The State Centralized Archive Service in Karelia was organized on the basis of the decree of the of RSFSR of June 1, 1918 On Reorganization and Centralization of Archive-Keeping in RSFSR.
By the beginning of Great Patriotic War in 1941-1945 archival documents of the Central State Archive, as well as of Councils of People's Commissars, enterprises and establishments of the republic were evacuated in rear areas. Despite of adverse conditions of storage during the evacuation, the overwhelming majority of materials of the archive were preserved successfully, they were returned to Petrozavodsk and included in active use for scientific, economic and other purposes.
On March 27, 1998 the executive order provided the Central State Archive of the RK with a status of the National Archive of the Republic of Karelia. Now it is the largest in the republic storehouse of documents on history of the region from the beginning of the XVIIIth century. The archive funds contain about one million paper folders, over 60 thousand documentary photographs, about one thousand filmed documents, more than 200 sound recordings, over 20 thousand books (including hand-written and black-letter books printed in the XVth century and later), filings of newspapers and magazines.
On September 3, 2007 process of reorganization of the National Archive of the Republic of Karelia State Institution in the form of take-over of the Karelian state archive of the newest history State Institution to it, according to the order of the Government of the RK of April 4, 2007 N146-P and order of the Ministry of Culture and Public Relations of the RK of May 7, 2007 N165 was completed.
Reading rooms of the archive annually serve about 600 researchers both from Russia, and from abroad. Documentary materials of the archive provide the basis for writing scientific articles, monographs, dissertations, degree works and essays on history, culture, and economy of Karelia.
Jointly with other scientific institutes, the archive prepares and publishes collections of articles, holds exhibitions of documents, excursions, prepares radio-and TVcasts, newspaper and magazine publications. The archive has joint projects with head institutes of higher education of the republic: Petrozavodsk State University, Karelian State Pedagogical University, Northwest Academy of Public Service.
The Archive satisfies needs of establishments, public organizations and citizens of Russia, as well as citizens and organizations of foreign countries. Anually there are issued about 7 thousand social and legal references, about 1,5 thousand subject and genealogic inquiries.
National Archive of the RK is engaged in international cooperation with archives of Finland, including exchange of copies of documents with archives of the cities of Mikkeli and Joensuu.
Activity of the Archive was repeatedly marked at the All-Union and All-Russia levels. For collecting the History of Karelia in Documents and Materials. Manual for Secondary School (Petrozavodsk, 1992) book employees of the National Archive became prize-winners of the All-Russia competition of scientific resrarch in the field of archival science, record management and archaeography in 1991-1994.