The data-sets in the Electronic Repository for Russian Historical Statistics have been compiled from published and unpublished sources with a regional breakdown, available in libraries and archival repositories in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Metadata for each figure in the database include descriptors for source, year, region, unit of measurement and subject matter.

The descriptors for subject matter consist of two sets: the fields labelled as HISTCLASS contain the descriptors of the data as in the source (but standardised and unified to eliminate variations in spelling, syntax and categorisation). The fields labelled as CLASS contain a standardised, modern set of descriptors, comparable across space and time, based on current and accepted taxonomies and statistical classifications.

Descriptors for region contain the historical name of the region and a region-code as specified in the list which can be downloaded below. All data-sets systematically include records for all regions in existence for the respective benchmark-years. In case data are not available for all these regions, the record for the region concerned contains a dot (".") in the value field, which indicates the absence of data. Zero values ("0"), on the other hand, indicate the numerical value 0.

Descriptors for year, source and unit of measurement are largely self-evident.

The database does not contain totals or subtotals - all data are provided at their lowest available level of aggregation. Where possible, all underlying categories for calculating totals and subtitles are listed, even when part of these data are not available. This allows users to supplement the data-sets through research of their own, filling in the missing categories to be able to calculate regional, national or thematic totals and subtotals.