State Archive of the Tomsk Region (ГАТО)

On 6 Apr 2017, I visited a local Russian archive for the first time in my life. With the help of a brilliant Russian friend-assistant, I was able to get an one-time entrance card, search the materials I needed and request them. Fortunately, unlike for the Tomichi, the locals living in the region, the materials I was looking for were prepared after 8 days. I heard that it would usually take longer, even for a month, for the Tomichi because international visitors/researchers do not have much time to stay here.

On 14 Apr 2017, I was taken aback by the Archive’s preparedness. Initially, I requested ten items and was guaranteed orally that I could take pictures of the materials. However, it seemed that the Archive decided to issue just 6 or 7 items for me because the materials I ordered were ‘personal.’ Still, I have an access on the rest of the items, mostly letters between the person and his wife. Alas, they brought us into the small room and told us that we could read the materials shown on the computer screen. I tried to take pictures with my iPad, but soon I ceased to do that. Resolution was low and protecting my eyes was important.

Meanwhile, upon reading of the materials between Comrade Shipulin (Шипулин М.Д., 1919-199?) and his wife, I came to conclude that discovering any North-Korea-related materials in this archive was next to impossible. The exchange of letters between the couple suddenly stopped in some point of August 1945. According to a daughter’s memories of her parents, the Shipulin couple had worked in the city of Hoeryong (Хайрен) until their return to the Soviet Union in early 1948. Given that Comrade Shipulin and his wife are the only Tomichi who served in nowadays North Korean territory so far, it is highly unlikely to find any more sources that would reveal historical connections between Tomsk and North Korea.

But it was great and valuable experience, which I could absolutely recommend to you!

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Working hours of GATO
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Many thanks to Kirill (Kyle) Avteni, my great Russian brother

Author: Donghyun Woo

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