English Abstract and Recommendations for Non-Russian-Speaking Users

The project titled “Galina Pugachenkova: Open Archives” is one of the first achievements of the large-scale programme of the Alerte Héritage International Observatory, which aims to create virtual archives representing the cultural heritage of Central Asia in open internet access.

Svetlana Gorshenina, «Galina Pugachenkova's Archives in Open Access» // Bulletin of IICAS, 29/2020.

Objectives of the Project

The aim of this project is to preserve and publish online the archives of a renowned specialist in the ancient and medieval history of art, archaeology, and architecture of Central Asia, Galina Anatolievna Pugachenkova (1915–2007), who was one of the first female academicians of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, a holder of the French Palmes Académiques, a corresponding member of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) and the Italian Institute for the Near and Far East (IsMEO), and a doctor honoris causa of the University of Strasbourg.

Her name is associated with many significant discoveries, such as the Graeco-Parthian rhytons of Nisa and the architectural monuments of Turkmenistan or the Kushano-Hellenistic sculpture of Khalchayan and Dalverzin-Tepe in Uzbekistan. Pugachenkova’s work has been incorporated in dozens of books and hundreds of articles, which are considered to be “classics” in the field (see her bibliography).

In addition to published works, Pugachenkova’s scientific legacy also consists of her archives, which she carefully collected during her years of scientific activity.

This project is the first to have succeeded in systematically presenting and classifying as a complete set of documents the archives of a major Uzbek researcher on the Internet. The availability of this web resource will contribute to the emergence of new, improved historical research, not only in Central Asia but also abroad. It will also be of interest to members of the general public interested in the cultural heritage of the region.


Significance of Pugachenkova’s Archives

The documents kept in Mrs Pugachenkova’s archives concern architecture, archaeology, the history of medieval miniature art in the Middle East, the restoration of monuments, and the history of science in Central Asia, especially in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. These documents include scientific manuscripts and typewritten texts, field diaries, business and private correspondence, personal notes, and bibliographical extracts, photographs, drawings, sketches, plans, and watercolours. The archives also contain a large number of unpublished professional and personal documents.

In addition to complementing and clarifying the ancient and medieval history of Central Asia, they serve as valuable material for reconstructing the history of archaeological, historical, and architectural research of the Soviet period, during which Pugachenkova occupied one of the key positions in the scientific hierarchy of Uzbekistan. The archive also contains many original illustrations of better quality than most of the published works, enabling a better understanding of this visual content and its improved reproduction in new research.

The archive’s documents can be used both for the study of the history of Central Asia and for comparative studies of world cultures. In several fields, such as the history of architecture and the restoration of monuments, the Pugachenkova’s visual records are of primordial importance, given that many structures have been either destroyed or only poorly restored. Her numerous recommendations on the protection of monuments remain valid and important to this day.


Rescue of the Archives 

Due to circumstances, the archives were not transferred to state custody after the Pugachenkova’s death in 2007 but remained in the hands of her son, Rostislav O. Sosnovsky. However, storage conditions in her son’s house significantly deteriorated between 2009 and 2016 due to the construction of a large mansion in the area. As a result, the old building, whose walls have begun disintegrate, has become far from ideal as a reliable archive repository. Additionally, the integrity of the archive was jeopardized due to the aggressive antiques and bookseller markets in Uzbekistan, which had already decimated the historically rich and extensive library of Pugachenkova and her husband Mikhail E. Masson. For several years, researchers and journalists unsuccessfully tried to find a way to acquire the archives from the family and transfer them to scientific institutions in Uzbekistan.

In 2018 the Alerte Héritage International Observatory successfully acquired Pugachenkova’s entire personal archive (342 folders of scientific documents and 3 folders of personal correspondence). This accomplishment was possible owing to the support of the “Emergency Response” programme run by the Prince Claus Fund (Netherlands) and the Whiting Foundation (United States), as well as to the Swiss Embassy in Uzbekistan. In addition to the sponsors, on behalf of the Alerte Héritage International Observatory we would also like to thank our colleagues who took part in the implementation of this project: Enver Asanov, Nabi Utarbekov, Alexey Bartashevich, Natalya and Vladimir Mikulitsky, Olivier Chave, Claude Rapin, Frantz Grenet, Umid Abdullaev, Dzhangar Il'iasov, Tigran Mkrtychev, and Aziza Umarova.

Our work on the archives began in December 2018 and continues to the present day. During this time, the Alerte Héritage International Observatory has been classifying the archives, digitizing them (26,914 files), annotating them, and making them available online. Today, about half of the archives are available free of charge to the public. The process of annotating and uploading the documentation onto the database is underway and will be completed by the end of 2020.

The archives themselves, after their digitization, will be donated to the Central State Archives of Uzbekistan, where they will be inventoried in accordance with the current regulations, and in the future will form a single collection together with the personal archives of M. E. Masson.


Use of the Archives

The virtual archive consists of 342 folders, including 26,914 scanned files.

The database is interactive, classified, and detailed, allowing a wide range of search options and is informative and easy to use.

Searches can be made by various parameters or parameter combinations using the “prompting” drop-down menus. By clicking on the “Search” (“Поиск”) button in the top-right corner, it is possible to sort results by:

- folders
- author(s) name
- geographical location (countries, cities, archaeological sites)
- type of document (handwritten, typewritten, published texts, photographs, letters, plans, etc.)
- chronology (of both the monuments to be studied and the time when the research works were written)
- identified persons
- title of the documents
- keywords
- specific combinations or a set of all criteria.

Searches can also be run for any words that appear in the description of documents.

In addition, the resource is provided with several indexes (folders, geographical index, name index, keywords), which allow for a more detailed study of the entire archive, providing the user with access to previously unknown information. The folder index, which represents the entire structure of the archive, is particularly important in this respect. All these indexes are provided with active hyperlinks that lead to the relevant groups of documents.

If the user so wishes, documents can be viewed in JPG or PDF format. JPG files represent single units of information (pages or photos), while PDF files present integral views of documents, in most cases of several pages.

A zoom function is available.

The site has been designed to be intuitive and easy to use for all categories of users.


Access for Non-Russian-Speaking Users

Today the archive is presented exclusively in the Russian version: this choice is explained by the fact that the vast majority of Pugachenkova’s archive documents are in Russian. However, a non-Russian-speaking language user can still get an idea of the resource using Web Translator, Google Translate, or any other automatic translation system. This requires entering the link to the site in the left-hand translation window, selecting the required language, and then navigating to the address provided by the translator in the right-hand window.


Svetlana Gorshenina (author and project lead) and Boris Chukhovich (co-author),
the Alerte Héritage International Observatory.