I am still waiting for Russian archive offices to post their church records online. It will be a long wait, but the Online Library of Tsarskoye Selo could be the best place online to download Russian historical records for free.
This website has residential directories from the early 20th century, old maps, lists of property owners, publications of Cossack armies and so much more from many regions of Russia.
The only disadvantage of using Online Library of Tsarskoye Selo is that users are sent to other websites for downloads. Users are sometimes asked to visit a sponsor’s website, but a purchase is not required. Google Translate must be used to figure out how to download the files off the secondary websites if you do not know Russian well.
All the effort involved to download files from Online Library of Tsarskoye Selo will be well worth it. This is an incredible website that has so many documents in its database, which has new files uploaded throughout the year.