Defence Academy of the United Kingdom Cranfield University
Russian Military Studies Archive

About Us

What is the Archive?

A large collection of Russian-related material in a range of formats and languages, established to support research in a wide range of military topics, both historical and current. It is managed by Cranfield University’s Barrington Library on behalf of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom.


What's in the Archive?

The majority of the material is in English or Russian, but there is also a considerable amount of material in other languages including Czech, Polish, German, Romanian and Albanian, as well as original language source material from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

The Archive houses over 16,000 individual books, some of which are rare, and in the case of much of the Russian-language material, especially works published pre-1980, very difficult or very expensive to obtain now.

The collection contains material such as BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, Foreign Broadcast Information Service Reports, RAND papers, Soviet Army Studies Papers and many journals including:

  • 30 years’ worth of the USSR’s/Russia’s main military medical journal Voenno-meditsinskiy zhurnal
  • 40 years of the Soviet/Russian Navy’s journal Morskoi Sbornik
  • Over 30 years of the Soviet/ Russian Ground Forces journal Voenniy Vestnik and the Soviet Air Force main monthly Aviatsiya I Kosmonavtika

Amongst the maps is a very rare collection of former Soviet General Staff maps of the USSR, produced on the eve of the invasion of the USSR in June 1941.  However, the bulk of the maps are Soviet/Russian/English maps of the various constituent republics of the USSR/CIS/Russian Federation, Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Near and Far East, etc.

Background and current status

The core collection was originally created by the Soviet Studies Research Centre (SSRC) based at RMA Sandhurst.  Following the seismic political changes in Soviet and Eastern Europe in the 1990s, SSRC became the Conflict Studies Research Centre (CSRC at Sandhurst, 1992-2005).  The Archive contains the research papers from both SSRC and CSRC.

The collection is now based at the Defence Academy in Shrivenham. Since being re-established by Barrington Library, we have expanded the collection through a substantial donation of items from the Defence Centre for Languages and Culture, also based at the Defence Academy.


Please note: the task of cataloguing the entire Archive is an ongoing project so not all of the collection is currently searchable via the catalogue.


Why would you use the Archive? Research topics the Archive can support

  • The pre-WW2 history of the Red Army, Air Force and Navy particularly the history of the USSR’s Armed Forces in the 1920s-1930s, still a rich area for genuine, ground-breaking historical research
  • World War 2 - Combat operations carried out by the USSR’s Armed Forces during 1941-1945, the diplomacy undertaken in the lead up to the outbreak of War in June 1941, the economic policies pursued by the Soviet government in their bid to achieve total victory, the social conditions endured by the civilian populace, as a whole
  • Post-WW2 development of the Soviet Armed Forces, particularly in relation to the period 1970s-early 1990s
  • Analysis of battlefield deployment and tactics of all branches of the Soviet Armed Forces throughout the length of their historical existence
  • Re-creation of the Russian Armed Forces from 1991 onwards
  • Soviet and Russian foreign policy, from the creation of the USSR through to the first decade of the 21st century.  The English-language material on Soviet/Russian foreign policy is also not inconsequential, especially in analysing USSR/Russia’s relationship with the USA, Western and Eastern Europe, China, the Middle East, and Africa
  • Domestic and international terrorism
  • Cold War history of countries such as East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Romania
  • Security apparatus – FSB and its predecessor, the KGB; Soviet and Russian military intelligence, and counter-espionage operations
  • Aspects of Soviet/Russian military technology – Ground Forces’ kit, nuclear submarines, missile-defence complexes, tanks, and artillery.

Using the Archive

Members of the public are welcome to use the Archive for research. Please search the catalogue before you visit to identify which items you would like to use.

Visits are by prior appointment only.

Book a visit

About the homepage image

The image we have used is a modification of an image of the Borodino monument. We selected it as it commemorates two significant Russian battles – from 1812 and 1941. It has been modified and used by kind permission of the photographer Dennis Jarvis.

More information and original image