Glossary of Names
Alexandra Princess Alix Victoria Helene Luise Beatrix of Hesse-Darmstadt (a German state); a granddaughter of Queen Victoria; married Nicholas II, November, 1894
Alexander III 1854-1894 Czar of Russia, 1881-1894; father of Nicholas II
Anarchist person who seeks to abolish government and base society on voluntary cooperation
Archangelsk Pop. (1973) 362,000. Founded 1553. Russia's only seaport until 1703. Railway built in 1897. Port frozen December-April, kept open in May and Nov. by ice-breakers. Leading supply port in both World Wars.
Assassination murder of a public or political figure by a surprise attack.
Altyn a coin (three copecks).
Appanage territory ruled by a prince under the suzerainty of the grand prince or tsar.
Archimandrite a senior churchman, usually the abbot of a large monastery.
Assembly of the Land an assembly of representatives from all over Muscovy convened to discuss matters of state. Prominent in the reign of Mikhail Romanov, it declined in importance with the consolidation of a central autocracy.
Aurora Russian cruiser; played a role in the November revolution, 1917
Autonomous republic one of the semi-independent areas in Russia that were set up to allow ethnic minorities a measure of self-government. Some of these republics have now claimed full independence from the Russian government.
Barshchina corvée, the work that a serf was obliged to perform on his master's land.
Baikal, Lake (53°N 108°E) Largest freshwater lake in Asia: deepest lake in the world. Greatest depth 1,600 m. (5,300 ft.). Frozen 4 months a year: otherwise navigable to steamers. Contains forms of life to be found nowhere else.
Black market an informal-and often illegal-system of exchanging goods. The black market operates outside of the state-owned distribution system and usually charges high prices
Bolsheviks (majority) a wing of the Social Democrats under the leadership of Lenin; wanted a small party of dedicated revolutionaries
Boyar member of the upper stratum of medieval Russian society and state administration. Boyars were generally drawn from about 200 families, descended from former princes, old Moscow boyar families and foreign aristocrats; and they participated in a boyar council that helped the czar direct the internal and foreign affairs of state. Conferred by the ruler upon individuals. It was abolished by Peter the Great.
Brodniki a section of the East Slavonic population living on the steppes outside the jurisdiction of the princes.
Bureaucracy government by officials responsible only to their department chiefs
Capitalism economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.
Cheka the Bolshevik secret police, forerunner of the KGB.
Chiliarch originally, the commander of a thousand in the armed muster of a Russian town; later, an important official, especially in Novgorod and towns with a similar constitution.
Collectivize to force private farmers to give up their land and to join collective farms owned by the state
Collective farm a large agricultural estate worked by a group. The workers usually received a portion of the farm's harvest as wages. On a Soviet collective farm, the central government owned the land, buildings, and machinery
Commandant commanding officer
Commonwealth of Independent States a union of 11 former Soviet republics that was created by the leaders of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine in December 1991. The commonwealth has no formal constitution and functions as a loose economic and military association
Communism a society in which private ownership has been abolished and the means of production, distribution and exchange belong to the community
Communist a person who supports Communism -an economic system in which the government owns all farmland and the means of producing goods in factories
Constitutional Democrats first political party in Russia; organized in 1905; popularly called Kadets
Cossacks elite cavalry troops of the Russian army; often acted as special police; came from southern areas Don, Dneiper and Volga Rivers
Copeck a copper coin (one hundredth of a rouble).
Coup d'état French words meaning "blow to the state" that refer to a swift, sudden overthrow of a government
cuisse plate of armor worn to protect the thigh
Czar also spelled Tsar ruler of Russia; the word is derived from the Latin, Caesar, and is also related to the German, Kaiser
Dacha (pronounced datcha) Russian word for a house or cottage used mainly for summer holidays
Decembrists participants in the abortive insurrection of December 1825
Democracy government by the people or their elected representatives
Derevlyanins an East Slavonic tribe
Desyatina a measure of land
Dictatorship government by a ruler who is not restricted by a constitution, laws or recognized opposition.
Duma Russian national parliament, convened and dissolved four times between 1905 and 1917.
Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin was built in 1479 at the order of the Great Muscovy Prince, Ivan III, by the Italian architect and engineer, Aristotele Fioravanti. All chief ceremonies of state were held here. The most important documents of state, including emperors' declarations of their successors, were kept in the altar. The heads of the Russian church were buried in the Dormition Cathedral
Dvoryanstvo originally, the personnel of the grand prince's court (dvor), the servitor class; from the time of Peter the Great, the gentry, to whom all holding a rank in the civil or armed services belonged,
dragoon heavily armed trooper in some European armies of the 17th and 18th centuries
dropsy abnormal accumulation of fluid in body tissues and cavities. An old term for edema, or swelling
ecclesiastical of or pertaining to a church, especially an organized institution
Finland Station railroad station in St. Petersburg; scene of Lenin's arrival March, 1917
Fortress of St. Peter and Paul original fortress around which St. Petersburg was built; became burial place for most of the Czars after Peter; used as an armoury
Franz Ferdinand 1863-1914; nephew of Franz Joseph and heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary; assassinated at Sarajevo on June 28, 1914; event sparked World War I
Franz Josef 1813-1916; Emperor of Austria from 1848, King of Hungary from 1867; ruler in 1914 when war broke out
gauntlet protective glove worn with medieval armor
Glasnost the Russian name for a policy that eased restrictions on writing and speech
Golden Horde name given by medieval Russians to the western division of the Tartar (Mongol) empire.
grandee person of eminence or high rank
Grivna a monetary unit which varied in value at various times and in various parts of the country; in the later period, equivalent to ten copecks
Häme a Finnic tribe, later absorbed by the Finns
Hemophilia disease in which the blood does not clot properly after an injury. The result can be serious internal bleeding. It is suffered mainly by males, who inherit it from their mothers
icon a small wooden panel, painted with a religious image, that is common in Russian Orthodox churches, homes, and monasteries
Imperial The tsar's family was called "Imperial," rather than royal," as he was an emperor and thus grander than a king
Industrialize to build and modernize factories for the purpose of manufacturing a wide variety of consumer goods and machinery
Joint venture an economic partnership between a locally owned business and a foreign-owned company.
Kagan the ruler of various oriental peoples; occasionally used as a title of the princes of Rus.
Ladoga, Lake Largest lake in Europe: 201 km. (125 m.) long. Frozen Dec.-March. Canals to Volga and Baltic Sea
Kaiser Wilhelm II 1859-1941; Emperor of Germany, 1888 to 1918; ruler when World War I broke out
Kasogy the Circassians, a Caucasian people.
Kerensky, Alexander 1881-1970; a member of the Social Revolutionaries; became dominant figure in Provisional Government, first as Minister of Justice and later as Minister of War and Prime Minister
Kornilov, Lavr Georgievich 1870-1918; commander-in-chief of the Russian army in 1917; attempted to overthrow the Provisional Government
Kremlin the citadel walled central section of a Russian city; best known one is in Moscow; includes several cathedrals, over twenty towers as well as halls and palaces
Krivichi an East Slavonic tribe that formed a significant element in the population of Novgorod.
Kulak literally, 'fist': an abusive term applied by the Bolsheviks to the more prosperous peasants whom they dispossessed.
Kutuzov, Mikhail (1745-1813), commander in chief of the Russian army against
Kvass a drink made from fermented rye bread
Latinism Medieval Russian term for Roman Catholicism
Liberal person whose political views favour progress and reform
Liturgy the usual name for the Eucharist in the East
Loyalist patriotic supporter of his government or sovereign
Lvov, Prince Georgi Evgenievich 1861-1925; member of the Kadets; first president of
Lenin, Vladimir Ilich 1870-1924; member of the Social Democrats; became leader of the Bolshevik wing; led attack on Provisional Government; elected chairman of the Congress of Workers and Soldiers Deputies, 1917. His older brother was hanged in 1887 for trying to assassinate Tsar Alexander III, the father of Nicholas II.
Marie's holiday the day, once a year, when a celebration is held for a particular saint. Like many Russian people, the tsar's daughters were named after saints, so they celebrated their namesake saint's day as they would a birthday.
Marshal of Nobility a dignitary, elected by the dvoryanstvo of a given area, who played a prominent part in local government.
Marx, Karl 1818-1883; German philosopher; author of Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital; predicted the overthrow of existing political and economic institutions
Merya a Finnic tribe, now extinct (unless they are to be identified with the present-day Mari).
Mir The peasant commune
Moscow capital of Russia (1547 to 1711 and 1918 to the present)
Mensheviks member of the moderate wing of the Russian Social Democratic Party, literally 'minority'; wanted a party including trade unions and other groups
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact a political agreement negotiated by Vyacheslav Molotov of the Soviet Union and Joachim von Ribbentrop of Germany. Signed in 1939, the agreement said that the two nations would not attack one another or interfere with one another's military and political activities.
Monk: a member of a religious order and lives in a monastery.
Mukden modern industrial city in Manchuria; site of decisive battle in 1905 in Russo-Japanese War
Muscovites name given to inhabitants! of Moscow
Niello any of several black metallic alloys of sulfur with copper, silver or lead, used to fill an incised design on the surface of another metal
Oblast an administrative division of the Soviet Union
Obrok quit rent, paid annually by a serf to his master to discharge his obligations to him.
Officer commands soldiers
Oklad decorated cover, usually made for an icon
Oprichnina originally, the personal possessions of a prince or the dower of his widow; under Ivan the Terrible, those persons (oprichniki) and sections of the country under the tsar's personal command, and outside the normal administrative structure of the state.
Peasant a small landowner or landless farm worker
Pech a stove
Pechenegs A nomadic people, predominantly Turkic, who occupied the steppe region from the ninth to the mid-11th centuries.
Perestroika a policy of economic restructuring introduced in the late 1980s. Under perestroika, the Soviet state allowed small private businesses to form and loosened its control of industry and agriculture
Pessenik a songbook.
Petrograd the name given to St. Petersburg in 1914; changed again, to Leningrad, in 1924
Plekhanov, George 1857-1918; founder of Russian Marxism; helped organize the Social Democrats; at first joined the Bolsheviks, later Mensheviks; fled Russia in 1917
poleyn armor used to protect the kneecap
Polovtsy a nomadic Turkic people, also known as Kipchaks or Cumans, who displaced the Pechenegs in the steppes in the mid- 11th century. After their power was destroyed by the Tartars, they were assimilated by the surrounding peoples
Poltina a coin (half a rouble)
Polychronion a prayer for the long life of a person or persons, sung mostly on festive occasions
Port Arthur seaport in Manchuria; leased to Russia by China in 1898; surrendered to the Japanese, January, 1905
Portsmouth, Treaty of signed in 1905; ended the Russo-Japanese war; Japan took over the Russian lease of Port Arthur, among other concessions by Russia
Posadnik the highest administrative official in Novgorod and other oligarchic cities, elected by the town assembly. In the later period the number of posadniki was increased, and their terms of office limited.
Private lowest-ranking soldier in an army
Propaganda organized spreading of information to assist or damage the cause of a government or movement.
Provisional Government (a government set up to meet the needs of an extraordinary situation on the understanding that it will be changed later) established in March 1917 with the abdication of the Czar; chiefly composed of Kadets
Rezana a coin (fraction of a copeck)
Rouble Russian monetary unit; in early times, equivalent to about one English mark
Samizdat literally, 'self-publishing': works circulating clandestinely in manuscript or typescript in the Soviet period
Servitor a person engaged in state service; a forerunner of the dvoryanstvo.
Queen Victoria queen of Great Britain from I837 to 1901. She was also a carrier of the hemophilia gene, which her daughters then passed on
quota the government-set amount of factory goods or food that a group is told to produce.
Regime system of government or a particular administration
Rus' ancient people who gave their name to the land of Russia.
Rasputin, Gregory Efimovich 1873-1916; a Russian starets (holy man); introduced to the royal family, 1905; became very powerful in Russian politics; murdered in 1916
Romanov Russian dynasty; ruled Russia for 304 years, from the accession of Michael Romanov in 1613 to the abdication of Michael, the brother of Nicholas II, in 1917
Russian Empire a large kingdom that existed from roughly the mid-1500s to 1917.
Russian Monarchists right wing political group; organized in 1905; elected representatives to the first Duma
Russian Orthodox Church an independent church within the Eastern Orthodox Church; ruled by a governing synod headed by a government minister
Sabaton armor used to protect the foot
Samizdat literally, 'self-publishing': works circulating clandestinely in manuscript or typescript in the Soviet period
Serf:a rural worker under the feudal landowning system, which tied people to a farming estate for life. Serfs had few rights and owed their labor and a large portion of their harvest to the landowner
Servitor a person engaged in state service; a forerunner of the dvoryanstvo
Slav a member of an ethnic group that originated in central Asia and later moved into Russia and eastern Europe
Slavophiles a 19th-century group who believed that Western European models were not applicable to Russia, and that it should seek a basis for its future development in its native traditions.
Sloboda a suburb, typically inhabited by members of a single professional group: in Moscow there was also a German sloboda where Western Europeans lived.
Slovenins an East Slavonic tribe occupying the north of the East Slavonic territory.
Soviet local revolutionary council
Spiritual father/mother an individual's confessor and spiritual adviser.
St. Petersburg named "the Window on the West"- became the capital of Russia during reign of Peter the Great; remained the capital until 1918; renamed Petrograd in 1914 and Leningrad in 1924
Starets a wandering holy man, (Rasputin was a starets, not a monk)
Smolny Institute formerly a school for girls; became Bolshevik headquarters 1917; now Communist Party office for Leningrad area
Social Revolutionaries revolutionary party growing out of earlier agriculture unrest; wanted large estates broken up and nationalization of land; used individual terrorism
Socialism economic system in which the means of production, distribution and exchange are owned by the community, usually through the state.
Socialist a person who favors government ownership of property and a centrally planned economy
Soviet council; organized among workers, peasants and soldiers; acted as coordinating council in 1905; local soviets sent representatives to higher soviets and eventually to the Russian Congress of Soviets
steppe a level, treeless plain that dominates the landscape of southern Russia
Stolypin, Peter 1863-1911; became Minister of the Interior 1906; later constitutional Prime Minister; assassinated
Streltsy the Musketeers, the professional armed forces of Muscovy, replaced by a regular army by Peter the Great.
Sukhovey a hot, dry summer wind that blows across the steppes of western and southern Russia
Synod the governing body of the Russian Orthodox Church after the suspension of the patriarchate under Peter the Great, effectively controlled by the tsar through his representative.
Taiga a coniferous (evergreen) forest that extends from the Gulf of Finland across northern Russia to eastern Siberia.
Torki a Turkic people, originally nomadic, who later adopted a sedentary way of life on the borders of the Kievan principality and were often allied with Rus against the Polovtsy.
Trotsky Leon Bronstein 1879-1940; a disciple of Marx; played a leading role in events of 1917; lost power struggle to Stalin after death of Lenin
Tsar ruler of Russia; first Tsar ruled in 16th century; see Czar
Tsarevitch a tsar's son
Tsarevna a tsar's daughter
Tsaritsa the wife or widow of a tsar; also a reigning empress
Tundra an arctic region of treeless plains and permanently frozen soil that crosses the extreme north of Russia.
Udmurts a Finnic people now inhabiting a territory west of the Urals.
Ukase an edict or decree of the Czar Winter Palace Czarist residence; built 1754-
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) a large nation in eastern Europe and northern Asia that consisted of 15 member-republics. It existed from 1922 to 1991
vambrace armor used to protect the forearm
Versta a measure of distance (2/3 mile).
Volost a region.
Vyatichi one of the East Slavonic tribes.
Witte, Count Sergei 1849-1915; Russian representative at the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth 1906; first constitutional Prime Minister 1905; dismissed by Nicholas II
Westernizers a section of the 19th-century intelligentsia, radical and rationalistic in outlook, who believed in the development of Russia along Western European patterns.
Zemstvos county and provincial legislatures; created in 1864 by Alexander II; first all-Russian Zemstvos Congress held in 1894; system was destroyed by Lenin in 1918