Does Russian legislation allow destroying the original paper records after digitizing or microfilming?
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Generally speaking, the answer to this question is “No”. Current Russian legislation does not provide for the possibility to satisfy the legal and regulatory retention requirements by preserving electronic or microfilm copies in lieu of original paper records.
It should be noted, however, that since 2009 the Russian legislation is being quickly and radically reformed. Nearly all the previously existing obstacles to electronic recordkeeping in government and in business sectors have been removed. It is quite possible that at some point in the future the lawmakers will consider the possibility to store the digital and/or microfilm copies instead of bulky paper originals.
So far the Russian legislation allows permanent retention of scanned copies and destruction of the originals after scanning for a single type of records – the census questionnaires. Government Decree of July 26, 2010 No. 554 “On approval of storage procedures of forms and other records of National Population Census of 2010″ prescribes permanent preservation of scanned copies of census records and authorizes the destruction of the paper originals after completion of their processing and expiry of one-year retention period after the publication of preliminary census results.
As in many other countries, the judges of the Russian courts have a discretionary power (but not obliged) to admit the copies into evidence instead of the originals (see, for example, (more…)