Russia declassifies WWII documents

By RIA Novosti

Moscow : Russia's defence ministry has declassified military documents from the 1941-1945 period, the director of the archives service said Thursday.

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The order on the declassification of the archived documents of the Red Army and Navy was signed on May 8, 2007. The order makes public all data that the ministry considers no longer sensitive.

"We have declassified archive documents from the Central Archives of the Defence Ministry, the Central Navy Archives, and the Military Medical Archives," Colonel Sergei Ilyenkov said, adding that the defence ministry's main archives alone contain over 4 million declassified files from the war period.

He said the decision would allow researchers and other users to gain access to the bulk of information on events during the bloodiest war in history, but some documents will remain secret.

"The files on court-martial decisions were not included in the order [for declassification]," Ilyenkov said. The official also said that according to the latest confirmed data Russia lost about 26.6 million military personnel and civilians in World War II.

The total estimated loss of life during World War II, irrespective of political alignment, was approximately 72 million people, including about 47 million civilians.