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Nicolas Miletitch Collection

Identifier: MSE/REE 0045

Scope and Contents

The first part of the collection includes a video archive of interviews conducted by Nicolas Miletitch with seventeen famous Soviet human rights activists and dissidents. The video archive is accompanied by full transcripts of interviews. The interviewees describe their “anti-Soviet” activities defending human rights under the totalitarian regime in the 1960s-1980s. Among topics discussed are working of the Solzhenitsyn Fund; activities of the Moscow Helsinki Watch group (1976-1980) which documented and reported to the Western media human rights violations in the Soviet Union; political and religious samizdat (self-publishing) production and distribution, including publishing of the Chronicle of Current Events (1968-1982), which was the leading unofficial Soviet political newsletter; persecution of religion.

The interviews were recorded between 2012-2016 during Miletitch’s work on the documentary film “To the Success of our Hopeless Cause”.

The smaller part of the collection includes ephemera documents, letters, and samizdat works published by Protestant groups in the Soviet Union.


  • Creation: 1970 - 2020


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research, however, interview with Sergei Kovalev (file 16, from time code 05:22 to time code 05:48), transcript p. 54. Interview with Aleksandr Ogorodnikov (file 0978567 from time code 03:11 to time code 04:24), transcript p. 67 are restricted.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is under copyright. Contact collection curator for assistance.

Biographical / Historical

French journalist and documentary filmmaker Nicolas Miletitch was born on May 8, 1953 in Paris. Miletitch received his PhD in French Literature from Sorbonne University and Serbo-Croatian degree from the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales in Paris.

Miletitch’s four decades long career in journalism began in 1977 when he joined Agence France-Presse (AFP). The following year he became the AFP’s Moscow correspondent reporting on social and political developments in the Soviet Union, and human rights. During his time in Moscow, Miletitch met and befriended many prominent Soviet dissidents and earned a reputation as their trusted Western ally.

In 1981 Miletitch was expelled from the Soviet Union for helping with the work of the Solzhenitsyn Fund. The Fund was officially set up by the Nobel prize winning author Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) in April 1974 in Switzerland as a charitable foundation under the name “Russian Social Fund for Persecuted Persons and Their Families.” The Fund relied on help of brave volunteers, both inside and outside of the Soviet Union, who, risking their freedom and well-being, assisted the Fund with collecting money, corresponding with prisoners and their families, delivering and sending packages with medicines, clothes, and food, accompanying families to camps, and compiling and distributing lists of prisoners.

Over the ensuing years and until his retirement in 2018, Miletitch held a number of positions at APF serving as a correspondent in Paris (1981-1988), Bureau chief in Belgrade for Yugoslavia and Albania (1988-1994), Bureau chief in Moscow for Russia and CEI (1998-2001; 2010-2018), and APF Global News editor (2006-2010).

Miletitch is the author of two documentary films about the Soviet human rights movement: Secret History: The Gulag Archipelago (2009) and To the Success of our Hopeless Cause (2018).


1.5 Cubic Feet (1 record storage box)

Language of Materials



Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired from Nicolas Miletitch.

Natasha Lyandres
November 15, 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556