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Agency: Ministerstvo iustitsii RF (Miniust Rossii)
[Ministry of Justice]
Under the Ministry of Justice, the Division for Questions of Registration of Vital Statistics (ZAGS) operates under the Department for Questions of Legal Assistance, according to the administrative reorganization of 1998. The Ministry, however, does not operate a central archive, and has only advisory or methodological authority over local ZAGS offices that are operated as agencies of local government. Previously, the Ministry had a separate Administration for Registration of Records of Vital Statistics, which was established in 1917 and early 1918 and developed its own centralized and standardized archival system throughout the USSR under the Ministry of Justice on all-union and republic levels. Prerevolutionary records of vital statistics previously kept by religious agencies were collected on regional principles by local ZAGS archives, and kept together with current on-going records. All ZAGS records are retained by the agency for 75 years before being deposited in designated local state archives.
A new law regulating the registration of vital statistics (ZAGS) --"Ob aktakh grazhdanskogo sostoianiia" was enacted on 20 November 1997, which provides details for different types of registration and extends the regulation for the retention of two copies of ZAGS records by local (raion) ZAGS offices for 75 years before the transfer of one of them to local state archives.
ZAGS offices are not open for research purposes, but citizens can submit reference inquiries through the appropriate local (raion) office to obtain certificates of birth, marriage, and death, as required for official legal purposes.