Russian archival sources for the study of the Iranian communist party: The Pre-Tudeh years, 1917-1942

Soli Shahvar, Emil Abramoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent decades, the field of history of Communism in Iran has been enriched by a number of studies that deal with different aspects of the subject. Still some core aspects, such as the role of the Comintern in the Iranian Communist movement, remain largely understudied. This could be partly explained by the inaccessibility of archival documents during the Soviet era. Yet, despite the opening of many former Soviet archives after 1991, access to certain archives still presents great difficulties. In the framework of a research conducted in Russian archives, an inventory has been located in the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History (Rossiiskii Gosudarstvennyi Arkhiv Sotsial'no-Politicheskoi Istorii / RGASPI) in Moscow. The inventory originates from the Comintern’s archive and consists of a large number of files and documents in various languages (primarily Russian, but also Persian and Azerbaijani) relevant to Communist activities in Iran. Given the importance of this inventory to the study of Communism in Iran, Iran-USSR relations and the extent of Soviet involvement in Iran in the late Qajar and early Pahlavi periods, we decided to translate and annotate it and to provide an introductory discussion of the highlights of Communist activity in Iran between the years 1917 and 1942.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378-402
Number of pages25
JournalBritish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 British Society for Middle Eastern Studies.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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