The EHESS Russian and Soviet image library was set up at the initiative of Marc Ferro, senior researcher at the EHESS and leader of the “Cinema and history” research group, and it the only one of its sort in France.

The image library has been attached to CERCEC since 2001.

Martine Godet, research engineer (IR) at the CNRS, managed its development from its foundation until September 2012. The image library is now headed by Marie-Hélène Mandrillon, research engineer (IE) at the CNRS.

The aim of the image library is to make available to researchers and students a collection of images (films, television programmes, documentaries, posters, photographs, etc.) essential to any research on Russia and the Soviet Union, bringing together in one place documents of various types, originally in various formats, that have not previously been centralised.

The special feature of this image library is the rarity of the documents conserved, not to be found in other French film libraries, particularly film material from the perestroika period (1986-1992) of exceptional value for historians.


The animated image collection comprises fiction films, documentaries and reports, unprocessed archives, montage sequences, television programmes.

Fiction films

This section comprises some 450 films covering the entire period of Russian production, Soviet and post-Soviet.

Specialist field: silent films shot in pre-Revolutionary Russia (1908-1918) and Russian émigré cinema in France (up to 1929); rare and censored films from the Brezhnev period (1964-early 1980s); perestroika films.

Documentaries and reports

This section comprises some 450 films.


The collection comprises private photographic archives, reproductions of paintings, posters and drawings. Altogether some 7,000 slides, of which 2,000 were digitised in 2002 and available on the CEMRSPS site in 2005. Digitisation continues by tranche.

Digitised collections include the bequest from the demographer Jacques Dupâquier to the Russian image library. It contains photographs taken during his research trips across the USSR from 1956 to 1974.

  • One tranche covers his 1956 trip to Moscow, Uzbekistan and Leningrad a few months after the CPSU’s 20th Congress. This rare series comes with an interview with Dupâquier about his mission. The collection is part of a virtual thematic exhibition on “Research trips to the USSR” arranged jointly by the Centre for the social history of the 20th century (Paris 1) and the EHESS Russian image library.
  • Another tranche contains photographs Dupâquier took during a trip in 1964 to Moscow, the Caucasus, Belarus and Ukraine.
  • The final tranche covers his 1975 trip from Vladivostok to the Urals, Western Russia and Moscow.