Prozhito.org (Lives Lived), a database of thousands of diary entries written in Russian throughout the 20th century, went online on Friday evening. So far its content is limited to officially published diaries of writers, scientists and other prominent members of Soviet society, but the database’s creators plan to digitise thousands of diaries of ordinary citizens too, offering an unique glimpse into the day-to-day life of the USSR. Through Prozhito.org users can access diary entries written by a specific person or by anyone on the eve of a historical event, such as Lenin’s death or Gagarin’s spaceflight.
“So far we've had to add all the entries to the database ourselves or rely on volunteers, who aren't always very reliable, so we hope to attract enough funding to achieve our goals,” said historian Mikhail Melnichenko, one of Prozhito’s creators. There are around 35,000 entries in the database at the moment, mostly written between 1920 and 1940, but Melnichenko says the aim is to publish at least a million entries within a year. He also hopes to add entries in languages other than Russian and widen the time frame.