Refusals to allow access to archival material more frequent
According to a study carried out by the Liberation Movement Research Centre, 86.2% of the specialists surveyed had themselves come up against cases where access to archival information was restricted.
Researchers stress that there should be access to the archives. 72.4% are convinced that all archives with documents up to 1991 should be open, but 27.6% are prepared to accept only limited restrictions in access.
The Centre was presenting the results of its survey during a press conference on 1 March. The researchers stressed that in Europe access to archives is one of the criteria for the development of democracy in a country.
They assert that Europe’s requirement of Ukraine that it ensures open access to archives of the former Soviet security service remains unfulfilled, while amendments to the profile law totally bypass the question of access to archival information.
According to Volodymyr Vyatrovych, head of the academic council of the Centre and former director of the SBU [Security Service] archives, there has been a significant deterioration in access to the archives over the past two years.
Iryna Kohut from the Centre gave details about impediments in access to the archives:
57.1% named the main obstacle as being restrictions in access to particular files;
46.4% complained that the archives do not comply with modern standards for work (timetable; comfort; reference tools; issue of documents);
32.1% complained at not being able to copy documents;
17.9% commented on the lack of awareness by members of the public of their right of access to archival information;
14.3% spoke of bureaucratic obstructions, while 10.7% stress the failings and ambiguity of legislation.