Curator Anatol Shmelev Interviewed For Two-Part TV Series In Ukraine

Thursday, October 15, 2015
Anatol Shmelev

Anatol Shmelev

On September 26-27 and October 3-4, the Kultura Channel in Ukraine aired an interview with Anatol Shmelev, Hoover fellow and curator of Russian and Eurasian collections at Hoover Library & Archives. Shmelev’s expertise is in twentieth-century Russian history, specializing in the Russian Civil War (1917-1922), and he is principally responsible for acquiring Russian archival materials for Hoover. In July of 2014, Shmelev began archiving various websites, blogs and social media to document the conflict in eastern Ukraine, a project that later made the international news when one of the blogs archived included a suspicious post tying the separatist forces in eastern Ukraine to the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

Interviewed in a two-part series during an acquisitions-related visit to Kiev, Shmelev discussed the Hoover Institution as a whole, and also his work of collecting, preserving, and making available materials related to the history of the Russian and Eurasian region. Discussing the Hoover Institution as a research center for significant scholarly output on the subjects of public and foreign policy, government, economics, and history, Shmelev identified institutions such as Hoover as places where influential figures can think strategically about the political future. Through such institutions, individuals with great government and political experience can continue to affect political life even after retiring from or leaving official public service roles. Citing former secretaries of state and current Hoover fellows George P. Shultz and Condoleezza Rice, Shmelev discussed how Hoover fellows influence current policy both domestically and internationally.

In the second part of his interview, Shmelev discussed how Hoover Library & Archives inform and support the extensive amount of research conducted at the institution. Providing a brief history of Herbert Hoover's post-World War I founding of the library, Shmelev explained to his audience that the uniqueness of Hoover Library & Archives lies in the fact that the repository collects materials specific to the topics of war, revolution, and peace around the globe. The Archives' Russian holdings, for example, are considered the best outside of Russia itself, and recent Ukrainian events have renewed the focus on collecting materials on developments in other states established as a result of the breakup of the USSR. Shmelev emphasized his own passion for curatorial work, which includes collecting materials, researching their significance, and facilitating scholarly research and publishing, exhibitions, and events. Shmelev concluded that archives and libraries play vital roles in modern societies, and that maintaining open access to the artifacts of history ensures objective views and critical thinking about the past and its legacy.