THE ROLE AND IMPORTANCE OF ARCHIVES IN THE TRANSFORMATION OF MODERN UKRAINIAN SOCIETY
The article is devoted to the analysis of the role that archives played in the process of state and national building in Ukraine at the end of 20th – at the beginning of the 21st centuries. The crucial moment in the modern history of our country – proclamation of the Ukrainian independence in 1991 – was closely connected with democratization of society and liberalization of memory policy as well as access to archives. New democratic organization of the Ukrainian nation guarantees the right to information. Thousands of archival files were declassified and became available not only for scientific research but also for wider use. There is an accent on the importance of free access and openness of archives of totalitarian regimes’ repressive institutions. In this respect particular attention is paid to the analysis of the Law of Ukraine “On Access to the Archives of Repressive Bodies of the Communist Totalitarian Regime of 1917–1991” (2015).
Archives are the essential sources of collective memory which represent a multifaced nature of the historical development of the state, nation, and society. Furthermore, they give an opportunity to preserve and reproduce the images of different epochs, trace people’s fates.
The transformation of society set new challenges for the Ukrainian archival community. The role of archivists evolved from the custodians of the records to mediators between their institutions and society. It has been pointed out that modern technology in archiving open up new possibilities for democratization in communication and free dissemination of information. Nowadays, the establishment of the databases for archival documents, preparation of on-line documentary exhibitions as well as support of public relations is among the main activities of archivists. Ukrainian archivists made significant contribution to the collection and preservation of documentary evidence of the Orange Revolution (2004–2005) and Revolution of Dignity (2014). It should be emphasized that social responsibility of archivists is growing, particularly in open democratic society, because they have to satisfy the right to know, to access to information as well as to protect state security and personal rights of citizens.
Finally, it is necessary to mention that archivist is an extremely important, noble and always relevant profession, designed to keep and update the documentary evidence of the past in the modern world for the sake of the future, for historical development continuity, genetic links of generations.
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