check Prospector. If an item is not found there, CSU affiliates may request items from InterLibrary Loan. (Note, see also Films/Movies.)

Soviet Union. Films Behind the Iron Curtain. BZ Film. March 23, 2012. Commercial site.

Has online movies too.  Author (unnamed) self-identifies as someone born in the former Soviet Union. Gives an overview of Soviet Cinema. (Note, see also Films/Movies.)

Collapse of Soviet Union

The Causes and Consequences of the Collapse of the Soviet Union. Ka-Neng Au. Rutgers.

Prepared for the Center for Global Change and Governance. 2006.  Links to materials. Some links out of date.

History & Topics

Russia & the Former USSR. Tracey O. Teacher Oz. 2009.  Links to multiple sites--not all links work, but extensive.

Arranged by: General & Comprehensive Sites; Timeline of Russian History; Russian Symbols, Maps, Images; Russian Art & Music; Russian Literature; The Ballet; Palaces, Fortresses, & Churches; Russian Military & War; The Jews in Russia; Royalty & the Tsars; The Romanovs; The Revolution; Communism; The Stalin Terror; Soviet Propaganda Posters; Cold War; After the Revolution to 1991 & the Fall of the U.S.S.R.; Russia Today-the Russian Federation--Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS); Back in the USSR . . . Not; and Various Misc. Topics.

Russia and the Former Soviet Republics Maps. Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection. The University of Texas at Austin. 

Online maps, with date and size (K or MB) indicated. Some of the links go to new pages with links to maps from that area or region. For example, Ukraine Maps.

Russian Ethnology Museum in St. Petersburg. (English version.) 

When checked in early April 2018, site under reconstruction and English version has minimal visitor information. The Russian version has many pages. The museum documents ethnic/national diversity in both the Imperial, Soviet and post-Soviet period. Divided by: European Russia, Siberia and the Far East, Caucasus and Crimea, and Central Asia and Kazakhstan. Images of objects from the collection are described. Also arranged by themes: Traditional agriculture, Traditional crafts and trades, Traditional house and family way of life, Traditional costume, Feasts and rituals. Site was very slow on days visited a week apart. Russian version of site has additional material.

Under Soviet Control. [section of] The Virtual Jewish History Tour: Russia. Avi Hein. Jewish Virtual Library. 

Topics covered include: Under Soviet Control and1980 and Beyond.


Russian Orthodox Church. Encyclopedia Britannica. 

Provides an overview of events, including the Soviet era.

Sino-Soviet Relations

Sino-Soviet Relations. Country Studies, Section of Robert L. Worden, Andrea Matles Savada and Ronald E. Dolan, editors. China: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1987. 

Overview of the topic from a U.S. governmental perspective.

Military & War

Chronology 1939-1945. Second World War History. 

Scroll down to see.

Tank Museum. Russia. In Russian. Tank Museum in Kubinka. 

Many photographs with descriptions. Some topics only have one or two photos, and the photos are not always of tanks (might be a person, persons, or another type of vehicle featured). English version not apparent as of 6/14.

Warsaw Pact

The Warsaw Pact. Excerpted from Czechoslovakia: A Country Study, Glenn E. Curtis, ed. (Washington, D. C.: Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, 1992. Sam Houston State University. See also 1989 version of the entire book.  Extensive overview.

Online Books

The Open Library as of late-September 2012 has 71,311 hits for "Soviet Union"; some are available in full text online; most of them are not. (Check the library catalog and Prospector for local holdings of items not available online.) Listed here is just one of the titles. From the full record page for a book, on the right-hand side, click on View to read the book page by page; Details for bibliographic information and additional viewing options formats; and Download for PDF version.

Internet Archive.  Video, music, audio, and texts (over 3 million).

Articles (most available online; abstract or first page may be all that is available online for others)

See also Russia and Soviet Union History 18th C-present (Note: there is some overlap between the two pages).

As in all research, be sure to evaluate what you find, be it an article, book, or Web page.

Author Information

Content: Naomi Lederer


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