Agitprop (Russian: агитпроп; blend of Russian агитация agitatsiya "agitation" and пропаганда propaganda "propaganda"; origin 1930s' from shortened form of отдел агитации и пропаганды, transliteration otdel agitatsii i propagandy, ('Department for Agitation and Propaganda'), which was part of the Central and regional committees of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The department was later renamedIdeological Department.)
- Political (originally communist) propaganda, especially in art and literature.
Apparatchik plural apparatchiki (Russian: аппара́тчик) [ɐpɐˈrat͡ɕɪk] (from Russian аппарат apparat (name given the Communist Party machine in the former Soviet Union) from Latin apparare to make ready).
- (chiefly historical) A member of the communist party.
- (derogatory or humorous) An official in a large organization, typically in a political one.
Bolshevik (Russian Большеви́к) [bəlʲʂɨˈvʲik] (from Russian Больше 'majority' or 'greater' with reference to the greater faction)
- (historical) A member of the majority faction of the Russian Social Democratic Party, which was renamed to the Communist Party after seizing power in the October Revolution in 1917.
- (chiefly derogatory) (in general use) A person with politically subversive or radical views; a revolutionary.
- (adjective) Relating to or characteristic of Bolsheviks or their views or policies.
Cheka (Russian: Всероссийская чрезвычайная комиссия по борьбе с контрреволюцией и саботажем, acronym for The All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution, Speculation, and Sabotage, abbreviated to Cheka (ChrezvychaynayaKomissiya, ChK; Чрезвычайная Комиссия, ЧК – pronounced "Che-Ka") or VCheka; In 1918 its name was slightly altered to "All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution, Profiteering and Corruption") The first Soviet state security organization (1917–1922), it was later transformed and reorganized into the GPU.
Commissar (Russian комисса́р) (Russian комиссариат commissariat reinforced by medieval Latin commissariatus, both from medieval Latin commissarius "person in charge" from Latin committere "entrust"' term "commissar" first used in 1918)
- An official of the Communist Party, especially in the former Soviet Union or present day China, responsible for political education and organization; A head of a government department in the former Soviet Union before 1946, when the title was changed to Minister.
- (figurative) A strict or prescriptive figure of authority.
Demokratizatsiya (Russian: Демократизация, literally "democratisation") A slogan introduced in 1987 by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachevwhich called for the infusion of democratic elements into the Soviet Union government.
DOSAAF (Russian: ДОСААФ, Добровольное Общество Содействия Армии, Авиации и Флоту, abbreviation for Free Will (or Voluntary) Society of Assistance to the Army, Aviation, and the Navy) Name of a military society of the Soviet Union whose aim was to support the Soviet military financially and to prepare reserve troops by the use of paramilitary sports.
Druzhina also Druzhyna, Drużyna (Russian and Ukrainian: дружина) (Slavic drug (друг) meaning "companion" or "friend" related to Germanic drotiin, Proto-Germanic *druhtinaz meaning "war band") (historical) A detachment of select troops in East Slav countries who performed service for a chieftain, later knyaz. Its original functions were bodyguarding, raising tribute from the conquered territories and serving as the core of an army during war campaigns. In Ukrainian, the word дружина means legal wife.
Duma (Russian: Ду́ма) (from Russian word думать dumat', "to think" or "to consider")
- (historical) A pre-19th century advisory municipal councils in Russia, later it referred to any of the four elected legislature bodies established due to popular demand in Russia from 1906 to 1917.
- The legislative body in the ruling assembly of Russia (and some other republics of the former Soviet Union) established after the fall of coummunism in 1991.
- The State Duma (Russian: Государственная дума (Gosudarstvennaya Duma), common abbreviation: Госдума (Gosduma)) in theRussian Federation is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia (legislature), the upper house being the Federation Council of Russia.
Dvoryanstvo singular dvoryanin, plural dvoryane (Russian Дворянство Dvoryanstvo meaning "nobility" from Russian dvor (двор) referring to the court of a prince or duke kniaz and later of the tsar) (historical) Term for the Russian nobility that arose in the 14th century and essentially governed Russia until the Russian Revolution.
Dyachok (historical) A member of the church workers in Russia who were not part of the official hierarchy of church offices and whose duties included reading and singing.
FSB (Russian ФСБ, Федера́льная слу́жба безопа́сности) (Russiantrans. Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti Federal Security Service) The domestic state security of the Russian Federation, the successor of KGB.
Glasnost (Russian: Гла́сность [ˈɡlasnəsʲtʲ]; glasnost publicity, from glas voice, from Old Church Slavonic glasu) (late 20th century) An official policy in the former Soviet Union (especially associated with Mikhail Gorbachev) emphasizing transparency, openness with regard to discussion of social problems and shortcomings.
Glavlit (Russian acronym for Main Administration for Literary and Publishing Affairs, later renamed Main Administration for the Protection of State Secrets in the Press of the USSR Council of Ministers Russian: Главное управление по охране государственных тайн в печати ГУОГТП (ГУОТ), trans. Glavnoe upravlenie po okhrane gosudarstvennykh tayn v pechati) (historical) The official censorship and state secret protection organ in the Soviet Union.
GPU also known as OGPU (Russian: Государственное Политическое Управление, transliteration Gosudarstvennoye Politicheskoye Upravlenie State Political Directorate) (historical) The secret police of the former Soviet Union from 1922–1934; it succeeded the Cheka in 1922, and it was later reorganized as the NKVD in 1934.
Kadet (Russian: Конституционная Демократическая партия, The Constitutional Democratic Party or Constitutional Democrats, formally Party of Popular Freedom, informally called Kadets, or Cadets from the abbreviation K-D of the party name [the term was political, and not related to military students who are called cadets]) (historical) A liberal political party in Tsarist Russia founded in 1905, it largely dissolved after the Russian Civil War.
KGB (Russian transliteration of "КГБ") (Russian abbreviation of Комите́т Госуда́рственной Безопа́сности, Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti, Committee for State Security) (historical) Name of the Soviet Union organization that directed the security agency, secret police, and intelligence agency from 1954 to 1991.
Khozraschyot or Khozraschet (Russian: хозрасчёт, хозяйственный расчёт, literally "economic accounting") A method of the planned running of an economic unit (i.e., of a business, in Western terms) based on the confrontation of the expenses incurred in production with the production output, on the compensation of expenses with the income; often referred to as the attempt to simulate the capitalist concepts of profit into the planned economy of the Soviet Union.
Kolkhoz plural kolkhozy (Russian: колхо́з, [kɐlˈxos]) (1920s origin; Russian contraction of коллекти́вное хозя́йство, kol(lektivnoe) khoz(yaisto) "collective farm") A form of collective farming in the former Soviet Union.
Konyushy (Russian Конюший) (Russian literally "equerry" or "master of the horse") (historical) A boyar in charge of the stables of the Russian rulers, duties which included parade equipage, ceremonies of court ride-offs, and military horse breeding.
Korenizatsiya also korenization (Russian: коренизация) (Russian meaning "nativization" or "indigenization", literally "putting down roots", from the Russian term коренное население korennoye naseleniye "root population")
Kulak (Russian: кула́к, kulak, "fist", literally meaning "tight-fisted" ) Originally a prosperous Russian landed peasant in czarist Russia, later used pejoratively by Communists during the October Revolution as an exploiter; they were severeley repressed under the rule of Joseph Stalin in the 1930s.
Krai also Kray (Russian: край) (Slavic for "border") Term for eight of Russia's 85 federal subjects, often translated as territory, province, or region.
Leninism (after Vladimir Lenin, the term was coined in 1918) The political, economic and social principals and practices of the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, especially his theory of government which formed the basis for Soviet communism.
Lishenets (Russian: лишенец) (from Russian лишение, "deprivation", properly translated as a disenfranchised) (historical) A certain group of people in the Soviet Union who from 1918 to 1936 were prohibited from voting and denied other rights.
MGB (Russian: Министерство государственной безопасности, Ministerstvo Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti, The Ministry of State Security) (historical) The name of the Soviet secret police agency from 1946 to 1953. It was merged with the MVD in 1953.
Menshevik (Russian: Меньшевики) (from Russian word меньшинство menshinstvo "minority" from men'she "less"; the name Menshivikwas coined by Lenin when the party was (atypically) in the minority for a brief period) (historical) A member of the non-Leninist wing of the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party, opposed to the Bolsheviks who defeated them during the Russian Civil War that followed the 1917 Russian Revolution.
Mir (Russian: мир) (from Russian mir, meaning both "world" and "peace")
- (historical) A peasant farming commune in pre-Revolutionary Russia.
- Space Station Mir, a space station created by the former Soviet Union and continued by Russia until 2001.
MVD (MVD) (Russian: Министерство внутренних дел) (MVD Russian acronym for Ministerstvo Vnutrennikh Del, Ministry of Internal Affairs) (The Soviet Union secret police from 1946–1953, in 1954 its secret police duties were transformed to the KGB, while the reorganized MVD was assigned to direct the regular police functions. Downgraded by Nikita Khruschev and renamed in 1962 to the "Ministry for the Preservation of Public Order" Ministerstvo okhrany obshchestvennogo poriadka abbreviated MOOP, it was later strengthened by Leonid Brezhnev and renamed in 1968 to its former and now current name)
Namestnik (Russian: наме́стник, [nɐˈmʲɛsnʲɪk]) (Russian literally "deputy" or "lieutenant") (historical)
- (12th–16th century) An official who ruled a uyezd and was in charge of local administration.
- (18th-20th century) A type of viceroy in Russia who ruled a namestnichestvo and had plenipotentiary powers.
Narkompros (Russian: Наркомпрос) (Russian Народный комиссариат просвещения, an abbreviation for the People's Commissariat for Enlightening (historical) The Soviet Union agency charged with the administration of public education and most of other issues related to culture such as literature and art. Founded by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution, it was renamed in 1946 to the Ministry of Enlightening.
Narodniks (Russian: plural наро́дники, singular наро́дник) (from Russian narod "people", in turn from expression "Хождение в народ" meaning "going to the people") (historical) The name for Russian revolutionaries (active 1860's to 1880's) that looked on the peasants and intelligentsia as revolutionary forces, rather the urban working class.
NEP or The New Economic Policy (NEP) (Russian: Новая экономическая политика) (Russian Novaya Ekonomicheskaya Politika or НЭП) (historical) An economic policy instituted in 1921 by Lenin to attempt to rebuild industry and especially agriculture. The policy was later reversed by Stalin.
NKVD (Russian: НКВД, Народный комиссариат внутренних дел, Narodniy Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del or People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs) (historical) The secret police agency in the former Soviet Union that absorbed the functions of the former OGPU in 1934. It was merged with the MVD in 1946.
Nomenklatura (Russian: номенклату́ра) (Russian nomenklatura, from the Latin nomenclatura meaning a list of names) (historical) In the former Soviet Union, a list of influential posts in government and industry to be filled by Communist Party appointees; collectively the holders of these posts, the Soviet élite.
Obshchina (Russian: общи́на) (Russian obshchiy common, commune) Russian peasant agrarian communities during Imperialist Russia.
Okhrana in full The Okhrannoye otdeleniye (Russian: Охранное отделение) (Russian literally "Protection Section") (historical) The secret police organization (established in the 1860s) for protection of the Russian czarist regimes. It ended with the Bolshevik takeover of Russia in 1917, who set up their own secret police organization called the Cheka.
Okrug (Russian: о́круг) (Russian okrug is similar to the German word Bezirk ("district"), both words refer to something "encircled")
- In the former Soviet Union, an administrative division of an oblast and krai.
- A federal district in the present-day Russian Federation.
Oprichnina (Russian: опри́чнина) (Russian from obsolete Russian word опричь oprich meaning "apart from" or "separate") (historical) Term for the domestic policy of Russian czar Ivan the Terrible.
Oprichnik plural Oprichniki (Russian: опри́чник) (historical) Name given to the bodyguards of Russian ruler Ivan the Terrible who ruthlessly suppressed any opposition to his reign.
Perestroika (Russian: Перестро́йка) (Russian perestroika literally "restructuring", the term was first used in 1986) The reform of the political and economic system of the former Soviet Union, first proposed by Leonid Brezhnev at the 26th Communist Party Congress in 1979, and later actively promoted by Mikhail Gorbachev from 1985.
Podyachy (Russian: подья́чий, sometimes подъячий) (Russian from the Greek hypodiakonos, "assistant servant") (historical) An office occupation in prikazes (local and upper governmental offices) and lesser local offices of Russia from the 15th to the 18th century.
Politburo (Russian politbyuro from polit(icheskoe) byuro "political bureau") (historical) The principal policymaking committee in the former Soviet Union that was founded in 1917; also known as the Presidium from 1952 to 1966.
Posadnik (Russian: поса́дник) (from Old Church Slavic posaditi, meaning to put or place, since originally they were placed in the city to rule in behalf of the prince of Kiev) (historical) A mayor (equivalent to a stadtholder, burgomeister, or podesta in the medieval west) in some East Slavic cities, notably in the Russian cities of Novgorod and Pskov; the title was abolished in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Praporshchik (Russian: пра́порщик) (from Slavonic prapor (прапор), meaning flag, since the praporshchik was a flag-bearer in Kievan Rus troops) The name of a junior officer position in the military of the Russian Empire (and in the modern Russian Army), equivalent to ensign.
Prikaz (Russian: прика́з)
- (historical) An administrative (palace, civil, military, or church) or judicial office in Muscovy and Russia of 15th–18th centuries; abolished by Peter the Great.
- In modern Russian, an administrative or military order (to do something).
Propiska (Russian: пропи́ска) (Russian full term Прописка по месту жительства, "The record of place of residence", from Russian verbpropisiat "to write into" in reference to write a passport into a registration book of the given local office) (historical) a regulation in the former Soviet Union designed to control internal population movement by binding a person to his or her permanent place of residence.
Silovik (Russian: силови́к) plural siloviks or siloviki, Russian: силовики) (Russian word for "power"), a collective name for persons or personnel of an organisation which have formal and real power, such as military (usually high-ranked), officers of KGB, FSB, MVD, etc.
SMERSH (Russ: СМЕРть Шпионам) (Russian acronym of (smer) t (sh)pionam literally "death to spies") (historical) The popular name for the Russian counterespionage organization responsible for maintaining security within the Soviet armed and intelligence services; it was originally created during World War II to deal with traitors, deserters, and spies who undermined or threatened the Red Army. It essentially ended in 1946 when its functions were resubordinated to the People's Commissariat of Military Forces (Наркомат Вооруженных Сил, or НКВС.
Soviet (Russian: сове́т) (Russian sovet "council") (historical)
- A revolutionary council of workers or peasants in Russia before the Russian Revolution.
- An elected local, district, or national council in the former Soviet Union.
- (Soviet) A citizen in the former Soviet Union.
- (adjective) of or concerning the former Soviet Union.
Sovkhoz plural Sovkhozes (Russian: Совхоз) (Russian Советское хозяйство, (Sov) eckoje (khoz)yaistvo, "soviet farm")
- (historical) A state owned farm in the former Soviet Union.
- A state owned farm in countries of the of former Soviet Union.
Sovnarkhoz (Russian: Совнархоз) (Russian Совет Народного Хозяйства, Sovet Narodnogo Hozyaistva, Council of National Economy, usually translated as "Regional Economic Council") (historical) An organization of the former Soviet Union to manage a separate economic region.
Sovnarkom (Russian: Совет Министров СССР) (Russian Sovet Ministrov SSSR, Council of Ministers of the USSR , sometimes abbreviated form Sovmin was used; between 1918 and 1946 it was named the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR (Совет Народных Комиссаров СССР, Russian Sovet Narodnykh Komissarov SSSR, sometimes Sovnarkom or SNK shortcuts were used).) (historical) In the former the Soviet Union, the highest executive and administrative body.
Spetsnaz or Specnaz (Russian: Войска специального назначения – спецна́з) or Russian special purpose regiments (Voyska spetsialnogo naznacheniya) A general term for the police or military units within the Soviet Union (later Russian Federation) who engage in special activities. Similar to South African term Commandos.
Stakhanovite (Russian: стахановец) (after Aleksei Grigorievich Stakhanov, a coal miner from Donbass noted for his superior productivity; the Soviet authorities publicized Stakhanov's prodigious output in 1935 as part of a campaign to increase industrial output)
- (historical) In the former Soviet Union, a worker who was exceptionally hardworking and productive, and thus earned special privileges and rewards
- Any exceptionally hardworking or zealous person, often with connotations of excessive compliance with management and lack of solidarity with fellow workers.
Stalinism (Russian, the term Stalinism was first used in 1927; the term was not used by Stalin himself, as he considered himself a Marxist-Leninist).
- (historical) The political, economic, and social principles and policies associated with Joseph Stalin during his rule (1924–1953) of the Soviet Union; especially the theory and practice of communism developed by Stalin which included rigid authoritarianism, widespread use of terror, and often emphasis on Russian nationalism.
- Any rigid centralized authoritarian form of government or rule.
Stavka (Russian: Ста́вка) (historical) The General Headquarters of armed forces in late Imperial Russia and in the former Soviet Union.
Streltsy singular strelitz, plural strelitzes or strelitzi (Russian: стрельцы́, singular: стреле́ц strelets "bowman") (historical) Units of armed guardsmen created by Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century and later abolished by Peter the Great.
Tovarishch also Tovarich (Russian: Това́рищ IPA [tɐˈvarʲɪɕɕ]) (Russian archaic товарищ, tovarishch sense "business companion", often "travelmate", referring to the noun товар tovar "merchandise"; In the former Soviet Union, a comrade; often used as a form of address.
Tsar also Czar, Tzar, Csar, and Zar (Russian: царь) (English pronunciation [zar]; Russian pronunciation is [t͡sarʲ]) (Russian tsar from LatinCaesar "hairy").
- (historical) Title of a Southern Slav ruler as in Bulgaria (913–1018, 1185–1422, and 1908–1946) and Serbia (1346–1371).
- (historical) Title for the emperor of Russia from about 1547 to 1917, although the term after 1721 officially only referred to the Russian emperor's sovereignty over formerly independent states.
- (latter part of 20th century) A person with great authority or power in a particular area, e.g. drug czar (spelled only as "czar" in this usage).
Tsarina also tsaritsa (formerly spelled czaritsa), czarina, German zarin, French tsarine (Russian: цари́ца) (Russian, etymology from tsar) (historical) The wife of a tsar; also the title for the Empress of Russia.
Tsarevna also czarevna (Russian, etymology from tsar).
- (historical) The daughter of a tsar.
- The wife of a tsarevitch.
Tsarevich also tsesarevich, czarevich, tzarevitch (Russian: царе́вич, early 18th century, from tsar + patronymic -evich]]) (historical) The eldest son of an emperor of Russia; the male heir to a tsar.
Tysyatsky also tysiatsky (Russian: ты́сяцкий) (sometimes translated as dux or Heerzog but more correctly meaning thousandman; sometimes translated into the Greek chilliarch literally meaning "rule of a thousand") (historical) A military leader in Ancient Rus who commanded a people's volunteer army called tysyacha (Russian: ты́сяча), or a thousand.
Ukase (Russian: ука́з [ʊˈkas] ordinance, edict, from ukazat to show) (pronunciation yoo-kayz), a decree:
- (historical) In Imperial Russia, a proclamation or edict of the ruling tsar or tsarina, the Russian government, or a religious leader (patriarch) that had the force of law.
- (historical) In the former Soviet Union, a government edict issued by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet and subject to later ratification by the Supreme Soviet.
- In the Russian Federation, a Presidential decree.
- Any arbitrary command or decree from any source.
Uskoreniye (Russian: ускоре́ние, literally "acceleration") A slogan and a policy initiated in 1985 by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev which aimed at the acceleration of social and economical development of the Soviet Union.
Yevsektsiya also Yevsektsia (Russian: ЕвСекция) (from the abbreviation of the phrase "Еврейская секция" Yevreyskaya sektsiya) (historical) The Jewish section of the Soviet Communist party that was created in 1918 to challenge and eventually destroy the rival Bund and Zionist parties, suppress Judaism and "bourgeois nationalism" and replace traditional Jewish culture with "proletarian culture." It was disbanded in 1929.
Zampolit A military or political commissar.
Zek (Russian abbreviation of ЗаКлючённый (З/К), zaklyuchennyi (Z/K) meaning "incarcerated") (historical) In the former Soviet Union, a person held in a Gulag or in a prison.
Zemshchina (from Russian zemlya "earth" or "land") (historical) The territory under the rule of the boyars who stayed in Moscow during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. It was separate from the rule of Ivan's own territory, which was administered by the Oprichnina.
Zemsky Sobor (Russian: зе́мский собо́р) (Russian assembly of the land) (historical) The first Russian parliament of the feudal Estates type during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Zemstvo (Russian: зе́мство) (historical) A district and provincial assembly in Russia from 1864 to 1917.