Over 85,000 photos document battles on the Soviet-German front between 1941-1945. During all four years of the war photographers captured everything happening on the Fronts between the White and the Black Seas and in the rear - the tragedy of retreat and the bitterness of their losses, the fury of attacks and the joys of victory. These photos captured for history the portraits of common soldiers and famous Marshals.
The Archive was formed by a legislative process, getting documents from various state institutions and publishing houses. That's why among its materials there are not many really artistic photographs. Most are historical documents showing all spheres of life in the Soviet Union and Russia: state and law, military forces, economy and policy, science and culture, public life and education, medical care and sports. In spite of its strong political (socialist) background these pictures are very important for understanding the country's history.
The political life of the country is widely represented in photo materials: portraits of the state and party leaders of the Soviet Union of different levels, photos of different political events (Communist Party Congresses, Soviets of different levels, political trials, etc.) Among them - V. Lenin, J. Stalin, V. Molotov, N. Khrushchev, L. Brezhnev, M. Gorbachev and others. Political and economical connections of the Soviet Union with the other countries of the world are represented by the photos of delegations and statesmen, their meetings and sendoffs, some episodes of their visits to the USSR (most of them are devoted to the connections of the USSR and countries-allies and countries of Soviet orientation); official protocol pictures of agreement signings; receptions and presentations of credentials by Ambassadors.
During the Soviet time much attention was paid to the propaganda of economic achievements. That's why the Archive possesses a large amount of photos showing the erection of new works in industry, transport and municipal economy. Usually these photos documented each phase of construction. The Archive also has many portraits of workers in the different branches of the Soviet national economy whose successes were widely propagandized all over the country.
The connoisseurs of Russian and Soviet culture would be interested in the photos of the world-famous, such as: M. Gorkiy, M. Sholokhov, S. Prokofiev, D. Shostakovitch, G. Ulanova, B. Pasternak, E. Neizvestnuy, M. Plisetskaya, G. Vishnevskaya, M. Rostrapovich, D. Oistrakh, etc., whose names are the pride of the country's and the world's culture.
Among Archive documents there are portraits of distinguished sportsmen, world and Olympic champions of different years, and moments of great athletic achievement.
The "Golden fund" of the Archive contains the works of such masters as: the "father of Russian photography" S. Levitskiy, A. Denier, N. Svishov-Paola, K. E. von Gun, M. Pariiskiy, K. Bulla, I. P. Dmitriev, J. Shteinberg, A. Saveliev, P. Novitskiy, M. Sherling, M. Nappelbaum, D. Debabov, M. Alpert, E. Haldey, B. Kudojarov, V. Grebnev, G. Zelma, V. Tarasevitch, A. Shaikhet, P. Otsup, O. Lander, E. Javno, V. Minkevitch.
The photo chronicle of our country is continually increasing. Among the recent additions - the events of August 19-21, 1991 in Moscow - the attempted coup d'etat.