Glossary

ACSSR

Autonomous Crimean Socialist Soviet Republic.

AES

Atomic-electric station.

AKhRR

(Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia) Artistic organization that promoted the “proletarianization” of the visual arts during the Cultural Revolution. Active in Moscow and Leningrad in 1922-32.

AMO

Automobile Manufacturing Company, established in 1916 in Moscow.

ARA

The private charitable relief effort organized to help Volga region during the great famine of 1921-23.
Headed by Herbert Hoover, it operated the American Volga Relief Society (AVRS), created by a merger of theVolga Relief Society (VRS), which solicited funds from Volga German communities in America for the relief of relatives in Russia, and the Central States Volga Relief Society (CSVRS), which arose at the same time in Nebraska.

ARCEC

All-Russian Central Executive Committee.

ASSR

A territorial and administrative subdivision of some union republics, created to grant a degree of administrative autonomy to some major minority groups. Directly subordinate to its union republic. In 1989 the Soviet Union had twenty autonomous republics, sixteen of which were in the Russian Republic.

ATSSR

Autonomous Turkestan Socialist Soviet Republic.

AUCCTU

All-Union Central Council of the Trade Unions.

AVIAKhIM

Society of Friends of the Airforce and Chemicas Industry, a semi-official organization popular in 1920s and ’30s.

Academy of Agricultural Sciences

Home academy of Trofim Lysenko, the biologist who dominated scientific life after the war and whose hostility to Mendelian genetics destroyed the Soviet biological sciences.

Academy of Sciences

The Soviet Union’s most prestigious scholarly institute, which conducted basic research in the physical, natural, mathematical, and social sciences. Established in 1725 by Peter the Great, it carried out long-range research and developed new technology. Union republics also had academies of sciences. The Academy of Sciences was under the direction of the Council of Ministers. (Alternative term: Akademiia nauk.)

Agentstvo pechati novosti; NPA

News Press Agency. The news agency responsible for disseminating Soviet information abroad in the post-Khrushchev era. (The word novost’ means news or something new.)

Akademiia nauk

The Soviet Union’s most prestigious scholarly institute, which conducted basic research in the physical, natural, mathematical, and social sciences. Established in 1725 by Peter the Great, it carried out long-range research and developed new technology. Union republics also had academies of sciences. The Academy of Sciences was under the direction of the Council of Ministers. (English: Academy of Sciences.)

All-Russian Central Council of Trade Unions; All-Russian Council of Trade Unions

Russian acronym: VTsSPS.

All-Union Central Council of the Trade Unions

English acronym: AUCCTU.

American Relief Administration

The private charitable relief effort organized to help Volga region during the great famine of 1921-23.
Headed by Herbert Hoover, it operated the American Volga Relief Society (AVRS), created by a merger of theVolga Relief Society (VRS), which solicited funds from Volga German communities in America for the relief of relatives in Russia, and the Central States Volga Relief Society (CSVRS), which arose at the same time in Nebraska.

Arbat

One of the principal commercial streets in central Moscow; before reconstruction in the 1970s, one of Moscow’s oldest and most charming neighborhoods.

Artek

A Pioneer summer health camp on the Black Sea coast of Crimea.

Aurora

Russian naval vessel seized in course of October Revolution; used to fire on Winter Palace.

Autocephalous Church

Independent or self-governing; an Orthodox church that was headed by its own patriarch.

Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic

A territorial and administrative subdivision of some union republics, created to grant a degree of administrative autonomy to some major minority groups. Directly subordinate to its union republic. In 1989 the Soviet Union had twenty autonomous republics, sixteen of which were in the Russian Republic.

Autonomous oblast

A territorial and administrative subdivision of a union republic or of a krai in the Russian Republic, created to grant a degree of autonomy to a national minority within that krai or union republic. In 1989 the Soviet Union had eight autonomous oblasts, five of which were in the Russian Republic.

Autonomous okrug

A territorial and administrative subdivision of a krai or oblast in the Russian Republic that granted a degree of administrative autonomy to a nationality; usually found in large, remote areas of sparse population. In 1989 the Soviet Union had ten autonomous okruga, all of which were in the Russian Republic.

acceleration

Under Gorbachev, an on-going effort to speed up the rate of growth and modernization of the economy.

agitprop

Agitation and Propaganda Department, established by the Central Committee of the party in 1920. Absorbed by the Ideological Department in 1988. The term agitprop means the use of mass media to mobilize the public to accomplish the regime’s demands.

aktiv

Local Communist Party activists, recognizable by their constant involvement in official community affairs.

all-union

National, with purview throughout the entire territory of the Soviet Union.

all-union ministries

Ministries of the Soviet central government that did not have counterpart ministries at the republic level. Other ministries were termed union-republic ministries.

anarcho-syndicalism

Radical ideological current and movement preaching all power to producers.

apparat

Soviet or party office with administrative responsibilities; often used perjoratively to refer to the Soviet bureaucracy.

apparatchik

Russian colloquial expression for a person of the party apparatus, i.e., an individual who has been engaged full time in the work of the CPSU. Often used in a derogatory sense.

arioso

In classical music, arioso is a style of solo opera singing between recitative and aria.

ariq

Irrigational ditches that ran alongside roads in Central Asia.

arshin

unit of length equal to two feet, four inches.

artel

Russian artisans’ or farm co-operative.

ataman

Cossack chief; the word was also used for the heads of criminal gangs during the first decade following the October Revolution.

aul

A fortified village often found in the Caucasus region.

autonomous republic

A territorial and administrative subdivision of some union republics, created to grant a degree of administrative autonomy to some major minority groups. Directly subordinate to its union republic. In 1989 the Soviet Union had twenty autonomous republics, sixteen of which were in the Russian Republic.

BAM

A second trans-Siberian railroad, running 100 to 500 kilometers north of the original Trans-Siberian Railway and extending 3,145 kilometers from the western terminus at Ust’-Kut to the eastern terminus at Komsomol’sk-na- Amure. Opened in 1989, the BAM was designed and built to relieve traffic on the Trans-Siberian Railway, lessen rail traffic’s vulnerability to Chinese military incursion, and facilitate transport of natural resources from huge, unexploited deposits in eastern Siberia. (English: Baikal-Amur Main Line; alternative term: Baikalo-Amurskaia Magistral’.)

BSSR

Belorussian Socialist Soviet Republic; or Bukharan Socialist Soviet Republic.

Baikal-Amur Main Line

A second trans-Siberian railroad, running 100 to 500 kilometers north of the original Trans-Siberian Railway and extending 3,145 kilometers from the western terminus at Ust’-Kut to the eastern terminus at Komsomol’sk-na- Amure. Opened in 1989, the BAM was designed and built to relieve traffic on the Trans-Siberian Railway, lessen rail traffic’s vulnerability to Chinese military incursion, and facilitate transport of natural resources from huge, unexploited deposits in eastern Siberia.

Baikalo-Amurskaia Magistral’

A second trans-Siberian railroad, running 100 to 500 kilometers north of the original Trans-Siberian Railway and extending 3,145 kilometers from the western terminus at Ust’-Kut to the eastern terminus at Komsomol’sk-na- Amure. Opened in 1989, the BAM was designed and built to relieve traffic on the Trans-Siberian Railway, lessen rail traffic’s vulnerability to Chinese military incursion, and facilitate transport of natural resources from huge, unexploited deposits in eastern Siberia.

Baikonur

Rocket launching site in Kazakhstan.

Basmachi

Central Asian “bandits” who opposed Soviet power, especially active in early 1920s.

Basmachi Rebellion

A sporadic and protracted revolt by Central Asian Muslims against Soviet rule beginning in 1918 and continuing in some parts of Central Asia until 1931.

Bezbozhnik

Godless, the title of a journal issued by the Society of the Militant Godless in the 1920s and ’30s.

Black Hundreds

The Union, called the Black Hundreds by their opponents, were right-wing, proto-fascist extremist organization that took as its mission the maintenance of the truest traditions of the Russian people. Made the first extensive use of the ‘pogrom’ as a form of organized anti-Semitic terror. (Russian: chernosotensty; alternative term: Union of the Russian People.)

Black Marias

Cars used by the NKVD to transport people who had been arrested during and after the Great Terror.

Bloknot agitatora

(Agitator’s Notebook) Pocket-sized booklet issued weekly to suggest timely slogans and brief arguments to be used in speeches and conversations among the masses. Published by the Propaganda Departments of regional and city party committees of the Communist Party, and from 1942 by Soviet Communist Party twice monthly. The publication gained readers in the late 1950s due to its section on City History Facts. In 1987 the Bloknot Agitatora was renamed Dialog and its format enlarged. The publication was shut down in 1991.

Bol’shevik

Faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party that seized power during the October Revolution. Also a journal, later renamed Kommunist.

Bolsheviki; RKP(B); Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks)

A member of the radical group within the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, which, under Vladimir I. Lenin’s leadership, staged the Bolshevik Revolution. The term bol’shevik means a member of the majority (bol’shenstvo) and was applied to the radical members of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party after they won a majority of votes cast at a party congress in 1903. In March 1918, the Bolsheviks formed the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) and began calling themselves Communists. That party was the precursor of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU).

Bolsheviks

A member of the radical group within the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, which, under Vladimir I. Lenin’s leadership, staged the Bolshevik Revolution. The term bol’shevik means a member of the majority (bol’shenstvo) and was applied to the radical members of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party after they won a majority of votes cast at a party congress in 1903. In March 1918, the Bolsheviks formed the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) and began calling themselves Communists. That party was the precursor of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU).

Brezhnev Doctrine

The Soviet Union’s declared right to intervene militarily to prevent other states from eliminating the leading role of the communist party and returning to capitalism once they have achieved socialism. First expressed after Czechoslovakia’s Prague Spring in 1968 and used as justification for the Soviet Union’s invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968. In the late 1980s, Mikhail S. Gorbachev made statements interpreted by some in the West as repudiating the Brezhnev Doctrine.

Bukhara

One of the centers of Central Asian Muslim culture, located in Uzbekistan.

Butyrki

Prison in Moscow.

baba

Derogatory term for elderly woman, usually peasant.

bagmen

Illegal traders during Russian civil war.

bai

Wealthy Central Asian landlord.

balance of payments

The international transactions of a country, including commodity and service transactions, capital transactions, and gold movements.

balance of trade

The relationship between a country’s exports and imports.

banya

Traditional Russian steam bath.

bast shoe

Soft shoes made of the bark of a tree, and worn by the poorer peasants.

batiushka

Sire: traditional Russian title of respect, whether of peasants for their master, or all Russians for their tsar.

bedniak

Poor peasant, owning some land but usually not enough to support a family.

bednota

The poorest sector of the rural community, used as a wedge against wealthier peasants (kulaks) during collectivization. Also a Soviet newspaper in 1920s devoted to interests of poor peasants.

besprizornye

Orphaned or abandoned children who were particularly numerous during the 1920s.

blat

Profitable connections, influence, pull, or illegal dealings, usually for personal gain.

blatnoi

Goods and services obtained via unofficial system of exchange; also refers to the culture and society of the criminal underworld.

bogatyr

Knight; hero of traditional Russian tales.

borshch

beet soup, a specialty of Russian and Ukrainian cuisine

byt

daily life

CARC

State council (1944-1965) that kept a watch on and sometimes supervised church affairs after the reestablishment of the Patriarchate in 1943. (English: Council for the Affairs of Religious Cults.)

CEC

All-Russian, later All-Union executive arm of the Soviet government, the effective ruling body of the Soviet governmental system. (English: Central Executive Committee; Russian acronym: TsIK; alternative terms: VTsIK; Tsentral’nyi ispolnitel’nyi komitet.)

CEMA; CMEA

(Council for Mutual Economic Assistance). A multilateral economic alliance headquartered in Moscow; it existed from 1949-91. Members in 1989 were Bulgaria, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Hungary, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union, and Vietnam. Comecon was created in January 1949, ostensibly to promote economic development of member states through cooperation and specialization, but actually to enforce Soviet economic domination of Eastern Europe and to provide a counterweight to the Marshall Plan.

CER

Chinese-Eastern Railway. Built by Russia in 1897-1903; claimed by Japan after its occupation of Manchuria in 1931; sold to Japan in 1935.

CIS

Commonwealth of Independent States. (SNG: Sodruzhestvo nezavisimykh gosudarstv). Official designation of the former republics that remained loosely federated in economic and security matters of common concern, after the Soviet Union disbanded as a unified nation in 1991. Members in 1993 were Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

CP; VKPb; VKPU; VKP; VSKP(b)

Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The official name of the communist party in the Soviet Union since 1952. Originally the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, the party was named the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) from March 1918 to December 1925, the All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik) from December 1925 to October 1952, and the CPSU thereafter.

CPC

Communist Party of China.

CPSU

The official name of the communist party in the Soviet Union since 1952. Originally the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, the party was named the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) from March 1918 to December 1925, the All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik) from December 1925 to October 1952, and the CPSU thereafter.

CSCE

Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Originating at the meeting that produced the Helsinki Accords in 1975, a grouping of all European nations (the lone exception, Albania, joined in 1991) that subsequently sponsored joint sessions and consultations on political issues vital to European security.

CSSR

Czechoslovak Soviet Socialist Republic.

Cadets

Constitutional Democratic Party (1906-17); moderate liberals.

Carpatho-Ukraine

An area historically belonging to Hungary but, attached to Czechoslovakia from 1918 to October 1938. In October 1938, Carpatho-Ukraine became autonomous, and in March 1939, it became independent as Subcarpathian Ruthenia. But Hungary occupied it nine days later and after World War II, ceded the area to the Soviet Union. Populated mostly by Ukrainians, who, prior to World War II, were sometimes referred to as Ruthenians. (Alternative term: Subcarpathian Ruthenia.)

Central Black-Earth Region

Literally, black earth. The zone of rich, black soil that extends across the southwestern Soviet Union. (Russian: chernozem.)

Central Bureau of Statistics

Central Statistics Department of the government. (Russian acronym: TsSU; alternative term: Tsentral’noe statisticheskoe upravlenie.)

Central Committee of the Communist Party

Central ruling body of the Soviet Communist Party. Membership in the Central Committee was a mark of the highest Soviet elite. The business of the Central Committee was directed by the Politburo in the periods between its congresses.  (Russian acronym: TsK; alternative term: Tsentral’nyi komitet.)

Central Control Commission

Highest body of the Communist Party (1920-34) for supervision of party members; it served as the instrument of the initial party purges in the early 1930s.

Central Executive Committee

All-Russian, later All-Union executive arm of the Soviet government, the effective ruling body of the Soviet governmental system.

Central Powers

Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey (Ottoman Empire) in World War I.

Cheka

The political police created by the Bolsheviks in 1917; supposed to be dissolved when the new regime, under Lenin, had defeated its enemies and secured its power. But the Vecheka, also known as the Cheka, continued until 1922, becoming the leading instrument of terror and oppression as well as the predecessor of other secret police organizations. Members of successor security organizations continued to be referred to as “Chekisty” in the late 1980s.

Cheliuskin Arctic expedition

Soviet ship under command of Otto Schmidt which attempted to navigate sea from Murmansk to Vladivostok in 1933 but became stuck in ice and was rescued.

Chernobyl’

A town in the Ukrainian Republic, site of the world’s most catastropic nuclear accident. On April 26, 1986, a reactor at the Chernobyl’ nuclear power plant exploded and irradiated areas as far away as Sweden. Most radioactivity contaminated large sections of rich farmland in the Ukrainian, Russian, and Belorussian republics and affected millions of their inhabitants. Soviet and Western experts believe that damage to the people’s health, to the economy, and to the environment will be felt for decades. As of 1989, the accident had cost hundreds of lives and billions of rubles, caused a major slowdown in what had been an ambitious nuclear energy program, and provided an impetus to the fledgling environmental movement in the Soviet Union. Although the accident was caused by a combination of human error and faulty reactor design, the remaining three reactors at the Chernobyl’ power plant and reactors of this type remained operational elsewhere in the Soviet Union in 1989.

Chinese-Eastern Railway

Built by Russia in 1897-1903; claimed by Japan after its occupation of Manchuria in 1931; sold to Japan in 1935.

Comecon

(Council for Mutual Economic Assistance). A multilateral economic alliance headquartered in Moscow; it existed from 1949-91. Members in 1989 were Bulgaria, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Hungary, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union, and Vietnam. Comecon was created in January 1949, ostensibly to promote economic development of member states through cooperation and specialization, but actually to enforce Soviet economic domination of Eastern Europe and to provide a counterweight to the Marshall Plan.

Cominform

Communist Information Bureau. An international organization of communist parties, founded and controlled by the Soviet Union in 1947 and dissolved in 1956. The Cominform published propaganda touting international communist solidarity but was primarily a tool of Soviet foreign policy.

Comintern

An international organization of communist parties founded by Lenin in 1919. Initially, it attempted to control the international socialist movement and to foment world revolution; later, it also became an instrument of Soviet foreign policy. Dissolved by Stalin in 1943 as a conciliatory measure toward his Western allies.

Commonwealth of Independent States

(SNG: Sodruzhestvo nezavisimykh gosudarstv). Official designation of the former republics that remained loosely federated in economic and security matters of common concern, after the Soviet Union disbanded as a unified nation in 1991. Members in 1993 were Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

Communist Party of Germany

Communist Party of Germany in the years following the First World War.

Communist Party of the Soviet Union

The official name of the communist party in the Soviet Union since 1952. Originally the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, the party was named the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) from March 1918 to December 1925, the All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik) from December 1925 to October 1952, and the CPSU thereafter.

Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Originating at the meeting that produced the Helsinki Accords in 1975, a grouping of all European nations (the lone exception, Albania, joined in 1991) that subsequently sponsored joint sessions and consultations on political issues vital to European security.

Congress of People’s Deputies

The highest organ of legislative and executive authority, according to the Soviet Constitution. Existed in the early Soviet period as the Congress of Soviets and was resurrected in 1988 by constitutional amendment.

Congress of Soviets

First met in June 1917 and elected the All-Russian Central Committee of over 250 members dominated by the leaders of the Petrograd Soviet. The Second Congress of Soviets met on October 25, 1917, one day offer the start of the Bolshevik Revolution. Dominated by Bolshevik delegates the Second Congress of Soviets approved the Bolshevik coup d’¦tat and the decrees on peace and loud issued by Lenin. It also confirmed the Council of People’s Commissars, drawn exclusively from Bolshevik Ranks, as the new government and elected the All-Russian Central Executive Committee. It adjourned on October 27 and was not reconvened.

Constituent Assembly

Elected in November 1917 on the basis of universal franchise; assembled for one session in January 1918 before being dissolved by Soviet Red Army.

Control Commission

Highest body of the Communist Party (1920-34) for supervision of party members; it served as the instrument of the initial party purges in the early 1930s.

Cossack

Originally peasants, primarily Ukrainian and Russian, who fled from bondage to the lower Dnepr and Don river regions to settle in the frontier areas separating fifteenth-century Muscovy, Poland, and the lands occupied by Tatars. The cossacks, engaged in hunting, fishing, and cattle raising, established permanent settlements and later organized themselves into military formations to resist Tatar raids. Renowned as horsemen, they were absorbed into the Russian army as light cavalry or irregular troops by the late eighteenth century.

Council for the Affairs of Religious Cults

State council (1944-1965) that kept a watch on and sometimes supervised church affairs after the reestablishment of the Patriarchate in 1943.

Council of Defense

The chief decision-making organ of the Soviet national security apparatus, composed of selected members of the Politburo and headed by the general secretary of the CPSU and the chairman of the Presidium of the CPSU Central Committee.

Council of Labor and Defense

See entry for Soviet of Labor and Defense.

Council of Ministers

The highest executive and administrative body of the Soviet Union, according to the Constitution. In practice, its members directed most day-to-day state activities.

Council of People’s Commissars; Council of People’s Commissaries

The first central institution of the Soviet state, formed immediately after the October Revolution to coordinate the work of the various commissariats. The Sovnarkom had an overlapping and sometimes conflicting mandate with other important Soviet institutions such as the Party, the military, and various economic councils. Renamed the Council of Ministers in 1946.

Cultural Revolution

Policy of Communist Party (1928-31) to proletarianize the arts by removing bourgeois personnel and influences and promoting those of proletarian background.

Cyrillic

An alphabet based on Greek characters that was created in the ninth century to serve as a medium for translating Eastern Orthodox texts into Old Church Slavonic. Named for Cyril, the leader of the first religious mission from Byzantium to the Slavic people, Cyrillic is used in modern Russian and several other Slavic languages.

cadre

Organized group of party activists. A party member who holds a responsible position (usually administrative) in either the party or the government apparatus. In a more restricted sense, a person who has been fully indoctrinated in party ideology and methods and uses this training in his or her work.

centner

One centner =100 kilograms.

chai-khan

Tea house in Central Asia where males congregated for conversation and recreation.

chastushka

Rhymed ditty characteristic of pre-revolutionary popular culture; its salty language could be easily adapted to satiric purposes.

chernosotensty

The Union, called the Black Hundreds by their opponents, were right-wing, proto-fascist extremist organization that took as its mission the maintenance of the truest traditions of the Russian people. Made the first extensive use of the ‘pogrom’ as a form of organized anti-Semitic terror.

chernozem

Literally, black earth. The zone of rich, black soil that extends across the southwestern Soviet Union.

chervonets

Soviet gold-backed ruble introduced in July 1922.

collective farm

(Kollektivnoe khoziaistvo). An agricultural “cooperative” where peasants, under the direction of party-approved plans and leaders, are paid wages based, in part, on the success of their harvest.

collectivization

Stalin’s policy of confiscating privately owned agricultural lands and facilities and consolidating them, the farmers, and their families into large collective farms and state farms. Forced collectivization took place from 1929 to 1937.

combine

An economic entity of an industrial or service nature that consists of several specialized, technologically related enterprises.

commanding heights

The main or crucial levers of the economy (large-scale industry, banking, foreign commerce) controlled by the state during the New Economic Policy.

cosmodrome

Soviet space center.

cult of personality

A term coined by Nikita S. Khrushchev at the Twentieth Party Congress of the CPSU in 1956 to describe the rule of Stalin, in which the Soviet people were compelled to deify the dictator. Leonid I. Brezhnev also established a cult of personality around himself, although to a lesser extent than Stalin. Similar cults of saints, heroes, and the just tsar formed a historical basis for the cult of personality.

DDR

German Democratic Republic. East Germany of the divided Cold-War Germanies (see FRG).

DOSAAF

Dobrovol’noe obshchestvo sodeistviia armii, aviatsii i flotu (Voluntary Society for Assistance to the Army, Air Force, and Navy). Responsible for premilitary training of Soviet youth.

DRA

Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. The socialist government defended by the Soviet invasion of 1979.

Dashnak

Armenian nationalist movement (1880s – 1920s).

Defense Council

The chief decision-making organ of the Soviet national security apparatus, composed of selected members of the Politburo and headed by the general secretary of the CPSU and the chairman of the Presidium of the CPSU Central Committee.

Defensist

A moderate socialist (or any other leftist) who during the First World War supported the Russian war effort as a defense against aggressive German designs.

Deutsche Demokratische Republik

German Democratic Republic. East Germany of the divided Cold-War Germanies (see FRG).

Dinamo

Sports organization sponsored by Soviet police; name of soccer and hockey teams based in Moscow and other large cities.

Dneproges; Dneprostroi

Dam and hydroelectric station on the Dnepr river near Zaporozh’e built in 1927-32; one of the great construction projects of the Soviet industrial revolution.

Donbass

Donets Basin. A major coal-mining and industrial area located in the southeastern Ukrainian Republic and the adjacent Russian Republic.

Duma

Lower chamber of the Russian Parliament, established by Nicholas II after the Revolution of 1905. Absent during Soviet times, the name was revived for the post-communist Russian legislature.

dekkan

Ordinary peasant in Central Asia.

dekulakization

Euphemism for the forced displacement, exile and often execution of better-off peasants during the years of collectivization that followed 1929.

democratic centralism

A Leninist doctrine requiring discussion of issues until a decision is reached by the party. After a decision is made, discussion concerns only planning and execution. This method of decision making directed lower bodies unconditionally to implement the decisions of higher bodies.

democratization

Campaign initiated by Gorbachev to enable different interest groups to participate in political processes to a greater extent than previously allowed.

demokratizatsiia

Campaign initiated by Gorbachev to enable different interest groups to participate in political processes to a greater extent than previously allowed.

desiatin

Measure of land, 2.7 acres or 1.1 hectares.

detdom

Home for orphaned or abandoned children.

dialectical materialism

A Marxist tenet describing the process by which the class struggle between bourgeois capitalist society and the exploited workers produces the dictatorship of the proletariat and evolves into socialism and, finally, communism.

dictatorship of the proletariat

According to Marxism-Leninism, the early stage of societal organization under socialism after the overthrow of capitalism. It involves workers’ dominance in suppressing the counterrevolutionary resistance of the bourgeois “exploiting classes.”

druzhinniki

Para-police force established under Khrushchev to maintain social order in cities.

dual power

Referring to the uneasy division of real governmental power by Provisional Government and the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies in the months leading up to the October Revolution.

dvoevlastie

Referring to the uneasy division of real governmental power by Provisional Government and the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies in the months leading up to the October Revolution.

EBRD

A bank founded under sponsorship of the European Community in 1990, to provide loans to East European countries (Bulgaria, the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia) to establish independent, market-driven economies and democratic political institutions. Some fifty-eight countries were shareholders in 1992.

EC

A group of primarily economic communities of Western European countries, including the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom or EAEC) and the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). Executive power rested with the European Commission, which implemented and defended the community treaties in the interests of the EC as a whole. Members in 1993 were Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. Name changed to European Union (EU), December 1993.

ECCI

Executive Committee of the Communist International.

EKO

(Economics and Organization of Industrial Production) Bi-monthly publication put out by the Institute of Economics and Organization of Industrial Production of the Soviet Academy of Sciences from 1965. Aimed at economists, planners, policy makers, plant managers and others involved in the administration and operation of the Soviet economy.

Eastern-Rite Catholics; Ukrainian Greek Catholic; Ukrainian Uniate Church

A branch of the Catholic Church that preserved the Eastern Rite and discipline but submitted to papal authority. Established in 1596 at the Union of Brest. In the Soviet Union, the Uriate Church is found primarily in the western Ukrainian Republic, where it has been referred to as the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Also known as the Greek Catholic Church or the Byzantine Rite Church.

Eighth Congress

Congress of the Bolshevik Party held in March 1919. Its most important resolution decreed the separation of Party and Soviet organizations.

Ekonomika i organizatsiia promyshlennogo proizvodstva

(Economics and Organization of Industrial Production) Bi-monthly publication put out by the Institute of Economics and Organization of Industrial Production of the Soviet Academy of Sciences from 1965. Aimed at economists, planners, policy makers, plant managers and others involved in the administration and operation of the Soviet economy.

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

A bank founded under sponsorship of the European Community in 1990, to provide loans to East European countries (Bulgaria, the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia) to establish independent, market-driven economies and democratic political institutions. Some fifty-eight countries were shareholders in 1992.

European Community

A group of primarily economic communities of Western European countries, including the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom or EAEC) and the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). Executive power rested with the European Commission, which implemented and defended the community treaties in the interests of the EC as a whole. Members in 1993 were Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. Name changed to European Union (EU), December 1993.

Exarch

Non-resident church leader, or ruler from outside.

Ezhovshchina

The Great Terror prosecuted under N. I. Ezhov, People’s Commissar of Internal Affairs (1936-38).

edinolichnik

Independent farmers; i.e., those peasants who did not join collective farms, most of whom were destroyed or forced into collective farms by the late-1930s.

emploi

A defined range of characters defined for a given actor, which define their acting roles or, for singers, their voice and character range.

enemy of the people

Characterization of victims of the Great Terror (1936-38).

estrada

Genre of popular musical performance, from “estrada” (stage).

executive committee

Executive committee of soviets and the party from the local to the All-Union level.

FRG

Known as West Germany before the reunification of the two Germanys (see DDR).

Federal Republic of Germany

Known as West Germany before the reunification of the two Germanys (see DDR).

Fellow Travellers

Term coined by Trotsky in his 1923 LITERATURE AND REVOLUTION for the talented writers who pursued their own creative paths, but were not hostile to the Bolsheviks. Many of the fellow travellers were in fact sympathetic to Bolshevik policies in the mid-1920s, though some would later suffer under the Stalinist literary establishment.

Finland Station

Railroad station in Petrograd where Lenin arrived in April 1917.

First Clause of the Party Statute

The wording of this clause, which defined Party membership, was one of the sharpest points of difference between Lenin and Martov in the Split of the Russian Social Democratic party into the Bolshevik and Menshevik factions.

First Secretary

The title of the head of the CPSU Secretariat that was adopted after Stalin’s death in 1953; used by Khrushchev, and by Brezhnev until 1966 before the title was changed back to General Secretary.

Five-Year Plan

A comprehensive plan that sets the economic goals for a five- year period. Once the Soviet regime stipulated the plan figures, all levels of the economy, from individual enterprises to the national level, were obligated to meet those goals.

Five-hundreder

A worker producing at least 500 percent of quota. See the entry for Stakhanovite.

Fontanka

Graceful canal in the center of Petersburg, associated with painters and poets from Pushkin to Akhmatova.

Formerly TsGAOR (Tsentral’nyi gosudarstvennyi arkhiv oktiabr’skoi revoliutsii)

Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Rossiiskoi Federatsii (State Archive of the Russian Federation).Archival holdings include government institutions of the Russian Empire, Provisional Government, RSFSR, Soviet Union and the Russian Federation from the early nineteenth century until the present. Archives on non-Communist political parties and the emigre community are also held. Catalogues accessible at http://garf.narod.ru/. (Russian acronym: GARF.)

Foros

Resort area on the south coast of the Crimea that was site to the luxurious dachas of the highest members of the Soviet elite.

Fourth Congress of the Third International

Held 1922-23 in Moscow. The Third International was the Bolshevik-dominated Communist international movement, usually known as the ‘Comintern’, so called to distinguish it from the Second or ‘socialist’ International.

fabrichno-zavodskie komitety

Committee elected to exercise workers’ control in 1917; absorbed by trade unions in 1918.

fabzavkom

Committee elected to exercise workers’ control in 1917; absorbed by trade unions in 1918.

face to the countryside

Slogan of the Communist Party; adopted in 1925 to promote interests of peasants.

factory committee

Committee elected to exercise workers’ control in 1917; absorbed by trade unions in 1918.

fartsovshchik

Black-marketeer.

food detachments

Food detachments, better known as Food Requisition Detachments, were groups of armed city workers who were organized either by trade unions or by individual factories and sent to food-surplus regions to requisition grain from the peasants. The organization of these detachments was authorized by the Soviet government on August 6, 1918.

GAKhN

Gosudarstvennaia akademiia khudozhevennykh nauk (Soviet Academy of Arts), which enforced the standard of socialist realism during the years of Stalinism, and beyond. Members of the academy were given great benefits in Soviet society, and artists who were not included had difficulty exhibiting their works or making a living as an artist.

GARF

Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Rossiiskoi Federatsii (State Archive of the Russian Federation).Archival holdings include government institutions of the Russian Empire, Provisional Government, RSFSR, Soviet Union and the Russian Federation from the early nineteenth century until the present. Archives on non-Communist political parties and the emigre community are also held. Catalogues accessible at http://garf.narod.ru/.

GATT

An integrated set of bilateral trade agreements among more than 100 contracting nations. Originally drawn up in 1947, GATT aimed at abolishing quotas and reducing tariffs among members. The Soviet Union eschewed joining GATT until 1987, when it applied for membership.

GDP

The total value of goods and services produced exclusively within a nation’s domestic economy, in contrast to gross national product, usually computed over one year.

GES

Electric-producing dam, such as the giant projects built on the Dnepr, Bratsk or Angara rivers.

GKChP

Coup launched on August 18, 1991 by high ranking members of the Soviet government against the possibility of signing the Union Treaty. (Alternative terms: Gosudarstvennyi komitet chrezvychainogo polozheniia; State Committee for the State of Emergency.)

GNP

The total value of goods and services produced within a country’s borders and the income received from abroad by residents, minus payments remitted abroad by nonresidents. Normally computed over one year.

GOELRO

State Commission for the Electrification of Russia.

GPU

Gosudarstvennoe politicheskoe upravlenie (State Political Directorate). The security police successor to the Cheka from 1922 to 1923.

GRU

Main Intelligence Directorate. A military organization, subordinate to the General Staff of the armed forces, that collected and processed strategic, technical, and tactical information of value to the armed forces. It may also have included special units for engaging in active measures, guerrilla warfare, and sabotage.

GUGB

Main Directorate for State Security. The security police, successor to the OGPU, subordinate to the NKVD. Existed from 1934 to 1941, 1941 to 1943, and 1953 to 1954.

GULAG

Main Directorate for Corrective Labor Camps. The penal system of the Soviet Union, consisting of a network of harsh labor camps where criminals and political prisoners were forced to serve sentences.

GUM

State Department Store located on Moscow’s Red Square across from the Kremlin; the main and best supplied department store in the Soviet Union open to the public.

Gdansk Agreement

The first of several major concessions made by the Polish communist government in late 1980 to the rising Solidarity movement. The agreement granted public expression to many groups in Polish society hitherto restricted, promised new economic concessions, removed discredited communist officials, and recognized workers’ right to establish free trade unions.

Gen-sek

The title of the head of the CPSU Secretariat, who presides over the Politburo and has been the Soviet Union’s de facto supreme leader. Stalin became general secretary of the Russian Communist Party (Bolskevik) in 1922 and employed the positions to amass personal powers. After Statin’s death in 1953, the title was changed to first secretary, which was used by Khrushalea and by Brezhnev until 1966, when the title of general secretary was reinstituted. Brezhnev’s successors–Iurii Androkov, Konstantin Chernenko, and Mikhail S. Gorbachev–were all general secretaries.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

An integrated set of bilateral trade agreements among more than 100 contracting nations. Originally drawn up in 1947, GATT aimed at abolishing quotas and reducing tariffs among members. The Soviet Union eschewed joining GATT until 1987, when it applied for membership.

General Secretary

The title of the head of the CPSU Secretariat, who presides over the Politburo and has been the Soviet Union’s de facto supreme leader. Stalin became general secretary of the Russian Communist Party (Bolskevik) in 1922 and employed the positions to amass personal powers. After Statin’s death in 1953, the title was changed to first secretary, which was used by Khrushalea and by Brezhnev until 1966, when the title of general secretary was reinstituted. Brezhnev’s successors–Iurii Androkov, Konstantin Chernenko, and Mikhail S. Gorbachev–were all general secretaries.

Genoa Conference

International conference (1922) to revitalize international trade after WWI.

GlavPUR

The organ the CPSU used to control the armed forces of the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact countries. An organ of the CPSU in the Ministry of Defense, it was responsible for conducting ideological indoctrination and propaganda activities to prepare the armed forces for their role in national security.

Glavkomtrud

Committee of Universal [Compulsory] Labor, established toward the end of the civil war to help mobilize labor to win the war and reconstruct the economy after. An embodiment of the Bolshevik tendency during the Civil War on compulsory methods of labor mobilization.

Glavlit

Glavnoe upravlenie po delam literatury i izdatel’stv (Main Administration for Literary and Publishing Affairs). Created in 1922 under the People’s Commissariat of Education of the RSFSR to administer Soviet literary life, Glavlit eventually became the necessary clearing house and censor for all print publications in the Soviet Union. Renamed Main Administration for Safeguarding State Secrets in the Press in 1946. The acronym Glavlit continued to be used in the late 1980s.

Glavnoe razvedyvatel’noe upravlenie

Main Intelligence Directorate. A military organization, subordinate to the General Staff of the armed forces, that collected and processed strategic, technical, and tactical information of value to the armed forces. It may also have included special units for engaging in active measures, guerrilla warfare, and sabotage.

Glavnoe upravlenie gosudarstvennoi bezopasnosti

Main Directorate for State Security. The security police, successor to the OGPU, subordinate to the NKVD. Existed from 1934 to 1941, 1941 to 1943, and 1953 to 1954.

Glavnoe upravlenie ispravitel’no- trudovykh lagerei

Main Directorate for Corrective Labor Camps. The penal system of the Soviet Union, consisting of a network of harsh labor camps where criminals and political prisoners were forced to serve sentences.

Glavnyi komitet po kontroliu za zrelishchami i repertuarom

Committee established in 1923 under the People’s Commissariat of Education to control theatrical, film, and other cultural productions and sanctioned their release for public viewing. Glavrepertkom functioned as the de facto theater censor with the advent of Stalinist cultural policies. The acronym, Glavrepertkom, continued in use although the organization was changed from a committee (komitet) to an administration (upravelenie) under the Ministry of Culture.

Glavrepertkom

Committee established in 1923 under the People’s Commissariat of Education to control theatrical, film, and other cultural productions and sanctioned their release for public viewing. Glavrepertkom functioned as the de facto theater censor with the advent of Stalinist cultural policies. The acronym, Glavrepertkom, continued in use although the organization was changed from a committee (komitet) to an administration (upravelenie) under the Ministry of Culture.

Gorkom

City party committee.

gorodki

An ancient Russian folk sport. Similar in concept to to horseshoes, the aim of the game is to knock out groups of wickets arranged in various patterns by throwing a bat at them. The wickets or pins, are called gorodki.

Gosbank

State Bank. The main bank in the Soviet Union, which acted as a combination central bank, commercial bank, and settlement bank. It issued and regulated currency and credit and handled payments between enterprises and organizations. It received all taxes and payments to the state and paid out budgetary appropriations.

Gosizdat

State Publishing House.

Goskino

Gosudarstvenyi komitet po kinematografii (State Committee for Cinematography). Created in 1933, Goskino consolidated and controlled all facets of the film industry, from scenario writing to production. Goskino allowed the Soviet state to exert complete control over the industry. Absorbed by the Ministry of Culture in 1953, it became an independent organization again in 1963.

Goskomizdat

State Committee for Publishing Houses, Printing Plants, and the Book Trade. Supervised the publishing and printing industry and exercised all-union control over the thematic trend and content of literature.

Goskompriroda

State Committee for the Protection of Nature. Formed in 1988, the government agency charged with responsibility for overseeing environmental protection in the Soviet Union.

Goskomstat

State Committee of the Russian Federation on Statistics.

Goskomtsen

State Committee on Prices. The government body that established, under party guidance, the official prices of virtually everything produced in the Soviet Union, including agricultural produce, natural resources, manufactured products, and consumer goods and services.

Gosplan

Gosudarstvennyi planovyi komitet (State Planning Committee). Under party guidance, it was primarily responsible for creating and monitoring five-year plans and annual plans. The name was changed from State Planning Commission in 1948, but the acronym was retained.

Gostelradio

State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting. Established in 1957 as the Committee for Radio Broadcasting and Television. Upgraded to a state committee in 1970.

Gosudarstvennyi komitet chrezvychainogo polozheniia; State Committee for the State of Emergency

Coup launched on August 18, 1991 by high ranking members of the Soviet government against the possibility of signing the Union Treaty.

Gosudarstvennyi komitet po delam izdatel’stv poligrafii i knizhoi torgovli

State Committee for Publishing Houses, Printing Plants, and the Book Trade. Supervised the publishing and printing industry and exercised all-union control over the thematic trend and content of literature.

Gosudarstvennyi komitet po okhrane prirody

State Committee for the Protection of Nature. Formed in 1988, the government agency charged with responsibility for overseeing environmental protection in the Soviet Union.

Gosudarstvennyi komitet po tsenam

State Committee on Prices. The government body that established, under party guidance, the official prices of virtually everything produced in the Soviet Union, including agricultural produce, natural resources, manufactured products, and consumer goods and services.

Gosudarstvennyi universal’nyi magazin

State Department Store located on Moscow’s Red Square across from the Kremlin; the main and best supplied department store in the Soviet Union open to the public.

Gosudarstvennyy komitet po televideniyu i radioveshchaniiu

State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting. Established in 1957 as the Committee for Radio Broadcasting and Television. Upgraded to a state committee in 1970.

Guardsmen

The name given to WWII regiments that had earned special distinction in a military campaign, for example, by taking a major city. Such regiments were supplied somewhat better than their ordinary counterparts, receiving larger rations of sugar, vodka, and dried food.

Gvardeitsy

The name given to WWII regiments that had earned special distinction in a military campaign, for example, by taking a major city. Such regiments were supplied somewhat better than their ordinary counterparts, receiving larger rations of sugar, vodka, and dried food.

glasnost’

Public discussion of issues; accessibility of information so that the public can become familiar with it and discuss it. Gorbachev’s policy of using the media to make information available on some controversial issues, in order to provoke public discussion, challenge government and party bureaucrats, and mobilize greater support for his policy of perestroika.

glavki

Main administrations; branch units of the Vesenkha, the state agency regulating the economy.

gorispolkom

City, town or municipal executive committee, the operating arm of local soviet power.

gross domestic product

The total value of goods and services produced exclusively within a nation’s domestic economy, in contrast to gross national product, usually computed over one year.

gross national product

The total value of goods and services produced within a country’s borders and the income received from abroad by residents, minus payments remitted abroad by nonresidents. Normally computed over one year.

guberniia

Administrative unit of the Tsarist empire, roughly equivalent to a province.

gubkom

Guberniia (province) committee of the Communist Party.

Helsinki Accords

Signed in 1975 by all countries of Europe except Albania (which signed in 1991), plus Canada and the United States, at the conclusion of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Helsinki Accords endorsed general principles of international behavior and measures to enhance security and addressed selected economic, environmental, and humnitarian issues. In essence, the Helsinki Accords confirmed existing, post-World War II national boundaries and obligated signatories to respect basic principles of human rights. Helsinki watch groups were formed in 1976 to monitor compliance. The term Helsinki Accords is the short form for the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and is also know as the Final Act.

Helsinki watch groups

Informal, unofficial organizations of citizens monitoring their regimes’ adherence to the human rights provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Accords.

Holy Synod

Chief tsarist state administrative body with responsibility for oversight of Russian Orthodox Church; the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Russian Church stood at the head of Church administration.

hard currency

Currency that was freely convertible and traded on international currency markets. The Soviet ruble was not hard currency, and Soviet citizens from the mid-1920s were not allowed to hold hard currency, eventually creating a huge black market in dollars.

hectare

One hectare = 2.5 acres.

hydro-electric station

lectric-producing dam, such as the giant projects built on the Dnepr, Bratsk or Angara rivers.

IAEA

International Atomic Energy Agency.

IMF

International Monetary Fund. Established along with the World Bank in 1945, the IMF is a specialized agency affiliated with the United Nations and responsible for stabilizing international exchange rates and payments. Its main function is to provide loans to its members (including industrialized and developing countries) when they experience balance of payments difficulties. These loans frequently have conditions that require substantial internal economic adjustments by the recipients, most of which are developing countries.

Industrial Workers of the World; IWW

Radical labor union in North America popularly known as the Wobblies.

International Monetary Fund

Established along with the World Bank in 1945, the IMF is a specialized agency affiliated with the United Nations and responsible for stabilizing international exchange rates and payments. Its main function is to provide loans to its members (including industrialized and developing countries) when they experience balance of payments difficulties. These loans frequently have conditions that require substantial internal economic adjustments by the recipients, most of which are developing countries.

Intourist

Official Soviet state tourist organization for foreign tourists.

Iskra

(Spark). Party journal of the Russian Social Democrats, of which Lenin was member of the editorial board from December 1900 to October 1903.

Izvestiia

The second most authoritative paper (after Pravda). Published by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R., and the official national publication of the Soviet government until 1991. Circulated to between 8 and 10 million people daily. Contained official government information and general news and an expanded Sunday section composed of news analysis, feature stories, poetry, and cartoons. Its extensive coverage of international relations made it the principal voice for Soviet foreign policy. Under the editorship of Nikita Khrushchev’s son-in-law, Alexei Adzhubei, became a lively, readable and popular daily newspaper that included photographs, bigger headlines, shorter and more interesting articles, and a generally high standard of design.

Izvestiia TsIK; Izvestiia TsK KPSS

The second most authoritative paper (after Pravda). Published by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R., and the official national publication of the Soviet government until 1991. Circulated to between 8 and 10 million people daily. Contained official government information and general news and an expanded Sunday section composed of news analysis, feature stories, poetry, and cartoons. Its extensive coverage of international relations made it the principal voice for Soviet foreign policy. Under the editorship of Nikita Khrushchev’s son-in-law, Alexei Adzhubei, became a lively, readable and popular daily newspaper that included photographs, bigger headlines, shorter and more interesting articles, and a generally high standard of design.

iconostas

The holy partition wall dividing the altar from the congregation in an Orthodox church, bearing icons of saints in four ranks.

indigenization

Rooting in: a policy of the late 1920s and 1930s that encouraged the advancement of local or native ethnic cadres into the upper-ranks of national-republic administrations and other positions of power.

intelligentsia

Intellectuals constituting the cultural, academic, social, and political elite. Often the source of opposition to the oppressive state in tsarist and Soviet times.

internal passport

Government-issued document, presented to officials on demand, identifying citizens and their authorized residence. Used in both the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union to restrict the movement of people, in conjunction with the propiska system.

ispolkom

Executive committee of soviets and the party from the local to the All-Union level.

Jadidism

Radical secularist movement among Central Asian intelligentsia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Julian calendar

A calendar, named for Gaius Julius Caesar and introduced in Rome in 46 B.C., that established the twelve-month year of 365 days. It was adopted throughout much of the Western world, including Kievan Rus’ and Muscovy. The Julian calendar’s year, however, was over eleven minutes too long compared with the solar year, i.e., thetime the earth requires to make one revolution around the sun. Because of this discrepancy, Pope Gregory XIII introduced a revised calendar in 1582 that had a shortened year and then omitted the ten excess days that had accumulated since A.D. 325, the year of the Council of Nicea, which was chosen as the base year. Although most of the Western world adopted the Gregorian calendar, Russian regimes retained the Julian calendar (termed old style or O.S.) until after the Bolshevik Revolution. On February 1, 1918 O.S., the Bolsheviks introduced the Gregorian calendar and omitted the thirteen excess days that had accumulated since A.D. 325, thus making that day February 14, 1918 (new style or N.S.). The Russian Orthodox Church and other Eastern Christian churches continue to use the Julian calendar.

June Offensive

Last major offensive of Russian Imperial army (June-July 1917).

Junkers

Military cadets of the tsarist era. Junker units were the final troops to defend the Winter Palace in October, 1917.

KAPD

Communist Workers’ Party of Germany, competitor of the VKPD in the years following the First World War.

KGB

Committee for State Security. The predominant security police organization from its establishment in 1954, it was broken up into internal and external security organs after the fall of the Soviet Union.

KOR

KOR, or KSS-KOR [Committee of Social Self-Defense – Worker Defense Committee] was the union of dissident intellectuals and workers organized in 1976, which helped inspire the strong resistance to Communist dictatorship in Poland, and constituted the core for the later Solidarity movement.

KPSS

The official name of the communist party in the Soviet Union since 1952. Originally the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, the party was named the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) from March 1918 to December 1925, the All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik) from December 1925 to October 1952, and the CPSU thereafter.

KSS-KOR

KOR, or KSS-KOR [Committee of Social Self-Defense – Worker Defense Committee] was the union of dissident intellectuals and workers organized in 1976, which helped inspire the strong resistance to Communist dictatorship in Poland, and constituted the core of the later Solidarity movement.

Kadet

Constitutional Democratic Party (1906-17), moderate liberals.

Kalym

Bride price traditional in some Muslim cultures, particularly in Kyrgyzstan. The practice was stamped out by Soviet power, and has undergone a revival in post-Soviet times.

KamAZ

Largest truck factory in the Soviet Union which began production in 1972; located in Naberezhnye Chelnyi on the Volga.

Kamenev-Zinoviev trial

First of the major Show Trials of the Great Terror (August 1936).

Karakum Canal

An irrigation and water supply canal, which is navigable, in the Turkmen Republic. Under construction since 1954, the 1,100 kilometers completed by 1988 diverted a significant amount of the Amu Darya’s waters west through and into the Kara Desert and Ashkhabad, the republic’s capital, and beyond. The canal opened up expansive new tracts of land to agriculture, while contributing to a major environmental disaster, the drying up of the Aral Sea. The primitive construction of the canal allows almost 50 percent of the water to escape en route.

Kavbiuro

Caucasian Bureau of the Communist Party set up during the civil war to provide political leadership in Transcaucasia, much of which was not under Bolshevik control.

Kazakhstan

Literally, land of the Kazakhs. A vast region in Central Asia settled by the Golden Horde in the thirteenth century that the Russian Empire acquired during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In 1924 the Soviet regime began dividing Kazakhstan into its major nationality groups, the Kazakhs and the Kirgiz. Subsequently, both of these groups was given union republic status in the Soviet Union.

KhSSR

Khorezm Soviet Socialist Republic.

Khanate

Dominion or territorial jurisdiction of a Mongol khan (ruler).

Khokhol

Perjorative Russian term for Ukrainian, implying provincial slowness. The traditional Ukrainian rejoinder was to call the Russian “Moskal.”

Khorezm

The central Asian khanate based in the present city of Khiva, from which shifted the Soviet administrative center in Bukhara. Both became part of the Soviet republic of Uzbekistan, with its capital in the modern city of Tashkent.

Kievan Rus’

An East Slavic state, centered on Kiev, established by Oleg ca. 880. Disintegrated by the thirteenth century.

Knigotsentr

Literally: Book Center, the central distribution point for state publishers.

Komintern; Third International, Communist International

An international organization of communist parties founded by Lenin in 1919. Initially, it attempted to control the international socialist movement and to foment world revolution; later, it also became an instrument of Soviet foreign policy. Dissolved by Stalin in 1943 as a conciliatory measure toward his Western allies.

Komitet Samoobrony Spolecznej – Komitet Obrony Robotnikow

KOR, or KSS-KOR [Committee of Social Self-Defense – Worker Defense Committee] was the union of dissident intellectuals and workers organized in 1976, which helped inspire the strong resistance to Communist dictatorship in Poland, and constituted the core of the later Solidarity movement.

Komitet gosudarstvennoi bezopasnosti

Committee for State Security. The predominant security police organization from its establishment in 1954, it was broken up into internal and external security organs after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Kommunist

Organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party from 1940 (previously Bol’shevik). Kommunist was often the forum in which party doctrines on important theoretical and political were enunciated.

Komsomol; Kommunisticheskii soiuz molodezhi; Vsesoiuznyi Leninskii kommunisticheskii soiuz molodezhi

All-Union Lenin Communist Youth League (YCL). An organization administered by the CPSU for youth between ages fourteen and twenty-eight. Since its establishment in 1918, the Komsonol has helped the party prepare new generations for an elite role in Soviet society. It has instilled in young people the principles of Marxism-Leninism and involved them in large-scale industrial projects, such as factory construction and the virgin land campaign. Members were expected to be politically conscious, vigilant, and loyal to the communist cause. Membership privileges included better opportunities for higher education and preferential consideration for career advancement. In 1982 the Komsomol had 41.7 million members.

Komsomol’skaia pravda

(Komsomol Truth) Morning daily newspaper published in Moscow that was the official voice of the Central Council of the Komsomol, or Communist youth league. Aimed at young people aged 14 to 28. Under the editorship of Nikita S. Khrushchev’s son-in-law, Alexei Adzhubei, in the 1950s, it introduced more travel articles, sports pieces, and short fiction and reduced the amount of propaganda. At its peak in the 1970s and early ’80s, its circulation was more than 15 million.

Komsomolka

Either a female member of the Komsomol, or a diminutive form for the newspaper Komsomol’skaia pravda.

Kornilov affair

Attempt by General Lavr Kornilov, Supreme Commander of the Russian Armed Forces, to crush Soviets in August 1917.

Krasnaia Presnia

Historically working-class district of Moscow, site of street battles during 1905 revolution.

Krasnaia gazeta

(Red Gazette) A daily newspaper which at different times of its existence was an organ of the central, provincial, city committees of the All-Union Communist Party and the Petrograd/Leningrad Soviet. It circulated from January 1918 to 1939, when it was merged with Leningradskaia Pravda.

Kremlin

Central citadel in many medieval Russian towns, usually located at a strategic spot along a river. Moscow’s Kremlin, situated on the Moscow River on a spot found by Prince Iurii Dolgorukii in 1147, became the fortress of the Muscovite princes and then tsars. Deprived of ruling status when Peter the Great moved the capital to St. Petersburg, it recovered its status as seat of the CPSU and the government of the Soviet Union in 1918.

Krokodil

(Crocodile). Thrice-monthly 14-18-page magazine of humor and satire, published 1922-1991. One of the most popular publications in the Soviet Union; with a circulation of approximately 6 million. Printed in color. Featured excellent artistic political cartoons and feature stories that pushed the envelope of ideologically correctness. Its humor was chiefly directed against what it termed Western imperialism and bourgeois ideology, but it also assailed “undesirable elements” in Russian society.

Kuomintang

Chinese nationalist movement led by Chiang-Kai Shek which routed Chinese Communists in 1927 and was defeated and exiled to Taiwan in 1949.

Kurile Islands

Archipelago extending southwards from Kamchatka peninsula; occupied by USSR during WW II, and the source of great contention between the Soviet Union and Russia, and later Russia and Japan.

Kuzbass

Kuznetsk Basin (Kuznetskii bassein). A major coal-mining and industrial area located in southern Siberia, east and southeast of Novosibirsk.

kerenka

Popular name of currency issued by the Provisional Government under Aleksander Kerenskii, which to succumbed to the hyper-inflation of the war-time economy.

khozraschet

A system of “self-supporting operations,” applied to such individual enterprises as factories, encompassing a wide range of activities, including samofinanserovanie, and a management process involving a large number of individuals.

khutor

Ukrainian village.

kishlaq

Central Asian or Afghan village.

kolkhoz

(Kollektivnoe khoziaistvo). An agricultural “cooperative” where peasants, under the direction of party-approved plans and leaders, are paid wages based, in part, on the success of their harvest.

kolkhoznik

Collectivized peasant-farmer.

kombedy

(Committees of the Poor). Organizations of rural poor established in 1918 to serve as base of Soviet power in countryside.

kombinat

An economic entity of an industrial or service nature that consists of several specialized, technologically related enterprises.

kommuna

(Commune) The most complete collective farm in which there was no private property; all land was worked collectively and its produce shared. Sometimes included collective eating and living.

korenizatsiia

Rooting in: a policy of the late 1920s and 1930s that encouraged the advancement of local or native ethnic cadres into the upper-ranks of national-republic administrations and other positions of power.

krai

A large territorial and administrative subdivision found only in the Russian Republic, where there are six, all of which are thinly populated. The boundaries of a krai are laid out primarily for ease of administration but may also contain lesser political subdivisions based on nationality groups–autonomous oblast, or autonomous okrug, or both. Directly subordinate to its union republic.

krasnyi ugolok

The corner of a peasant reserved for the display of icons and other religious items. Capitalizing on the two meanings of the Russian word “krasnyi” (both beautiful and red), the Soviets encouraged kolkhoz peasants to arrange their own “Red Corners” devoted to pictures and the works of Lenin.

kul’tzmichki

Ukrainian: cultural link, as in the Russian smychka.

kulak

Literally, fist. A successful, independent farmer of the period of Soviet history before collectivization. According to the Bolsheviks, any peasant who hired labor. The term eventually was applied to any peasant who opposed collectivization.

L’Humanite

Official newspaper of the French Communist Party.

L’Unita

Newspaper of the Italian Communist Party.

LEF

Acronym of Left Front, leftist artistic movement of 1920s, and also name of the movement’s journal.

Lake Chudo

Lake where Aleksandr Nevskii threw back the Teutonic Knights in 1242 in the famous Battle on the Ice, memorialized in Sergei Eisenstein’s 1938 film, Aleksandr Nevskii.

League of Nations

Organization for international cooperation established by the victorious Allied Powers at the end of World War I. The Soviet Union joined in 1934 but was expelled in 1939.

Left Opposition

Faction of Communist party led by Trotsky against bureaucratic maneuverings of Stalin (1925-27); ended with Trotsky’s exile, and most former members eventually perished in the Great Terror.

Left SRs

Faction of Socialist-Revolutionary Party that sided with Bolsheviks in 1917, briefly participated in Soviet government, but went into opposition after March 1918.

Lend-Lease Law

A foreign aid program initiated by the United States in March 1941 that authorized the transfer of substantial quantities of war materiel, such as tanks, munitions, locomotives, and ships, to countries opposing the military aggression of the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan) while the United States mobilized for war. In November 1941, the Soviet Union was added to the list of recipients and, during the course of World War II, received supplies and equipment worth billions of dollars.

Lenin Academy of Agricultural Sciences (LAAAS)

Home academy of Trofim Lysenko, the biologist who dominated scientific life after the war and whose hostility to Mendelian genetics destroyed the Soviet biological sciences.

Leningrad Affair

Arrest and execution of high-ranking party officials in Leningrad (1949) following death of A. Zhdanov.

Literaturnaia gazeta

(Literary Newspaper) Weekly 16-page newspaper published by the USSR s Union of Writers from 1929-1990. Contained authoritative statements and perspectives concerning literature, plays, cinema, and literary issues of popular interest, but also included political and social content. Acquired greater influence in the post-World War II period, becoming one of the most authoritative and influential publications in the country. Faithfully reflected government policy (both political and literary) but also attempted to show the human face of Soviet society. Was the national newspaper most likely to push the limits of censorship. Most interesting to its readers were reports on the international political scene, and especially on cultural life in countries outside the Soviet sphere of influence.

Little Entente

Alliance of Czechoslovakia, Rumania and Yugoslavia formed in 1921.

Living Church

Break-away movement within Russian Orthodox Church, sponsored by Soviet government in 1920s.

Lubianka

Building in central Moscow that served as headquarters of the political police (Cheka – OGPU – NKVD – KGB), and where its holding prison was located.

Luftwaffe

German Air Force.

labor day; laborday

Method of payment to collective farmers based on gradated occupational category and number of days worked per year.

lapti

Soft shoes made of the bark of a tree, and worn by the poorer peasants. (English: bast shoe.)

lavra

A large monastery given particular prestige within the Orthodox Church.

lishentsy

Category of former bourgeois, tsarist officials, police, and clergy deprived of civil rights (1917-36).

lubok

Cheap popular print or literature produced in 19th c.

MGB

Ministry of State Security. The paramount security police organization from 1946 to 1953; replaced by the KGB.

MOOP

Ministry for the Preservation of Public Order. Functioned between 1962 and 1968, and was in charge of the druzhinniki.

MOSSKh

Moscow Section of the Union of Soviet Artists. Formed in 1932. The Painting Section represented half of its membership. Of these, over two to one were stylistic traditionalists. This section of the Artists’ Union was one of the most active in expelling members who did not conform with the socialist realistic aesthetic.

MTS

Provided collective farms with mechanized equipment in return for portion of harvest. Motor-tractor stations were abolished in 1958 in an effort to give collective farms more autonomy and economic flexibility.

MVD

Ministry of Internal Affairs, and successor to the NKVD. Existed from 1946 to 1991; from 1968 it exercised regular police functions.

Magadan

One of the principal labor camps of the GULAG located in the far Northeast of the USSR.

Magnitka

Popular name for Magnitogorsk, steel city located east of Urals.

Main Committee for Control of Entertainment and Repertory

Committee established in 1923 under the People’s Commissariat of Education to control theatrical, film, and other cultural productions and sanctioned their release for public viewing. Glavrepertkom functioned as the de facto theater censor with the advent of Stalinist cultural policies. The acronym, Glavrepertkom, continued in use although the organization was changed from a committee (komitet) to an administration (upravelenie) under the Ministry of Culture.

Main Political Directorate of the Soviet Army and Navy

The organ the CPSU used to control the armed forces of the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact countries. An organ of the CPSU in the Ministry of Defense, it was responsible for conducting ideological indoctrination and propaganda activities to prepare the armed forces for their role in national security.

Marshall Plan

A plan announced in June 1947 by United States secretary of state George C. Marshall for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. The plan involved a considerable amount of United States aid to Western Europe, but the Soviet Union refused the offer of aid and forbade the East European countries it dominated from taking part in the Marshall Plan. As a counterweight, the Soviet Union created the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA).

Marxism

The economic, political, and social theories of Karl Marx, a nineteenth-century German philosopher and socialist, especially his concept of socialism, which includes the labor theory of value, dialectical materialism, class struggle, and the dictatorship of the proletariat until a classless society can be established. Another German socialist, Friederich Engels, collaborated with Marx and was a major contributor to the development of Marxism.

Marxism-Leninism

The ideology of communism, developed by Karl Marx and refined and adapted to social and economic conditions in Russia by Lenin, that has guided the party and the Soviet Union. Marx talked of the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, after the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, as a transitional socialist phase before the achievement of communism. Lenin added the idea of a communist party as the vanguard or leading force in promoting the proletarian revolution and building communism. Stalin and subsequent leaders contributed their own interpretations of the ideology.

May Day

International workers’ holiday, celebrated in Soviet Union and many other European countries.

Melodiia

State-owned record company, with a monopoly on the production and distribution of recorded music within the USSR.

Mendelism-Morganism

In August, 1948, at a disastrous session of the Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Lysenko’s dogma, approved by Stalin personally and named “Michurinian biology”, was proclaimed to be the greatest achievemet in Soviet biological science. “Weismanism-Mendelism-Morganism” was announced to be a “bourgeois pseudo-science” and was anathemized. Mendelism-Morganism was, of course, the foundations of the science that would soon be known in the west as genetics. Soviet biology never recovered from the attack.

Menshevik

A member of a wing of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party before and during the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917. Unlike the Bolsheviks, the Mensheviks believed in the gradual achievement of socialism by parliamentary methods. The term Menshevik is derived from the word menshenstvo (minority).

Messidor

One of the months of the French revolutionary calendar, adopted in 1793 and intended to rationalize the inconsistent old system of months and seasons. Months (beginning at the autumnal equinox), included Vend¯miaire, Brumaire, Frimaire, Niv se, Pluvi se, Vent se, Germinal, Flor¯al, Prairial, Messidor, Thermidor, and Fructidor.

Metropolitan

The primate of an ecclesiastical province of the Orthodox Church, usually housed in a large city, such as Moscow, Petersburg or Kiev.

Military Revolutionary Committee

Formed in the days before the October Revolution to coordinate the seizure of power, the Revvoensovet continued to be an important director of armed might during the Civil War.

Milton

Slang for militiaman or cop.

Ministerstvo gosudarstvennoi bezopasnosti

Ministry of State Security. The paramount security police organization from 1946 to 1953; replaced by the KGB.

Ministerstvo okhrany obshchestvennogo poriadka

Ministry for the Preservation of Public Order. Functioned between 1962 and 1968, and was in charge of the druzhinniki. (Russian acronym: MOOP.)

Ministerstvo vnutrennykh del

Ministry of Internal Affairs, and successor to the NKVD. Existed from 1946 to 1991; from 1968 it exercised regular police functions.

Mongol yoke

Period of Mongol domination of much of eastern Europe by the Golden Horde from the mid-thirteenth century to the end of the fifteenth century.

Morganism-Mendelism; Morganists; Weismannist-Morganist Movement; Mendelism

See the entry for Mendelism-Morganism.

Mosfilm

Main film studio located in Moscow.

Mosselprom

Short for Moscow Rural and Industrial Products. Soviet department store built in the 1920s to compete against the private goods that dominated the consumer market during the years of the New Economic Policy.

Mossovet

Moscow City Soviet.

makhorka

Cheap tobacco, usually smoked in hand-rolled form. Makhorka was the tobacco of choice for the lower classes and lower ranks of the military during the years of revolution and the Great Patriotic War [World War II], and an item of ready exchange and barter.

matreshka

Traditional Russian embedded doll, the “dolls within the doll.”

medres

Islamic religious school.

meshochniki

Illegal traders during Russian civil war.

mir

A peasant commune established at the village level in tsarist Russia. It controlled the redistribution of farmland and was held responsible for collecting taxes and levying recruits for military service. In Russian, mir also means ‘world’ and ‘peace.’

motor-tractor station

Provided collective farms with mechanized equipment in return for portion of harvest. Motor-tractor stations were abolished in 1958 in an effort to give collective farms more autonomy and economic flexibility.

mujahideen; mujahidin

Derived from the word jihad, the term means holy warriors and was used by and applied to the Afghan resistance or freedom fighters.

mullah

Muslim man trained in Islamic law and doctrine.

muzhik

Derogatory term for Russian peasant.

NATO

An alliance founded in 1949 by the United States, Canada, and their postwar European allies to oppose Soviet military presence in Europe. Until the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991, NATO was the primary collective defense agreement of the Western powers. Its military and administrative structure remained intact after the threat of Soviet expansionism had subsided.

NDPA

The ruling party of Afghanistan during its period of Soviet tutelage.

NEP

Novaia ekonomicheskaia politika. Instituted in 1921, it let peasants sell produce on an open market and permitted small enterprises to be privately owned and operated. Cultural restrictions were also relaxed during this period. NEP declined with the forced collectivization of farms and was officially ended by Stalin in December 1929.

NKGB

Narodnyi komissariat gosudarstvennoi bezopasnosti (People’s Commissariat of State Security). Security police which functioned in 1941 and again from 1943 to 1946.

NKVD

Narodnyi komissariat vnutrennykh del (People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs). The commissariat that administered regular police organizations from 1917 to 1946. When the OGPU was abolished in 1934, the NKVD incorporated the security police organization until 1946.

Nagorno-Karabakh

Autonomous Oblast within Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic established in 1923 consisting primarily of ethnic Armenians; contested by the Armenian republic from 1988, and eventually seized by Armenia by force after the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Narkom

Ministerial level of government until 1946, a term based on the ideological distinctions of the “democratic” Soviet government.

Narkomat

Abbreviation for “narodnyi kommissariat” (People’s Commissariat).

Narkomindel

People’s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs.

Narkomiust

People’s Commissariat of Justice.

Narkomnats

People’s Commissariat of Nationalities.

Narkompros

Commissariat of Education [or Enlightenment], headed by Anatolii Lunacharskii in the first years of Soviet power.

Narkomzdrav

People’s Commissariat of Health.

narodnik

Name applied to the non-Marxist Russian agrarian socialist movement of the latter half of the nineteenth century. Based its theories of reform on the Russian peasants’ system of communal land tenure. Employed terrorism as political weapon.

narodnyi sud

One of the first attempts to develop a proletarian form of justice after the Revolution. An official tribunal having jurisdiction in most civil and criminal cases originating in a (raion). The court was presided over by a professional judge, assisted by two people’s assessors (narodnye zasedatelei), or lay judges. Cases were decided by a majority vote. Professional judges were elected for five-year terms and were members of the CPSU; most had some legal training. People’s assessors, who had no legal training, were elected for two and one-half years but sat only for a few weeks; they corresponded somewhat to jurors in United States courts.

Narodnyi komissariat prosveshcheniia

Commissariat of Education [or Enlightenment], headed by Anatolii Lunacharskii in the first years of Soviet power.

nationality

In the Soviet understanding, a people linked by a common language, culture, history, and territory who may have developed a common economic and political life; an individual’s ethnic background. Not to be confused with an individual’s country of citizenship.

nativization

Rooting in: a policy of the late 1920s and 1930s that encouraged the advancement of local or native ethnic cadres into the upper-ranks of national-republic administrations and other positions of power.

natsional’nost’

In the Soviet understanding, a people linked by a common language, culture, history, and territory who may have developed a common economic and political life; an individual’s ethnic background. Not to be confused with an individual’s country of citizenship.

Nauka i religiia

Science and Religion, the publication launched in 1959 to propagate the anti-religious views of scientific atheism.

Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact

Agreement signed by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union on August 23, 1939, immediately preceding the German invasion of Poland, which began World War II. A secret protocol divided Poland between the two powers and gave Bessarabia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and the eastern part of Poland to the Soviet Union. The pact also delayed the Soviet Union’s entry into World War II. (Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.)

Nedelia

(The Week) Magazine published as a weekly supplement to Izvestiia; appeared every Sunday, having a circulation of some 9 to 10 million.

Nevskii Prospect

Main thoroughfare and promenade of Leningrad (Petersburg).

New Economic Policy

Novaia ekonomicheskaia politika. Instituted in 1921, it let peasants sell produce on an open market and permitted small enterprises to be privately owned and operated. Cultural restrictions were also relaxed during this period. NEP declined with the forced collectivization of farms and was officially ended by Stalin in December 1929.

News 

The second most authoritative paper (after Pravda). Published by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R., and the official national publication of the Soviet government until 1991. Circulated to between 8 and 10 million people daily. Contained official government information and general news and an expanded Sunday section composed of news analysis, feature stories, poetry, and cartoons. Its extensive coverage of international relations made it the principal voice for Soviet foreign policy. Under the editorship of Nikita Khrushchev’s son-in-law, Alexei Adzhubei, became a lively, readable and popular daily newspaper that included photographs, bigger headlines, shorter and more interesting articles, and a generally high standard of design.

nomenklatura

The CPSU’s system of appointing key personnel in the government and other important organizations, based on lists of critical positions and people in political favor. Also refers to the individuals included on these lists.

non-chernozem

A large agricultural and industrial region in the European part of the Soviet Union, extending approximately 2,300 kilometers from Kaliningrad in the northwest to Sverdlovsk in the east with a north-south expanse of more than 1,000 kilometers in places. The region does not have the black earth of the chernozem zone, and is not as productive agriculturally.

Non-aggression Pact, Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

Agreement signed by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union on August 23, 1939, immediately preceding the German invasion of Poland, which began World War II. A secret protocol divided Poland between the two powers and gave Bessarabia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and the eastern part of Poland to the Soviet Union. The pact also delayed the Soviet Union’s entry into World War II. (Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact.)

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

An alliance founded in 1949 by the United States, Canada, and their postwar European allies to oppose Soviet military presence in Europe. Until the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991, NATO was the primary collective defense agreement of the Western powers. Its military and administrative structure remained intact after the threat of Soviet expansionism had subsided.

Novaia zhizn’

(New Life). Founded and edited by Maksim Gorky, a public affairs and literary daily newspaper which appeared in Petrograd from 18 April (1 May) 1917 until 16 July 1918 (with a total of 354 issues). Although the Bolshevik Gorky and Anatolii Lunacharskii were leading figures in the journal, many of the other editors were Mensheviks. The paper advocated many of the same issues as the Bolsheviks before the October Revolution, but became a harsh critic of the regime’s repressive measures after the revolution, and was eventually shut down by the Commissariat of Press and Propaganda of the Petrograd Commune.

Novodevichii Monastery

Monastery complex in Moscow, the cemetery of which is resting place for some of Moscow’s most famous residents.

novosel’e

Housewarming party, popular in the post-war years when Soviet families moved out of communal apartments into long-sought private apartments.

Novosti

News Press Agency. The news agency responsible for disseminating Soviet information abroad in the post-Khrushchev era. (The word novost’ means news or something new.)

Novyi mir

(New World) Literary magazine published since 1925. The monthly publication reached nearly 2 million readers and concentrated on new prose, poetry, criticism, and commentary. Under the editorship of Aleksandr Tvardovsky from 1958 until his forced resignation in 1970, the magazine published controversial and often original literature and literary reviews, attracting widespread readership among the intelligentsia. It resumed its leading critical role during the period of glasnost, edited by Sergei Zalygin.

OECD

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Founded in 1961 to replace the all-European Organisation for European Economic Cooperation, assists member governments to form and coordinate economic and social aid policies in developing countries. In 1992, twenty-four nations had full membership, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.

OGIZ

Union of State Publishing Houses. Central publishing enterprise in the Soviet Union, which existed from 1930 to 1949.

OGPU

Ob”edinennoe gosudarstvennoe politicheskoe upravlenie ([All-Russian] Unified State Political Directorate). The security police from 1923 to 1934; successor to the GPU. (Alternative term: VOGPU.)

OMON

Special-Purpose Forces of the Soviet armed forces or KGB, trained to attack important command, communications, and weapons centers behind enemy lines. The only reliable riot control units available to Soviet authorities in the last years of the Union.

OUN

Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. WW II-era movement fighting for independent Ukraine against the Soviet Red Army.

Ob”edinenie gosudarstvennykh izdatel’stv

Union of State Publishing Houses. Central publishing enterprise in the Soviet Union, which existed from 1930 to 1949.

Octobrina

The revolutionary birth ceremonies designed in 1920-1924 to replace the religious ceremony of baptism (krestiny in Russian).

Octobrists

The more conservative party of the middle-class, formed in 1905, led by A. I. Guchkov and M. V. Rodzianko. Title adopted from the Imperial Manifesto of 17 October 1905 granting a constitutional monarchy.

Ogonek

(Little Fire). One of Russia s oldest illustrated weekly magazines. (Began publication in 1899; revived by the Soviets in 1923.) Specialized in social critique, human interest stories, serialized features, and pictorial sections. Under editor Vitaly Korotich, the journal boasted of being the glasnost’, and lead the effort to expand the limits of censorship. During this period it had a massive readership.

Okhrana

The security police under Alexander III (1881-94). Covert operations (using nonuniformed agents and informers) were used to uncover and collect evidence against revolutionary groups.

Oktiabriata

Literally, “Children of October.” An organization that has prepared Soviet schoolchildren ages six to nine for membership in the Pioneer organization. Established in 1923, the first Young Octobrists were contemporaries of the October Revolution of 1917, hence the name “Children of October.”

Old Believers

A sect of the Russian Orthodox Church that rejected the changes made by Patriarch Nikon in the mid-seventeenth century.

Operation Barbarossa

Code name for the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

Founded in 1961 to replace the all-European Organisation for European Economic Cooperation, assists member governments to form and coordinate economic and social aid policies in developing countries. In 1992, twenty-four nations had full membership, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.

Orgbiuro

Organization Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party from 1919 to 1952; the Orgbiuro directed the work of local party committees, and had the power of appointment within the Party.

Osobyi Otdel

The Special Section was a division of the secret police entrusted with uncovering and crushing “internal enemies.” Secret police, which included SmerSH as well as the Special Section, were especially numerous in the infantry, the most dangerous branch of service and the one that contained the greatest number of men who were in prison for “political crimes” before being released to fight the Germans.

Ostankino

District in northern Moscow; site of a giant television tower.

Ostarbeiter

Workers from the “East” recruited by force by Nazis to work in Germany during WW II.

Otdel agitatsii i propagandy

Agitation and Propaganda Department, established by the Central Committee of the party in 1920. Absorbed by the Ideological Department in 1988. The term agitprop means the use of mass media to mobilize the public to accomplish the regime’s demands.

Otzovisty

The fraction expelled in 1909 from the Bolshevik ranks, so called because of its demand to recall (otozvat’) the Social Democratic M.P.s from the Duma.

obkom

Regional (Party) Committee.

oblast

A territorial and administrative subdivision in ten of the fifteen union republics. Directly subordinate to its union republic. See also autonomous oblast.

oblispolkom

Regional executive committee.

okrug

Administrative area, subdivided into oblasts and further into raions.

oktiabriny

The revolutionary birth ceremonies designed in 1920-1924 to replace the religious ceremony of baptism (krestiny in Russian).

POUMists

Trotskyite party of the Loyalist Opposition to the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War, eventually repressed by the Communists under Soviet influence.

PUWP

Polish United Workers’ Party. The official Eastern-bloc era Communist Party of Poland.

Pale of Settlement

A district created by Catherine II in 1792 for the Jewish population of the Russian Empire. By the nineteenth century, it encompassed all of Russian Poland, the Baltic provinces, Belorussia, most of Ukraine, crimea, and Bessarabia. Jews were prohibited from living or traveling beyond the Pale of Settlement. Although eventually some Jews were allowed to settle in other parts of the empire, the Russian census of 1897 indicated that nearly 5 million Jews remained in the Pale of Settlement and only about 200,000 lived outside its boundaries.

Palekh

City in north-central Russia where decorative black lacquered boxes have been produced since early twentieth century.

Pamyat

Memory; name of right-wing, antisemitic organization founded in late 1980s to oppose Gorbachev’s reforms.

Partido Obrero de Unificacion Marxista

Trotskyite party of the Loyalist Opposition to the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War, eventually repressed by the Communists under Soviet influence.

Party Congress

In theory, the ruling body of the communist party. Party congresses, which usually met every five years, were largely ceremonial and legitimizing events at which several thousand “elected” delegates convened to approve new party programs and Party Rules.

Party cell

The basic unit of the party, known as a party cell until 1934; comprised of three or more party members. Each party member is a member of a primary party organization.

Patriarch

Head of an independent Orthodox Church, such as the Russian Orthodox Church, or one of the Eastern Rite Catholic churches.

People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan

The ruling party of Afghanistan during its period of Soviet tutelage.

People’s court

One of the first attempts to develop a proletarian form of justice after the Revolution. An official tribunal having jurisdiction in most civil and criminal cases originating in a (raion). The court was presided over by a professional judge, assisted by two people’s assessors (narodnye zasedatelei), or lay judges. Cases were decided by a majority vote. Professional judges were elected for five-year terms and were members of the CPSU; most had some legal training. People’s assessors, who had no legal training, were elected for two and one-half years but sat only for a few weeks; they corresponded somewhat to jurors in United States courts.

Peoples’ Commissariat

Ministerial level of government until 1946, a term based on the ideological distinctions of the “democratic” Soviet government.

Peredelkino

Artists’ and writers’ colony in the Moscow suburbs.

Peredvizhniki

he Wanderers: an artistic movement of 1870s that promoted realist painting; included such artists as IIlya Repin (1844-1930), Vasily Surikov (1848-1916), Vasily Perov (1834-1882), and Ivan Kramskoy (1837-1887).

Permanent revolution

A theory, developed by Leon Trotsky, that in a backward society, such as that of Russia in the early 1900s, a bourgeois revolution would evolve into a proletarian, socialist revolution and would inspire the continuous or permanent outbreak of socialist revolutions internationally. Continuing world revolution remained a doctrine of the CPSU in the late 1980s.

Peshawar Seven

The Peshawar Seven were the seven resistance organizations fighting against the Soviet invasion. After the withdrawal of Soviet troops, these same organizations continued to fight among themselves for control of the country.

Pioneer

A member of the All-Union Pioneer Organization named for Lenin. Founded in 1922, and open to children ages ten to fifteen, the main purpose of the organization was the rudimentary political education of Soviet youth. At age fourteen, a Pioneer could enter the Komsomol. In 1980 about 20 million children were members of the Pioneer organization.

Polish United Workers’ Party

The official Eastern-bloc era Communist Party of Poland.

Politbiuro; Politbureau

Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPSU; the foremost policy-making body of the Soviet Union. In February 1989, the Politburo had twelve members and eight candidate members. From 1952 to 1966, the Politburo was called the Presidium.

Political Educational Committee

The division of Narkompros set up under the leadership of Nadezhda Krupskaia in 1921 to direct all political-educational work. Politprosvet housed many adherents of a more politicized approach to culture that helped undermine the authority of Anatolii Lunacharskii within the Commissariat.

Politotdel

The ideological sector of the Soviet army, responsible for conducting the work of the party.

Politprosvet

The division of Narkompros set up under the leadership of Nadezhda Krupskaia in 1921 to direct all political-educational work. Politprosvet housed many adherents of a more politicized approach to culture that helped undermine the authority of Anatolii Lunacharskii within the Commissariat.

Polska zjednoczona partia robotnicza (PZPR)

The official Eastern-bloc era Communist Party of Poland.

Popular Front

A device of Soviet foreign policy, implemented with the assistance of the Comintern, that attempted to gain allies, principally the Western democracies, against the fascists in Spain, Germany, and elsewhere, from 1939 through World War II.

Potemkin village

Attempt to deceive by presenting appearance of prosperity; named after General G. A. Potemkin, an erstwhile favorite of Catherine II.

Potsdam Conference

Meeting of the “Big Three” (Stalin, Truman, and Atlee) to work out post-war configuration of Europe.

Prague Spring

Period of attempts to institute political and economic reforms in Czechoslovakia, led by communist party First Secretary Alexander Dubcek, in 1968. The Soviet Union and four Warsaw Pact allies responded by invading Czechoslovakia and forcing Dubcek out of power.

Pravda

(Truth). The leading Soviet state newspaper and organ of the CPSU Central Committee. Focus was on information and education. Offered its readers well-written articles and analyses on science, economics, cultural topics, and literature. Included letters from readers and officially sponsored and approved materials to indoctrinate and inform its readers on Communist theory and programs. Was frequently the bellwether for important changes in policies. Circulation estimated at 12 million copies daily; estimated readership 20 million.

Presidium (of the Communist Party)

The CPSU Politbiuro was called the Presidium between 1952 and 1966.

Presidium (of the Council of Ministers)

The executive committee of the national executive branch of the government.

Presidium (of the Supreme Soviet)

The executive committee of the national legislative branch of the government.

Procurator

A member of the Procuracy whose responsibilities can include conducting investigations, supervising investigations carried out by the MVD and the KGB, prosecuting criminal and civil offenders, referring judicial decisions to higher courts for review, supervising prisons, administering parole and release of prisoners, and overseeing the legality of operations of all government bodies. Procurators, who were appointed by the procurator general and served throughout the Soviet Union, were generally members of the CPSU and subject to party discipline. During the tsarist period, Peter the Great appointed a chief procurator as head of the Holy Synod.

Proletarian internationalism

The Marxist belief that workers around the world are linked together by a bond that transcends nationalism; the commitment of communists to do all they can to convert the world to communism.

Proletkino

The film branch of Proletkult, where Sergei Eisenstein, among others, got his start.

Proletkult

Proletarian culture movement initiated before 1917 and assuming semi-official status in early Soviet period; it was closed by Lenin in 1922.

Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion

Spurious document created by antisemites in 1890s to create impression of a worldwide Zionist conspiracy to control finances and goverments.

Provisional Government

Formed by the Duma in March 1917 to govern Russia until a Constitution could be written; overthrown in the October Revolution.

Pulkovo

Site of astronomical observatory located 19 kms. south of Leningrad; founded in 1839.

Putilov Factory

Russia’s largest factory in the late ninteenth century producing machines and armaments; renamed Red Putilov after the 1917 revolution and Kirov Factory in 1934.

parandzha

Traditional veil worn by some Muslim women in Central Asia. Removing the parandzha was a contested sign of modernization and Sovietization in those cultures.

partiinost

Party-mindedness, which in practice usually meant political orthodoxy.

party rules; Ustav kommunisticheskoi partii Sovetskogo Soiuza

CPSU document containing regulations for admission of individuals into the CPSU; the organizational structure of the party; the principles of democratic centralism(q.v.); the role of the primary party organization; the party’s relations with the Komsomol; party organizations in the armed forces; and membership dues. It can be altered by the party congress.

party statute

CPSU document containing regulations for admission of individuals into the CPSU; the organizational structure of the party; the principles of democratic centralism(q.v.); the role of the primary party organization; the party’s relations with the Komsomol; party organizations in the armed forces; and membership dues. It can be altered by the party congress.

peaceful coexistence

The doctrine of maintaining proper state-to-state relations between socialist and capitalist states, while simultaneously encouraging friction and strife within and among capitalist countries by every means, short of all-out war, and pursuing expansionist aims in the Third World. A policy associated with the rule of Nikita Khrushchev.

peasant correspondent

Voluntary stringers for newspapers analogous to worker correspondents in 1920s and 1930s.

perestroika

(Restructuring) Gorbachev’s campaign to revitalize the party, economy, and society by adjusting economic, political, and social mechanisms. Announced at Twenty-Seventh Party Congress in August 1986.

permafrost

Ground permanently frozen except for the surface soils that thaw when temperatures rise above freezing. Thawing and refreezing cause instability of the soil, which greatly complicates the construction and maintenance of roads, railroads, and buildings. Permafrost covers roughly the northern one-third of the Soviet landmass.

piatiletka

A comprehensive plan that sets the economic goals for a five- year period. Once the Soviet regime stipulated the plan figures, all levels of the economy, from individual enterprises to the national level, were obligated to meet those goals.

pirozhki

Baked or fried pies with a variety of fillings, including meat and onion, cabbage, potatoe or egg.

pochvenniki

Men of the soil, nineteenth-century thinkers who believed that Russia needed to follow its own organic path, rather than adopting western models of life.

political section

The ideological sector of the Soviet army, responsible for conducting the work of the party.

pomeshchik

The petty landowner of the tsarist era who was despised by intellectuals, revolutionaries and peasants alike.

pood

Traditional Russian weight; 36.1 lb. or 16.4 kilograms.

primary party organization

The basic unit of the party, known as a party cell until 1934; comprised of three or more party members. Each party member is a member of a primary party organization.

prodovol’stvennye otriady

Food detachments, better known as Food Requisition Detachments, were groups of armed city workers who were organized either by trade unions or by individual factories and sent to food-surplus regions to requisition grain from the peasants. The organization of these detachments was authorized by the Soviet government on August 6, 1918.

propiska

Registration document attesting to right of residence in urban areas; the propiska was and still is used to control population movement in the Soviet Union and Russian Federation.

Quinquennium

A period of five years.

RAPM

(Russian Association of Proletarian Musicians) Cultural Revolution-era organization analogous to RAPP.

RAPP

(Russian Association of Proletarian Writers) The radical writers organization that helped enforce “proletarian” literary standards during the years of Cultural Revolution; predecessor of VAPP.

RGAE

Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv ekonomiki (Russian State Economic Archive). Holdings include documents from the central economic organs of the Soviet government from 1917-1991, including Gosplan, Goskomstat, and the Commissariat of Heavy Industry, all instrumental in the creation of the industrial revolution of the 1930s. Created in 1961 from documents held by TsGAOR, and named TsGANKh (Tsentral’nyi gosudarstvennyi arkhiv narodnogo khoziaistva), it was renamed RGAE in 1992.

RGALI

Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv literatury i iskusstva (Russian State Archive of Literature and Art). Documents from three centuries of Russian literature, social philosophy, music, theater, cinema and art are held here, classified either by institution or individual artist. Created in 1941 as the TsGLA (Tsentral’nyi gosudarstvennyi literaturnyi arkhiv, renamed TsGALI (Tsentral’nyi gosudarstvennyi arkhiv literaturoi i iskusstva) in 1954, and RGALI in 1992.

RGANI

Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv noveishei istorii (Russian State Archive of Recent History). Holdings include documents from the Soviet and Russian Communist Parties from 1952-1991, including central party organs and commissions, and documents from leading party members. The archive was created in October 1991 from documents seized from the Communist Party by the Russian Federation led by Boris Eltsin, and was called TsKhSD (Tsentr khraneniia sovremennoi dokumentatsii: Center for Preservation of Contemporary Documentation). It was renamed RGANI in 1999.

RGASPI

Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv sotsialno-politicheskoi istorii (Russian State Archive of Social and Political History). The archive holds documents concerning European political and social history from the 17th to the early 20th century; documents from the political and social history of Russia and the USSR from the late 19th century to the present; and documents from the history of the international workers movement, socialist and communists parties from the 1860s to the late 1980s. Created from the the former RTsKhIDNI.

RGVA

Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi voennyi arkhiv (Russian State Military Archive). Formerly TsGASA (Tsentral’nyi gosudarstvennyi arkiv Sovetskoi armii), and originally created in 1920 as the Arkhiv Krasnoi Armii (Red Army Archive). The archive holds documents from the Soviet and Russian armed forces, including the border guards and domestic forces, from 1918 to the present.

RKI

Worker-Peasant Inspectorate. Organ of state control over administrative bodies of the state (1920-34).

RKKA

Otherwise known as the Red Army.

RKP

Early name for the Bolsheviks during the Revolutionary Period, chosen to emphasize their representation of all working people, workers and peasants.

ROA

The army of Russians, mostly prisoners of war, commanded by General Vlasov and sponsored by German military authorities. Its soldiers were handed over the Soviet Army at the conclusion of the war, and most of its commanders executed.

ROSTA

Rossiiskoe telegrafnoe agenstvo (Russian Telegraph Agency). First press agency of the Soviet Russian government, 1918-25; replaced by TASS.

RSDLP

Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. A Marxist party founded in 1898 that split into Bolshevik (majority) and Menshevik (minority) factions in 1903. The Bolsheviks changed the name of the party in March 1918 to the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) and began calling themselves Communists. See also CPSU.

RSDRP

Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. A Marxist party founded in 1898 that split into Bolshevik (majority) and Menshevik (minority) factions in 1903. The Bolsheviks changed the name of the party in March 1918 to the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) and began calling themselves Communists. See also CPSU.

RSFSR

Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic; the Russian Republic. The largest of the fifteen union republics, inhabited predominantly by Russians. It comprised approximately 75 percent of the area of the Soviet Union, about 62 percent of its population, and over 60 percent of its economic output.

RTsKhIDNI

Rossiiskoe tsentral’noe khranenie izucheniia i dokumentatsii noveishei istorii (Russian Center for the Preservation and Study of Documents of Recent History). RTsKhIDNI from 1991-1999; from 1956-1991, TsPA IML, the (Communist Party Archive, Institute of Marxism-Leninism) (Tsentral’nyi partiinyi arkhiv Institututa marksizma-leninizma; now (since 1999) RGASPI. On August 24, 1991, in the wake of the putsch attempt, Russian president Boris Eltsin seized the Communist Party archives and nationalized them as RTsKhIDNI. In 1999 the archive was combined with the former Komsomol archives to become RGASPI. The archive holds documents concerning European political and social history from the 17th to the early 20th century; documents from the political and social history of Russia and the USSR from the late 19th century to the present; and documents from the history of the international workers movement, socialist and communists parties from the 1860s to the late 1980s.

Rabkrin

Worker-Peasant Inspectorate. Organ of state control over administrative bodies of the state (1920-34).

Raboche-krest’ianskaia partiia; Worker-Peasant Party (the Communists)

Early name for the Bolsheviks during the Revolutionary Period, chosen to emphasize their representation of all working people, workers and peasants.

Raboche-krest’ianskaia Krasnaia Armiia

Otherwise known as the Red Army.

Rabochee delo

First social democratic news paper in Russia. From 1898 to 1903 represented the official grouping of the S.D. party in emigration. The “struggle” referred to was between The Workers’ Cause and Iskra for recognition as the official Party organ.

Rabotnitsa

Worker Woman; a Bolshevik journal for women.

Rada

Ukrainian Central Rada. Government formed in 1917 in Kiev claiming authority in Ukraine; dissolved by Red Army, reinstated after Treaty of Brest-Litovsk but dissolved by the Germans later in 1918.

Rech’

(Speech). Newspaper of the Kadet (Constitutional Democratic) Party, which began publication in 1906 and was closed down by the Bolsheviks immediately after they took power in October 1917.

Red Army

The name for the Soviet army from 1918 until 1945.

Red Corner

The corner of a peasant reserved for the display of icons and other religious items. Capitalizing on the two meanings of the Russian word “krasnyi” (both beautiful and red), the Soviets encouraged kolkhoz peasants to arrange their own “Red Corners” devoted to pictures and the works of Lenin.

Red Terror

Initiated by the Bolsheviks after an August 1918 attempt on Lenin’s life. The bloody reign of the Vecheka, during which the nation was ruthlessly subjugated to the Bolshevik will. The Red Terror continued until 1920.

Revanchist

Soviet parlance for West German views that endorsed the reunification of the two post-war Germanys.

Revolutionary Military Council

Formed in the days before the October Revolution to coordinate the seizure of power, the Revvoensovet continued to be an important director of armed might during the Civil War.

Revolutionary defensism

Doctrine of Mensheviks and some SRS during WWI that opposed imperialist aims of Tsarist government but supported defense of Russian territory.

Revvoensovet

Formed in the days before the October Revolution to coordinate the seizure of power, the Revvoensovet continued to be an important director of armed might during the Civil War.

Right deviators

Label used to condemn Bukharin, Tomsky, and other opponents of rapid industrialization and collectivization (1928-29).

Rightist deviation

Label used to condemn Bukharin, Tomsky, and other opponents of rapid industrialization and collectivization (1928-29).

Rossiiskaia Sovetskaia Federativnaia Sotsialisticheskaia Respublika

Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic; the Russian Republic. The largest of the fifteen union republics, inhabited predominantly by Russians. It comprised approximately 75 percent of the area of the Soviet Union, about 62 percent of its population, and over 60 percent of its economic output.

Rossiiskaia sotsial-demokraticheskaia rabochaia partiia

Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. A Marxist party founded in 1898 that split into Bolshevik (majority) and Menshevik (minority) factions in 1903. The Bolsheviks changed the name of the party in March 1918 to the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) and began calling themselves Communists. See also CPSU.

Rukh

Organization founded in late 1980s originally to promote Ukrainian culture but eventually to promote Ukrainian independence from the USSR.

Rus’

Ancient name of the first state in the lands that would become the Slavic parts of the Soviet Union, with its capital in Kiev.

Russian Empire

Successor state to Muscovy. Formally proclaimed by Tsar Peter the Great in 1721 and significantly expanded during the reign of Catherine II, becoming a major multinational state. It collapsed during the revolutions of 1917.

Russian Federation

Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic; the Russian Republic. The largest of the fifteen union republics, inhabited predominantly by Russians. It comprised approximately 75 percent of the area of the Soviet Union, about 62 percent of its population, and over 60 percent of its economic output.

Russianization

The policy of several Soviet regimes promoting Russian as the national language of the Soviet Union. Russian was given equal and official status with local languages in all non-Russian republics; it was made the official language of state and diplomatic affairs, in the armed forces, and on postage stamps, currency, and military and civilian decorations. A prerequisite for Russification.

Russification

A process of changing the national identity of non-Russians to an identity culturally similar to that of the Russians. Although not the official policy of any Soviet regime, such assimilation often resulted from the policy of Russianization, particularly in the case of Ukrainians, Belorussians, and non-Russian educated elites.

Russkaia osvoboditel’naia armiia

The army of Russians, mostly prisoners of war, commanded by General Vlasov and sponsored by German military authorities. Its soldiers were handed over the Soviet Army at the conclusion of the war, and most of its commanders executed.

rabfak

Educational institution in 1920s and ’30s to prepare workers for academic study.

rabkor

Voluntary stringers for Soviet newspapers, intended to introduce the voice of the people in the Soviet press. A string of murders and other scandals involving corruption uncovered by rabkors brought the movement to an end in the 1930s.

rabochii

Worker.

rabochii fakul’tet

Educational institution in 1920s and ’30s to prepare workers for academic study. (Russian acronym: rabfak.)

rabochii korrespondent

Voluntary stringers for Soviet newspapers, intended to introduce the voice of the people in the Soviet press. A string of murders and other scandals involving corruption uncovered by rabkors brought the movement to an end in the 1930s.

rabotiaga

Working stiff, a derogatory term referring to a relatively uneducated Soviet worker.

raiispolkom

District (local) executive committee.

raikom

Raionnyi komitet, or District Party committee.

raion

A low-level territorial and administrative subdivision for rural and municipal administration. A rural raion was a county-sized district in a krai, oblast, autonomous republic, autonomous okrug, or union republic. A city raion was similar to a borough in some large cities in the United States.

refusenik

Would-be Soviet Jewish emigres who were denied permission to leave USSR and lived in limbo in 1970s.

rehabilitation

Official exoneration of a person or group of people sentenced and imprisoned or exiled for political crimes.

rodina

Motherland – a word of great emotional important for Soviet Russians from the mid-1930s, and particularly during the Great Patriotic War. Although contrary to the official internationalism of the Communist movement, Stalin and his successors often used this word to refer to the Soviet Union.

SALT

Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. A series of negotiations between the Soviet Union and the United States that attempted to place limits and restraints on some of their central and most important armaments. The first series began in November 1969 and culminated on May 26, 1972, when General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev and President Richard M. Nixon signed a treaty on the limitation of anti-ballistic missile systems (the ABM Treaty) and an interim agreement limiting strategic offensive arms. The second series began in November 1972 and resulted in a completed agreement, signed by General Secretary Brezhnev and President Jimmy Cartor on June 18, 1979. Neither country, however, ratified the agreement.

SNK

The first central institution of the Soviet state, formed immediately after the October Revolution to coordinate the work of the various commissariats. The Sovnarkom had an overlapping and sometimes conflicting mandate with other important Soviet institutions such as the Party, the military, and various economic councils. Renamed the Council of Ministers in 1946.

SRs

Peasant Party. Founded in 1900. It split in 1917 into right and left factions. The left SRs supported the Bolsheviks until March 1918.

SSR

One of the fifteen primary administrative subdivisions of the Soviet Union. Except for some of the smaller ones, the union republics were divided into oblasts, autonomous oblasts, kraia, and autonomous republics as major subdivisions.

SSRA

Soviet Socialist Republic of Armenia.

SSSR

The union of socialist republics formed by the Union Treaty of 1924; successor state to the RSFSR. It embodied the dual principles that socialism meant the unity of all peoples; but that the socialist state must respect the differences between nationalities.

STO

Organ of SNK created in April 1920 to coordinate affairs of economic commissariats and defense. Abolished in 1937.

Sajudis

Lithuanian popular front organized in 1988 to promote independence of Lithuania from USSR.

Samarkand

One of the centers of Central Asian Muslim culture, located in Uzbekistan.

Scissors

Metaphor to describe imbalance of prices between agricultural and industrial goods in 1923-4.

Scythians

An ancient people of the Crimea, who flourished from the 8th to the 4th cent. B.C.E. They spoke an Indo-Iranian language but had no system of writing. They were nomadic conquerors and skilled horsemen. The so-called Royal Scyths established a kingdom in the E Crimea before the 9th cent. B.C.E.

Second Congress

2nd Congress of Russian Social Democratic Workers’ Party, held in Brussels and London, 1903, at which the split occurred dividing the party into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.

Second International

The organization of Social Democratic Parties as distinguished from the Third or Communist International.

Sejm

Parliment in such Baltic-region countries as Poland, Latvia, and Finland.

Sevpechat

Northern Press, the main Petrograd and then Leningrad printing press in the 1920s.

Shakhty

In 1928 the first of the “industrial trials” of wreckers took place, in which the “wrecker”-engineers of the Shakhty coal mines were convicted of industrial sabotage.

Shariah

Code of Islamic law defining daily social customs.

Sigurantsa

Romanium political-security police in pre-communist times.

Slavophiles

Members of the Russian intelligentsia in the mid- nineteenth century who advocated Slavic, and specifically Russian, culture over western European culture, as opposed to Westernizers.

SmerSH

The acronym SmerSh meant “Death to Spies” and referred to units whose role was to uncover people spying for foreign powers. Secret police were especially numerous in the infantry, the most dangerous branch of service and the one that contained the greatest number of men who were in prison for “political crimes” before being released to fight the Germans.

Smert’ shpionam

The acronym SmerSh meant “Death to Spies” and referred to units whose role was to uncover people spying for foreign powers. Secret police were especially numerous in the infantry, the most dangerous branch of service and the one that contained the greatest number of men who were in prison for “political crimes” before being released to fight the Germans.

Smolnyi Institute

Headquarters of the Bolsheviks during the revolutionary events of 1917.

Sobor

A church convocation, representing the body of Orthodox worshippers, convened for all major decisions concerning the governance of the church and theology.

Socialist Revolutionaries

Peasant Party. Founded in 1900. It split in 1917 into right and left factions. The left SRs supported the Bolsheviks until March 1918.

Socialist realism

An aesthetic doctrine that measured artistic and literary merit by the degree to which a work contributed to the building of socialism among the masses.

Soiuz sovetskikh sotsialisticheskikh respublik

The union of socialist republics formed by the Union Treaty of 1924; successor state to the RSFSR. It embodied the dual principles that socialism meant the unity of all peoples; but that the socialist state must respect the differences between nationalities.

Soiuzkhleb

Union Grain: the state grain purchaser and distributor.

Sokolniki

District of Moscow; site of an amusement park.

Sotsialisticheskaia industriia

(Socialist Industry) A daily newspaper (except Sundays) published by the Central Committee from 1969, concentrated on industrial and economic events in the Soviet Union and abroad, statistics, and human interest stories. At its peak in the mid-1970s, the paper had a print run of 900,000.

Sovdepiia

Perjorative reference to the earliest Soviet order, and its somewhat informal methods of constituent government.

Soviet Thermidor

Eleventh month of the French Revolutionary calendar. The coup of 9 Thermidor (July 27, 1794) marked the downfall of Robespierre and the end of the Reign of Terror. For the revolutionary calender, see the entry for Messidor.

Soviet Union, The

The union of socialist republics formed by the Union Treaty of 1924; successor state to the RSFSR. It embodied the dual principles that socialism meant the unity of all peoples; but that the socialist state must respect the differences between nationalities.

Soviet of Labor and Defense

Organ of SNK created in April 1920 to coordinate affairs of economic commissariats and defense. Abolished in 1937.

Soviet of People’s Commissars

The first central institution of the Soviet state, formed immediately after the October Revolution to coordinate the work of the various commissariats. The Sovnarkom had an overlapping and sometimes conflicting mandate with other important Soviet institutions such as the Party, the military, and various economic councils. Renamed the Council of Ministers in 1946.

Soviet socialist republic

One of the fifteen primary administrative subdivisions of the Soviet Union. Except for some of the smaller ones, the union republics were divided into oblasts, autonomous oblasts, kraia, and autonomous republics as major subdivisions.

Sovinformbiuro

The official Soviet press agency during the years of the Second World War.

Sovnarkom

The first central institution of the Soviet state, formed immediately after the October Revolution to coordinate the work of the various commissariats. The Sovnarkom had an overlapping and sometimes conflicting mandate with other important Soviet institutions such as the Party, the military, and various economic councils. Renamed the Council of Ministers in 1946.

Spartakiad

Spartacus Games. Soviet-organized sporting competition that celebrated proletarian values rather than the stratified “Olympian” values of the more famous games. Named in honor of the slave rebel Spartacus, the Spartacus Games lapsed once Soviet teams began to participate in the Olympics.

Special Section

The Special Section was a division of the secret police entrusted with uncovering and crushing “internal enemies.” Secret police, which included SmerSH as well as the Special Section, were especially numerous in the infantry, the most dangerous branch of service and the one that contained the greatest number of men who were in prison for “political crimes” before being released to fight the Germans.

Sputniki

Term coined by Trotsky in his 1923 LITERATURE AND REVOLUTION for the talented writers who pursued their own creative paths, but were not hostile to the Bolsheviks. Many of the fellow travellers were in fact sympathetic to Bolshevik policies in the mid-1920s, though some would later suffer under the Stalinist literary establishment.

Stakhanovite

A worker whose output was said to be well beyond production norms. Named for Aleksandr Stakhanov, an outstanding worker. The Stakhanovite movement began in August 1935.

Stalin’s Six Conditions

Speech given in June 1931 laying out conditions for economic advancement.

Stuttgart Congress

Congress of the socialist Second International held in 1907.

Subcarpathian Ruthenia

An area historically belonging to Hungary but, attached to Czechoslovakia from 1918 to October 1938. In October 1938, Carpatho-Ukraine became autonomous, and in March 1939, it became independent as Subcarpathian Ruthenia. But Hungary occupied it nine days later and after World War II, ceded the area to the Soviet Union. Populated mostly by Ukrainians, who, prior to World War II, were sometimes referred to as Ruthenians.

Supreme Council of the National Economy; Supreme Board of National Economy; All-Russian Council of t

State body with responsibility for administering economy, created in December 1917 and subdivided in 1932 into Commissariats of Heavy Industry, Light Industry, and Forestry. (English: Supreme Economic Council; Russian: Vesenkha.)

Supreme Economic Council

State body with responsibility for administering economy, created in December 1917 and subdivided in 1932 into Commissariats of Heavy Industry, Light Industry, and Forestry.

Synod; Holy Assembly

Chief tsarist state administrative body with responsibility for oversight of Russian Orthodox Church; the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Russian Church stood at the head of Church administration.

samizdat

Literally, self-publication. Russian word for the printing and circulating of literary, political, and other written manuscripts without passing them through the official censor, thus making them unauthorized and illegal. If published abroad, such publications were called tamizdat. Samizdat was a mainstay of communication within the dissident community from the mid-1960s to the late 1980s.

samodeiatel’nost

Organized amateur arts activity.

samofinansirovanie

Literally, self-financing. A practice of some ministries enabling selected enterprises to recover production costs and sufficient profits for investment. Without such financial autonomy, enterprises had to rely on funds allocated by central economic planners.

samogon

Home-brew liquor.

sazhen

Fathom (7 feet), traditional Russian unit for land measurement.

sblizhenie

Literally, drawing together. A Soviet policy of bringing the diverse nationalities into a close socialist community by gradually reducing ethnic differences of individual nationalities. The policy was included in the 1961 party program.

sel’kor

Voluntary stringers for newspapers analogous to worker correspondents in 1920s and 1930s.

sharia; Shar’ia; Shariat

Code of Islamic law defining daily social customs.

shashlik

Spitted and grilled lamb, traditional to cultures of the Caucasus region, but beloved by Russians as well.

shefstvo

(Patronage) sponsorship of one organization or institution of another with the aim of assisting in improving its performance; often an instrument of creating Party control over institutions that were difficult to integrate into the Soviet system.

shock worker; udarnik

A worker whose output was said to be well beyond production norms. Named for Aleksandr Stakhanov, an outstanding worker. The Stakhanovite movement began in August 1935.

shtetl

Village in the Jewish Pale of Settlement, the region in Ukraine and Belorussia to which Jewish settlement was confined in tsarist Russia.

skhod

Assembly of village communal elders.

sliianie

Literally, blending, merging. A theory that all Soviet nationalities could be merged into one by eliminating ethnic identity and national consciousness. Adopted by Stalin and included in the 1930 party program, its intent was to achieve a single Russian-speaking, Soviet nationality.

smuta

Period of civil war in Muscovy between boyar factions from 1598 to 1613, with heavy Polish involvement.

smychka

(Link.) Unequal economic relations between town and country during the civil war continued to threaten the Soviet state after the war. Little agricultural produce reached the cities, where population had dwindled. The production of manufactured goods such as clothing and farm implements which might have induced peasants to produce surpluses for urban consumption plummeted. NEP was dedicated essentially to reestablishing this link (smychka) on the basis of market relations.

socialism

According to Marxism-Leninism, the first phase of communism. A transition from capitalism in which the means of production are state owned and whose guiding principle was “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his work.” Soviet socialism bore scant resemblance to the democratic socialism of, for example, someWest European countries.

socialist legality

A legal doctrine that ensured that the law and the legal system served the interests of the state and the regime rather than protecting individuals’ rights vis-ú-vis the state. Under Stalin, the doctrine was interpreted narrowly, with emphasis on facilitating fulfillment of the economic five-year plans. Under Khrushchev, and particularly under Gorbachev, emphasis was placed on codifying criminal and civil laws, establishing and strengthening legal institutions, and adhering to laws and legal procedures.

sovet deputatov; sovdep

Soviet of [Workers’ and Soldiers’] Deputies. One of the earliest form of Soviet government, which various groups (military units, factory committees, etc.) sending deputies to a Soviet that then constituted itself.

soviet

Literally, advice, counsel, or council. The basic governmental organ at all levels of the Soviet Union. The Leninist slogan “All power to the Soviets” was a keynote of democratism, handing all state power to local units of government. It was eventually superseded by the centralism associated with Soviet rule.

sovkhoz

(Sovetskoe khoziaistvo) A government-owned and government-managed agricultural enterprise where workers were paid salaries.

spets

Abbreviation for specialist, often implying bourgeois social background

spetsnaz

Special-Purpose Forces of the Soviet armed forces or KGB, trained to attack important command, communications, and weapons centers behind enemy lines. The only reliable riot control units available to Soviet authorities in the last years of the Union.

sputnik

Literally, satellite or fellow traveler. A man-made spacecraft that orbited the earth. In the West, the term Sputnik (capitalized) was used to refer to the first man-made earth satellite, which was launched by the Soviet Union in 1957 to the surprise of the Western scientific and defense communities.

sredniak

Middle or ‘average’ peasant, as opposed to the bedniak (poor peasant), and kulak (well-off peasant). Self-sufficient and did not hire out labor.

stagnation

The Gorbachev-era code reference to the years of Leonid Brezhnev’s rule as party chief, when economic growth slowed, and an atmosphere of cultural illiberalism reigned.

stanitsa

Village in the Cossack regions.

staroobriadtsy

A sect of the Russian Orthodox Church that rejected the changes made by Patriarch Nikon in the mid-seventeenth century.

state farm

(Sovetskoe khoziaistvo) A government-owned and government-managed agricultural enterprise where workers were paid salaries.

statenik

Young person in the 1950s and ’60s who imitated American fashions and attitudes.

stavka

The general headquarters of the army.

stilyaga

Soviet youth of the early 1950s who were somewhat scandalously concerned with the style of their clothing.

subbotnik

Working for a day in the interests of society without pay, almost always on a day off. From “subbota,” the Russian word for Sunday.

szlachta

Polish nobility.

TASS

Telegrafnoe agentstvo Sovetskogo Soiuza (Soviet Wire Agency). Established in 1925 on the basis of ROSTA, TASS was the central agency for collection and distribution of internal and international news for all Soviet news media. The agency had a monopoly on collecting and distributing news within the Soviet Union. TASS also served as the official news agency of the Soviet Union abroad, with bureaus in 110 countries. Its news reports were translated into eight foreign languages.

TRAM

Experimental movement of the late 1920s whose goal was to create theaters for young workers that spoke of their interests and needs. TRAM spokesmen often epxressed great hostility towards traditional theaters and genres.

TSSR

Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic.

Tartu Peace Treaty

Signed between Russian and Estonia in 1920, acknowledging Estonia’s independence. Within a year, Estonia was a member of the League of Nations.

Taylor system

Invented by American engineer, Frederick Winslow Taylor to “scientifically” manage labor; aspects adopted in USSR in 1920s and ’30s.

Theater of Worker Youth

Experimental movement of the late 1920s whose goal was to create theaters for young workers that spoke of their interests and needs. TRAM spokesmen often epxressed great hostility towards traditional theaters and genres.

Thermidor

Eleventh month of the French Revolutionary calendar. The coup of 9 Thermidor (July 27, 1794) marked the downfall of Robespierre and the end of the Reign of Terror. For the revolutionary calender, see the entry for Messidor.

Tiflis

Old name for Tblisi, capital of the Georgian Republic.

Time of Troubles

Period of civil war in Muscovy between boyar factions from 1598 to 1613, with heavy Polish involvement.

Togliatti

City named after Italian Communist; site of a major automobile plant that began production in 1972.

Trans-Siberian Railway

The 7,000-kilometer railroad line, stretching from its western terminus at Chelyabinsk on the eastern slopes of the Ural Mountains to Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean, was built between 1891 and 1916 to link the European part of Russia with Siberia and the Far East. In the late 1980s, the Trans-Siberian Railway informally consisted of several Soviet railroads that remained the only rail link between the western part of the Soviet Union and the Soviet Far East until the BAM was opened in 1989.

Treaty of Versailles

Signed at the Paris Peace Conference, June 1919, dictating peace terms ending World War I. Harsh terms imposed by the Allies on Germany were cited as a major factor in the rise of Adolf Hitler and genesis of World War II.

Truman Doctrine

Proclaimed by US President in 1947 to commit US to defense of Turkey against possible Soviet aggression.

TsIK

Central Executive Committee. All-Russian, later All-Union executive arm of the Soviet government, the effective ruling body of the Soviet governmental system.

TsK

Central ruling body of the Soviet Communist Party. Membership in the Central Committee was a mark of the highest Soviet elite. The business of the Central Committee was directed by the Politburo in the periods between its congresses.

TsKhDMO

Tsentral’noe khranenie dokumentov molodezhnykh organizatsii (Center for Preservation of Documents of Youth Organizations). Created in 1992 from the former Central Archive of the Komsomol (Tsental’nyi arkhiv VLKSM), which was created in 1965. Since 1999 incorporated into RGASPI.

TsKhSD

Tsentr khraneniia sovremennoi dokumentatsii (Center for Preservation of Contemporary Documentation). Now RGANI.

TsPA

Tsentral’nyi partiinyi arkhiv (Central Party Archive). Documents of the Soviet Communist Party were held here, and kept from the public as documents of a private organization, until they were seized by the government of the Russian Federation on August 24, 1991 and placed in RTsKhIDNI.

TsSU

Central Statistics Department of the government.

Tsaritsyn

City on the Volga; renamed Stalingrad in 1925 and Volgograd in 1961.

Tsarskoe selo

Settlement outside of Petersburg, called Pushkin during Soviet times, home to the magnificent Summer Palace built by Catherine the Great. Tsarskoe selo was home to the famous lyceum founded by Tsar Aleksandr I, where the young Pushkin studied and wrote his first verses. Tsarskoe selo figured prominently in the life of poetess Anna Akhmatova, and was a important image in the work of many Petersburg and Leningrad poets.”

Tsentral’noe statisticheskoe upravlenie

Central Statistics Department of the government.

Tsentral’nyi komitet

Central ruling body of the Soviet Communist Party. Membership in the Central Committee was a mark of the highest Soviet elite. The business of the Central Committee was directed by the Politburo in the periods between its congresses.

Tukhachevskii Affair

Arrest and execution of Marshal of the Soviet Union in 1937.

TurkSSR

Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic.

Twenty-five-thousanders

Workers recruited by the trade unions and party to organize collective farms during the collectivization drive of the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Two Thousand Words Manifesto

Manifesto signed by Czechoslovak reformers in 1968, including some Central Committee members. It called for “democratization,” the re-establishment of the Social Democratic Party, and the setting up of citizens’ committees. The manifesto was a more radical alternative to the Communist Party’s April Action Program, and was rejected by the political leadership (including Dubcek).

tachanka

Mounted machine gun instrumental in the cavalry battles of the Civil War. The tachanka remained an important part of the Soviet arsenal until the Second World War, when it proved insufficient against German armored might.

taiga

The extensive, sub-Arctic evergreen forest of the Soviet Union. The taiga, the largest of the five primary natural zones, lies south of the turdra.

technical intelligentsia

Corps of engineers trained for Soviet industry.

technicum

Higher technical school.

tovarishch

Comrade, the “correct,” non-hierarchical form of address between party members and many other Soviet citizens.

transmission belt

An organization, not formally part of the CPSU apparatus, used by the party to convey its party program and propaganda to the population at large, for example, Soviet trade unions.

trudoden’

Method of payment to collective farmers based on gradated occupational category and number of days worked per year. (English: labor day; Russian: trudoden’.)

trust

An economic entity that consists of several industrial enterprises of the same type, e.g., construction trust, assembly trust; often functioned as monopolies.

tselina

An intensive but ultimately unsuccessful agricultural project directed by Nikita Khrushchev to raise crops in the vast grasslands of the Kazakh Republic and some neighboring areas of the Russian Republic that had never been farmed before.

turnover tax

A sales tax levied primarily on consumer goods.

UNKVD

Ukrainian NKVD.

USPD

Independent Social-Democratic Party of Germany in the years following the First World War.

USSR

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

UkSSR

Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

Uniate Church

A branch of the Catholic Church that preserved the Eastern Rite and discipline but submitted to papal authority. Established in 1596 at the Union of Brest. In the Soviet Union, the Uriate Church is found primarily in the western Ukrainian Republic, where it has been referred to as the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Also known as the Greek Catholic Church or the Byzantine Rite Church.

Union Treaty

Drafted in 1991 to reconfigure relations between Soviet republics and Moscow; adoption aborted by coup of August 1991.

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

The union of socialist republics formed by the Union Treaty of 1924; successor state to the RSFSR. It embodied the dual principles that socialism meant the unity of all peoples; but that the socialist state must respect the differences between nationalities.

Union of the Russian People

The Union, called the Black Hundreds by their opponents, were right-wing, proto-fascist extremist organization that took as its mission the maintenance of the truest traditions of the Russian people. Made the first extensive use of the ‘pogrom’ as a form of organized anti-Semitic terror.

Ustasi

Wartime Croatian government that collaborated with Yugoslavia’s German occupiers.

UzSSR

Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic.

ukase

Official edict or decree, used in the absence of a legislature or popular mandate.

ukaz

Official edict or decree, used in the absence of a legislature or popular mandate.

union republic

One of the fifteen primary administrative subdivisions of the Soviet Union. Except for some of the smaller ones, the union republics were divided into oblasts, autonomous oblasts, kraia, and autonomous republics as major subdivisions.

uskorenie

Under Gorbachev, an on-going effort to speed up the rate of growth and modernization of the economy.

uyezd

Parish or county: tsarist administrative area, comparable to the Soviet-era okrug.

VAPP

Vserossiiskaia assotsiatsiia proletarskikh pisatelei (All-Russian Association of Proletarian Writers). Cultural Revolution-era organization promoting “proletarian” literature.

VASKhNIL

Home academy of Trofim Lysenko, the biologist who dominated scientific life after the war and whose hostility to Mendelian genetics destroyed the Soviet biological sciences.

VChK; Vserossiiskaia chrezvychainaia komissiia po bor’be s kontrrevoliutsiei i sabotazhem (All-Russian Emergency Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage) 

The political police created by the Bolsheviks in 1917; supposed to be dissolved when the new regime, under Lenin, had defeated its enemies and secured its power. But the Vecheka, also known as the Cheka, continued until 1922, becoming the leading instrument of terror and oppression as well as the predecessor of other secret police organizations. Members of successor security organizations continued to be referred to as “Chekisty” in the late 1980s.

VDNKh

(Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy). Exhibition grounds in Moscow for display of economic achievements, opened in 1939 as the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition.

VKPD

Communist Party of Germany in the years following the First World War.

VOGPU

Ob”edinennoe gosudarstvennoe politicheskoe upravlenie ([All-Russian] Unified State Political Directorate). The security police from 1923 to 1934; successor to the GPU.

VSNKh

State body with responsibility for administering economy, created in December 1917 and subdivided in 1932 into Commissariats of Heavy Industry, Light Industry, and Forestry. (English: Supreme Economic Council.)

VTsIK; Tsentral’nyi ispolnitel’nyi komitet

All-Russian, later All-Union executive arm of the Soviet government, the effective ruling body of the Soviet governmental system.

VTsSPS

All-Russian Central Council of Trade Unions; All-Russian Council of Trade Unions.

VUZ

Vysshee uchebnoe zavedenie; institution of higher learning.

Veche

The open town meetings convened in independent Novogorod in the centuries before Muscovite rule (approx. 11th to 14th c.).

Vecherniaia Moskva

(Evening Moscow). Gossipy evening paper beloved by Muscovites, and affectionly called Vechork. Published from 1923 to the present. Originally sponsored by the Mossovet and Moscow party organization, the fact that it was an evening paper made it seem more “bourgeois,” inclined to scandal and sensationalism.

Vechorka

(Evening Moscow). Gossipy evening paper beloved by Muscovites, and affectionly called Vechork. Published from 1923 to the present. Originally sponsored by the Mossovet and Moscow party organization, the fact that it was an evening paper made it seem more “bourgeois,” inclined to scandal and sensationalism.

Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta RSFSR

(Bulletin of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic) Official publication conveying the laws, decrees and official acts of the Supreme Soviet, the highest legislative organ of power, first of the Russian republic, and of the Soviet government after 1922. The Supreme Soviet of each republic also published its own Vedomosti. Publication in the Vedomosti gave legal power to any legislative act.

Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR, Vedomosti

(Bulletin of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic) Official publication conveying the laws, decrees and official acts of the Supreme Soviet, the highest legislative organ of power, first of the Russian republic, and of the Soviet government after 1922. The Supreme Soviet of each republic also published its own Vedomosti. Publication in the Vedomosti gave legal power to any legislative act.

Vesenkha

State body with responsibility for administering economy, created in December 1917 and subdivided in 1932 into Commissariats of Heavy Industry, Light Industry, and Forestry.

Virgin Lands

An intensive but ultimately unsuccessful agricultural project directed by Nikita Khrushchev to raise crops in the vast grasslands of the Kazakh Republic and some neighboring areas of the Russian Republic that had never been farmed before.

Vlasovites

Soldiers who were taken as prisoners of war by the Nazis and who fought under General Andrei Vlasov against the Red Army in 1943-44.

Voenkomat

A local military administrative agency that prepares and executes plans for military mobilization, maintains records on military manpower and economic resources available to the armed forces, provides premilitary training, drafts men for military service, organizes reserves for training, and performs other military functions at the local level.

Voiska spetsial’nogo naznacheniia; Otriad militsii osobogo naznacheniia

Special-Purpose Forces of the Soviet armed forces or KGB, trained to attack important command, communications, and weapons centers behind enemy lines. The only reliable riot control units available to Soviet authorities in the last years of the Union.

Volga-Germans

Ethnic Germans who had lived in the Volga River area for several centuries and who were moved eastward, mostly to the Kazakh Republic, en masse by Stalin on the suspicion of collaborating with the Germans during World War II. Rehabilitated in August 1965.

Volkhvostroi

Dam construction project of the 1920s located south of Leningrad.

Volunteer Army

The first of the White Armies during the Russian civil war.

Voprosy psikhologii

(Questions of Psychology) Scholarly journal aimed at professional psychologists and, more broadly, an academic audience. Established in 1955 by the Psychological Institute of the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the RSFSR. Edited by some of the Soviet Union s most prominent psychologists. Included articles on theory and methods as well as practical advice for psychologists employed in public education. Had the largest number of subscribers of any scholarly periodical on psychology in the Soviet Union.

Vorkuta

One of the principal labor camps within the Gulag system located in the Komi Autonomous Republic of the RSFSR.

Vpered

(Forward Group). Radical sub-faction of the Bolsheviks, founded by Bogdanov, Lunacharsky and Gorky in 1909. Ideologically inspired by Bogdanov, it disagreed with Lenin on the tactics of participation in the Duma. The group soon lost political significance and Lunacharsky returned to orthodox Bolshevism in 1917.

Vseobshchee voennoe obuchenie

Universal Military Training. The first compulsory military body created by the Soviet government to prepare young men for military service, came into being in 1918 as the civil conflict with opponents drew the Bolsheviks away from their anti-military inclinations.

Vsevobuch

Universal Military Training. The first compulsory military body created by the Soviet government to prepare young men for military service, came into being in 1918 as the civil conflict with opponents drew the Bolsheviks away from their anti-military inclinations.

Vyborg

Finnish city (Viipuri) occupied during Winter War of 1939-40 and annexed into Soviet Union.

valenki

Felt boots typically worn by peasants.

valiuta

Currency that was freely convertible and traded on international currency markets. The Soviet ruble was not hard currency, and Soviet citizens from the mid-1920s were not allowed to hold hard currency, eventually creating a huge black market in dollars.

vernalization

Seed enrichment process developed by Trofim Lysenko in 1930s.

verst

Seven-tenths of a mile; traditional Russian measure of distance.

voennyi komissariat; military commissariat

A local military administrative agency that prepares and executes plans for military mobilization, maintains records on military manpower and economic resources available to the armed forces, provides premilitary training, drafts men for military service, organizes reserves for training, and performs other military functions at the local level.

volost

Administrative area, comparable to the raion, covering the equivalent of several counties.

vsesoiuznyi

National, with purview throughout the entire territory of the Soviet Union.

War Communism

Policy of the Bolshevik regime during the Civil War (1918-21), in which the country’s economy was almost totally directed toward equipping and maintaining the Red Army.

Warsaw Pact

Informal name for Warsaw Treaty Organization, a mutual defense organization founded in 1955, including the Soviet Union, Albania (which withdrew in 1961), Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Hungary, Poland, and Romania. The Warsaw Pact enabled the Soviet Union to station troops in the countries to its west to oppose the forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The pact was the basis of the invasions of Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968). Disbanded in July 1991.

Wehrmacht

The German land army of the Second World War.

Westernizers

Russian intellectuals in the mid-nineteenth century who emphasized Russia’s cultural ties with the West, as opposed to the Slavophiles.

White Armies

Various military forces that attempted to overthrow the Bolshevik regime during the Civil War (1918-21). The principal leaders of the White armies were former tsarist officers, including generals Anton Denikin, Nikolai Yudenich, Petr Wrangel, and Evgenii Miller and former tsarist admiral Aleksandr Kolchak. They operated with no unified command, no clear political goal, and no supplies from the Russian heartland and thus were defeated piecemeal by the Red Army.

White Sea-Baltic Canal

Built by convicts in early 1930s as showpiece of redemption through labor.

Winter Palace

Residence of royal family; occupied by Provisional Government and stormed by Bolsheviks in October Revolution; contains Hermitage Museum.

Workers’ Cause

First social democratic news paper in Russia. From 1898 to 1903 represented the official grouping of the S.D. party in emigration. The “struggle” referred to was between The Workers’ Cause and Iskra for recognition as the official Party organ.

Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army

Otherwise known as the Red Army.

World Bank

Informal name used to designate a group of three affiliated international institutions–the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The IBRD, established in 1945, has the primary purpose of providing loans to developing countries for productive projects. The IDA, a legally separate loan fund but administered by the staff of the IBRD, was set up in 1960 to furnish credits to the poorest developing countries on much easier terms than those of conventional IBRD loans. The IFC, founded in 1956, supplements the activities of the IBRD through loans and assistance designed specifically to encourage the growth of productive private enterprises in the less developed countries. The president and certain senior officers of the IBRD hold the same positions in the IFC. The three institutions are owned by the governments of the countries that subscribe their capital. To participate in the World Bank group, member states must first belong to the International Monetary Fund

Writers’ Union

Formed in 1934 when it held its First Congress.

worker correspondent

Voluntary stringers for Soviet newspapers, intended to introduce the voice of the people in the Soviet press. A string of murders and other scandals involving corruption uncovered by rabkors brought the movement to an end in the 1930s.

worker faculty

Educational institution in 1920s and ’30s to prepare workers for academic study. (Russian acronym: rabfak.)

Yalta Conference

Meeting of Stalin, Winston Churchill, and Franklin D. Roosevelt in February 1945 that redrew post-World War II national borders and established spheres of influence in Europe.

Yar

Famous Moscow tavern in the decades before the Revolution that catered to the privileged classes, and was a famous stage for the “gypsy romance” genre of song.

Young Communist League

All-Union Lenin Communist Youth League (YCL). An organization administered by the CPSU for youth between ages fourteen and twenty-eight. Since its establishment in 1918, the Komsonol has helped the party prepare new generations for an elite role in Soviet society. It has instilled in young people the principles of Marxism-Leninism and involved them in large-scale industrial projects, such as factory construction and the virgin land campaign. Members were expected to be politically conscious, vigilant, and loyal to the communist cause. Membership privileges included better opportunities for higher education and preferential consideration for career advancement. In 1982 the Komsomol had 41.7 million members.

Young Octobrists

Literally, “Children of October.” An organization that has prepared Soviet schoolchildren ages six to nine for membership in the Pioneer organization. Established in 1923, the first Young Octobrists were contemporaries of the October Revolution of 1917, hence the name “Children of October.”

Yuzovka

City in Donbass named after John Hughes, a Welshman who leased property on which he operated mining and metallurgical enterprise from 1870; known as Stalino (1924-61) and Donetsk thereafter.

ZAGS

Central Registry Office. The bureaucratic office created in 1918 to replace the church as the official registry for marriages, births and other important stages of the life cycle. Its often dismal offices and lack of ceremonial pomp made it a poor replacement for the church in the Soviet anti-religious campaign.

ZIL

Founded in 1916 and until 1924 the AMO factory, ZIL produced the first Soviet automobile. (Likhachev Factory.)

Zagorsk

Soviet name given to Sergeev Posad, town north of Moscow known for its Orthodox monastery.

Zampolit

Deputy commander for political affairs. Found in each unit of the armed forces; responsible for overseeing the political reliability in the armed forces. Instituted during WWII when the old commissars were removed from military units.

Zapiska aktov grazhdanskogo sostoiianiia

Central Registry Office. The bureaucratic office created in 1918 to replace the church as the official registry for marriages, births and other important stages of the life cycle. Its often dismal offices and lack of ceremonial pomp made it a poor replacement for the church in the Soviet anti-religious campaign.

Zaporozh’e

City on the Dnepr (Ukraine), site of steel mills and an automobile factory.

Zavod imeni Likhacheva (Likhachev Factory)

Founded in 1916 and until 1924 the AMO factory, ZIL produced the first Soviet automobile.

Zek

Convict slang for gulag prisoner, or “zakliuchennyi.”

Zhdanovshchina

Literally, era of Zhdanov. A period from 1946 to 1948 when Andrei Zhdanov, with Stalin’s permission, led attacks on writers, musicians, and scientists for deviance from concepts approved by the CPSU. Many attacks were made against persons of Jewish nationality, who were termed “rootless cosmopolitans.” Zhdanov died in 1948, but the purge continued.

Zhenotdel

Women’s Section of the Communist Party (1919-1930).

Zimmerwald

In September 1915 certain socialists, including some Bolsheviks and Mensheviks from the Russian Party, dissenting from their fellow socialists who had supported their respective countries’ military efforts in the war, organized an anti-war conference at Zimmerwald in Switzerland. Lenin participated and took up an extreme ‘left’ anti-war position. A second similar conference (called the ‘Second Zimmerwald’ conference) was held in April 1916 at Kienthal. Lenin’s extremist attitude was strongly held and resulted in a manifesto urging the European working class to stop fighting each other and turn on their capitalist exploiters.

Zvezda

(The Star) Russian literary-artistic monthly magazine published in Leningrad from 1924. Became target of intense scrutiny during the Zhdanovshchina (cultural purge in the late Stalinist period).

zamestitel’ komandira po politicheskoi chasti

Deputy commander for political affairs. Found in each unit of the armed forces; responsible for overseeing the political reliability in the armed forces. Instituted during WWII when the old commissars were removed from military units. (Russian acronym: Zampolit.)

zastoi

The Gorbachev-era code reference to the years of Leonid Brezhnev’s rule as party chief, when economic growth slowed, and an atmosphere of cultural illiberalism reigned.

zemlianki

Earthen dugouts where many Soviet soldiers fought during the Second World War, and many dislocated Soviet citizens lived in the years after.

zemstvo

A rural, self-governing institution with jurisdiction over schools, public health, food supply, roads, insurance, relief for the poor, maintenance of prisons, and other local concerns. Existed from about 1864 until the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.

zolotink

Russian assay units for the purity of the precious metal. Metal purity was measured in zolotniks. About 4 zolotniks equals one karat, so 14 karat gold= 56 zolotniks and 18 karat gold= 72 zolotinks. Sterling silver (.925 fine) would be 91 zolotniks.

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