Glossary -- Soviet Union

Academy of Sciences (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 (q.v.) also had academies of sciences. The Academy of Sciences was under the direction of the Council of Ministers.
active measures (aktivnye meropriiatiia)
Covert or deceptive operations (including the creation and dissemination of disinformation) conducted in support of Soviet foreign policy and designed to influence the opinions or actions of the general public, particular individuals, or foreign governments.
Agitprop (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.
AirLand Battle doctrine
A United States Army doctrine, adopted in the early 1980s, for generating combat power by using air and land assets on an extended and integrated battlefield.
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 (q.v.).
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 (q.v.). Sometimes used in a derogatory sense.
In general usage, the armed forces of the Soviet Union except the navy. In military usage, an army in the Ground Forces usually consisted of two to five divisions.
Independent or self-governing; an Orthodox church that was headed by its own patriarch (q.v.).
autonomous oblast
A territorial and administrative subdivision of a union republic (q.v.) or of a krai (q.v.) 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 (q.v.) or oblast (q.v.) 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.
autonomous republic (autonomous soviet socialist republic--ASSR)
A territorial and administrative subdivision of some union republics (q.v.), 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.
Literally, grandmother. Generally, any old woman.
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.
BAM (Baykalo-Amurskaya Magistral'--Baykal- Amur Main Line)
A second trans-Siberian railroad, running 100 to 500 kilometers north of the original Trans-Siberian Railway (q.v.) 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.
Basmachi Rebellion
A sporadic and protracted revolt by Muslims of Central Asia against Soviet rule beginning in 1918 and continuing in some parts of Central Asia until 1931.
bilateral clearing agreements
The basis of the Soviet Union's trade with most socialist countries and some market economies (Finland and India). Trade imbalances were not normally cleared by convertible currency payments. Instead, the value of exports equaled the value of imports (for each country) over a specified period of time.
Profitable connections, influence, pull, or illegal dealings, usually for personal gain.
A member of the radical group within the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (q.v.), which, under Vladimir I. Lenin's leadership, staged the Bolshevik Revolution (q.v.). 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 (q.v.) 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--q.v.).
Bolshevik Revolution
The coup organized by Lenin and carried out by the Bolsheviks (q.v.) that overthrew the Provisional Government in November 1917 (October 1917, according to the Julian calendar-- q.v.). Also known as the October Revolution.
A hereditary nobleman in Muscovy (q.v.) and the early Russian Empire (q.v.).
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.
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.
capitalist encirclement
A term coined by Joseph V. Stalin to indicate that the Soviet Union was surrounded by capitalist states pursuing political, military, and economic policies aimed at weakening and destroying the Soviet regime.
Carpatho-Ukraine (before October 1938 known as 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. 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.
Charter to the Nobility
An edict, granted by Catherine the Great, that increased and confirmed the personal and class privileges of the nobility.
See Vecheka.
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.
Literally, black earth. The zone of rich, black soil that extends across the southwestern Soviet Union.
class struggle
In Marxist terms, every nonsocialist society has been characterized by conflict between the classes of which it has been composed. The struggle has pitted the workers against the privileged, oppressive, and property-owning ruling class.
CoCom--Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls)
Formed by Western governments in 1949 to prevent the transfer of military-related technology from the West to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. In 1989 members of CoCom included Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and the United States. With no formal relationship to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), CoCom operated on informal agreements on items having military applications and those with nuclear uses.
collective farm (kollektivnoe khoziaistvo--kolkhoz)
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.
Stalin's policy of confiscating privately owned agricultural lands and facilities and consolidating them, the farmers, and their families into large collective farms (q.v.) and state farms (q.v.). Forced collectivization took place from 1929 to 1937.
combat readiness
The availability of equipment and qualified personnel in military organizations capable of conducting combat operations. Motorized rifle and tank divisions of the Soviet Ground Forces were maintained in three general categories of combat readiness: those divisions with sufficient personnel and equipment to begin combat operations after brief preparation; those with the necessary equipment but with less than 50 percent of wartime manpower; and those that were inactive and essentially unmanned equipment sets.
combine (kombinat)
An economic entity of an industrial or service nature that consists of several specialized, technologically related enterprises (q.v.).
Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance)
A multilateral economic alliance headquartered in Moscow. 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 (q.v.). Also referred to as CEMA or CMEA.
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 (Communist International)
An international organization of communist parties founded by Lenin in 1919. Initially, it attempted to control the international socialist (q.v.) 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.
A doctrine, based on revolutionary Marxian socialism (q.v.) and Marxism-Leninism (q.v.), and the official ideology of the Soviet Union. The doctrine provided for a system of authoritarian government in which the CPSU (q.v.) alone controlled state-owned means of production. It sought to establish a society in which the state withers away and goods and services are distributed equitably. A communist is an adherent or advocate of communism.
complex (kompleks)
An aggregate of entities constituting a whole. Sometimes applied to groupings of industries.
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 (q.v.) 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 (q.v.). Dominated by Bolshevik delegates the Second Congress of Soviets approved the Bolshevik coup d'état 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.
correlation of forces and resources (sootnosheniie sil i sredstv)
A Soviet term meaning the aggregate of indexes permitting evaluation of the relative strength of friendly and hostile troops, by comparative analysis of the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of troop organization, performance data on armament and combat matériel, and other indexes that define combat readiness (q.v.) and combat capability.
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 (q.v.), 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 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.
CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union)
The official name of the communist party in the Soviet Union since 1952. Originally the Bolshevik (q.v.) faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (q.v.), 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.
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.
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 (q.v.). 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.
Defense Council
The chief decision-making organ of the Soviet national security apparatus, composed of selected members of the Politburo (q.v.) and headed by the general secretary (q.v.) of the CPSU (q.v.) and the chairman of the Presidium (q.v.) of the CPSU Central Committee.
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.
demokratizatsiia (democratization)
Campaign initiated by Gorbachev to enable different interest groups to participate in political processes to a greater extent than previously allowed.
dialectical materialism
A Marxist (q.v.) tenet describing the process by which the class struggle between bourgeois capitalist society and the exploited workers produces the dictatorship of the proletariat (q.v.) and evolves into socialism (q.v.) and, finally, communism (q.v.).
dictatorship of the proletariat
According to Marxism-Leninism (q.v.), the early stage of societal organization under socialism (q.v.) after the overthrow of capitalism. It involves workers' dominance in suppressing the counterrevolutionary resistance of the bourgeois "exploiting classes."
Donbass (Donetskiy basseyn)
Donets Basin. A major coal-mining and industrial area located in the southeastern Ukrainian Republic and the adjacent Russian Republic.
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.
An advisory council to the princes of Kievan Rus' (q.v.) and the tsars of the Russian Empire (q.v.).
Lower chamber of the legislature, established by Nicholas II after the Revolution of 1905.
East Slavs
A subdivision of Slavic peoples, who evolved into Russians, Ukrainians, and Belorussians and speak languages belonging to the East Slavic branch of the Indo-European family of languages.
A production establishment, such as a plant or a factory; not to be confused with a privately owned, Western-style business.
extensive economic development
Expansion of production by adding resources rather than by improving the efficiency of resource use, as in intensive economic development.
False Dmitrii
Name applied to three pretenders to the Muscovite throne during the Time of Troubles (q.v.). These pretenders claimed to be Dmitrii (who died as a child), the son of Tsar Ivan IV.
February Revolution
The popular uprising that overthrew the government of the Russian Empire (q.v.) under Tsar Nicholas II in February 1917 (according to the Julian calendar--q.v.), thus ending 300 years of rule bythe Romanov Dynasty.
first secretary
The title of the head of the CPSU (q.v.) Secretariat that was adopted after Stalin's death in 1953; used by V. Krushchev, and by Brezhnev until 1966 before the title was changed back to general secretary (q.v.).
fiscal year
A one-year period for financial accounting purposes, which can coincide with the calendar year (as it did in the Soviet Union).
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.
FOFA (Follow-on-Forces-Attack)
A North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military concept that emphasizing deep offensive operations on the enemy's second- echelon (follow-on) forces.
free trade zones
Areas where autonomy is allowed in conducting direct trade with foreigners.
In military usage, a front consists of two or more armies (q.v.). Two or more fronts constitute a theater of military operations (TVD--q.v.). In political usage, an organization controlled by the Soviet regime (through funding links and Soviet officials in leading positions) to support Soviet policies through lobbying and propaganda.
GATT (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. As of May 1989, its application had not been approved.
GDP (gross domestic product)
A measure of the total value of goods and services produced by the domestic economy during a given period, usually one year. Obtained by adding the value contributed by each sector of the economy in the form of profits, compensation to employees, and depreciation (consumption of capital). Only domestic production is included, not income arising from investments and possessions owned abroad, hence the use of the word domestic to distinguish GDP from gross national product (GNP--q.v.). Real GDP is the value of GDP when inflation has been taken into account.
general secretary
The title of the head of the CPSU (q.v.) Secretariat, who presides over the Politburo (q.v.) 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 (q.v.), 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.
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 (q.v.).
The official censorship organ, established in 1922 as the Main Administration for Literary and Publishing Affairs (Glavnoe upravlenie po delam literatury i izdatv--Glavlit). Although the formal name of that organization has since been changed to the Main Administration for Safeguarding State Secrets in the Press (Glavnoe upravlenie po okhrane gosudarstvennykh tain v pechati), the acronym Glavlit continued to be used in the late 1980s.
Glavrepertkom (Glavnyi Komitet po Kontroliu za Zrelishchami i Repertuarom--Glavrepertrom)
Main Committee for Control of Entertainment and Repertory. The governmental organization that directed theatrical, film, and other cultural productions and sanctioned their release for public viewing. The acronym, Glavrepestkom, continued in use although the organization was changed from a committee (komitet) to an administration (upravelenie) under the Ministry of Culture.
GNP (gross national product)
The total market value of final goods and services produced by an economy during a year. Obtained by adding the gross domestic product (GDP--q.v.) and the income received from abroad by residents and subtracting payments remitted abroad to nonresidents. Real GNP is the value of GNP when inflation has been taken into account.
Golden Horde
A federative Mongol state that extended from western Siberia to the Carpathian Mountains, encompassing much of eastern Europe. It ravaged Kievan Rus' (q.v.), subjugated Muscovy (q.v.) to the Mongol "yoke" (q.v.), and was a major political force from the mid-thirteenth century to the end of the fifteenth century. Generally, it exacted tribute and controlled external relations but allowed local authorities to decide internal affairs. The term is derived from the Mongol altan ordo or the Tatar altun ordu, literally meaning golden palace or camp, apparently based on the color of the tent used by Batu Khan (died 1255), the leader or ruler, during the Golden Horde's conquest of the region. Also known as the khanate of Kipchak.
Gosbank (Gosudarstvennyi bank)
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 (q.v.) and organizations. It received all taxes and payments to the state and paid out budgetary appropriations.
Goskino (Soyuzno-Respublikanskiy gosudarstvenyy komitet po kinematografii)
State Committee for Cinematography. Absorbed by the Ministry of Culture in 1953, it became an independent organization agains in 1963.
Goskomizdat (Soyuzno- Respublikanskiy gosudarstvennyy komitet po delam izdatel'stv poligrafii i lnizhoy torgovli)
State Committee for Publishing Houses, Printing Plants, and the Book Trade. Supervises the publishing and printing industry and exercises all-union (q.v.) control over the thematic trend and content of literature.
State Committee for the Protection of Nature. (Gosudarstvennyi komitet po okhrane prirody) Formed in 1988, the government agency charged with responsibility for overseeing environmental protection in the Soviet Union.
Goskomtsen (Goudarstvennyi 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.
Gosplan (Gosudarstvennyi planovyi komitet)
State Planning Committee. Under party guidance, it was primarily responsible for creating and monitoring five-year plans (q.v.) and annual plans. The name was changed from State Planning Commission in 1948, but the acronym was retained.
Gostelradio (Soyuzno- Respublikanskiy gosudarstvennyy komitet po televideniyu i radioveshchaniyu)
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.
GPU (Gosudarstvennoe politicheskoe upravlenie)
State Political Directorate. The security police successor to the Vecheka (q.v.) from 1922 to 1923.
Great Patriotic War
The Soviet name for the part of World War II in which the Soviet people fought against fascism from June 1941 to May 1945. Considered one of the just wars (q.v.) by the CPSU (q.v.).
Great Terror
A period, from about 1934 to 1939, of intense fear among Soviet citizens, millions of whom were arrested, interrogated, tortured, imprisoned, deported from their native lands, and executed by Stalin's secret police for political or economic crimes that were spurious. The Great Terror encompassed the general population and peaked in 1937 and 1938 when it included extensive purges of party members, many of whom held high positions in the government, economy, armed forces, party, and secret police itself.
See Main Intelligence Directorate.
GUGB (Glavnoe upravlenie gosudarstvennoi bezopasnosti)
Main Directorate for State Security. The security police, successor to the OGPU (q.v.), subordinate to the NKVD (q.v.). Existed from 1934 to 1941, 1941 to 1943, and 1953 to 1954.
Gulag (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.
hard currency
Currency that was freely convertible and traded on international currency markets.
Helsinki Accords
Signed in August by all the countries of Europe (except Albania) 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 (q.v.) 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 (q.v.).
A Mongol military force of about 30,000 to 40,000 troops mounted on horseback that was roughly equivalent in size to a modern army corps. A territory conquered by a horde (ordo in Mongol) was organized into a hanate (q.v.) troops of the horde were accompanied by their families, and their descendants were gradually assimilated into the peoples that they conquered.
IMF (International Monetary Fund)
Established along with the World Bank (q.v.) 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 (q.v.) difficulties. These loans frequently have conditions that require substantial internal economic adjustments by the recipients, most of which are developing countries.
Intellectuals constituting the cultural, academic, social, and political elite.
internal passport
Government-issued document, presented to officials on demand, identifying citizens and their authorized residence. Used in both the Russian Empire (q.v.) and the Soviet Union to restrict the movement of people.
Izvestiia (News)
Daily, nationwide newspaper published by the Presidium (q.v.) of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union.
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' (q.v.) and Muscovy (q.v.). The Julian calendar's year, however, was over eleven minutes too long compared with the solar year, i.e., the time 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 (q.v.). 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.
just wars
According to Marxism-Leninism (q.v.), just wars are those waged to protect the interests of the working class and the toiling masses, to liquidate social and national oppression, and to protect national sovereignty against imperialist aggression. The most just wars are those waged in defense of the socialist fatherland. In contrast, unjust wars are reactionary or predatory wars waged by imperialist countries.
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.
Literally, land of the Kazakhs. A vast region in Central Asia settled by the Golden Horde (q.v.) in the thirteenth century that the Russian Empire (q.v.) 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 (q.v.) status in the Soviet Union.
KGB (Komitet gosudarstvennoi bezopasnosti)
Committee for State Security. The predominant security police organization since its establishment in 1954.
Dominion or territorial jurisdiction of a Mongol khan (ruler).
A system of "self-supporting operations," applied to such individual enterprises (q.v.) as factories, encompassing a wide range of activities, including samofinanserovanie (q.v.), and a management process involving a large number of individuals.
Kievan Rus'
An East Slavic state, centered on Kiev, established by Oleg ca. 880. Disintegrated by the thirteenth century.
kolkhoz (pl., kolkhozy)
See collective farm.
Komsomol (Vsesoiuznyi Leninskii kommunisticheskii soiuz molodezhi)
All-Union Lenin Communist Youth League. An organization administered by the CPSU (q.v.) 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 (q.v.) and involved them in large-scale industrial projects, such as factory construction and the virgin land campaign (q.v.). 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.
krai (pl., kraia)
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 (q.v.), or autonomous okrug (q.v.), or both. Directly subordinate to its union republic (q.v.).
kremlin (kreml')
Central citadel in many medieval Russian towns, usually located at a strategic spot along a river. Moscow's Kremlin is now the seat of the CPSU (q.v.) and the government of the Soviet Union.
A successful, independent farmer of the period of Soviet history before collectivization (q.v.). According to the Bolsheviks (q.v.), any peasant who hired labor. The term eventually was applied to any peasant who opposed collectivization.
Kuzbass (Kuznetskiy basseyn)
Kuznetsk Basin. A major coal-mining and industrial area located in southern Siberia, east and southeast of Novosibirsk.
League of Nations
An 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.
Lend-Lease Law
A foreign aid program initiated by the United States in March 1941 that authorized the transfer of substantial quantities of war matériel, 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.
liquidity shortage
A lack of assets that can be readily converted to cash.
local war
Armed conflict short of general war, usually waged with limited forces and in a limited area. In Soviet usage, local war usually referred to a war waged by capitalist countries against "wars of national liberation."
Main Intelligence Directorate (Glavnoe razvedyvatel'noe upravlenie--GRU)
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 (q.v.), guerrilla warfare, and sabotage.
Main Political Directorate of the Soviet Army and Navy
The organ the CPSU (q.v.) used to control the armed forces of the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact (q.v.) 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 (Comecon--q.v.).
The economic, political, and social theories of Karl Marx, a nineteenth-century German philosopher and socialist, especially his concept of socialism (q.v.), which includes the labor theory of value, dialectical materialism (q.v.), class struggle (q.v.), and the dictatorship of the proletariat (q.v.) 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.
The ideology of communism (q.v.), 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 (q.v.), after the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, as a transitional socialist (q.v.) 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.
A member of a wing of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (q.v.) before and during the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917. Unlike the Bolsheviks (q.v.), the Mensheviks believed in the gradual achievement of socialism (q.v.) by parliamentary methods. The term Menshevik is derived from the word menshenstvo (minority).
The primate of an ecclesiastical province of the Orthodox Church.
MGB (Ministerstvo gosudarstvennoi bezopasnosti)
Ministry of State Security. The paramount security police organization from 1946 to 1953.
military commissariat (voennyi komissariat--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.
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.'
Mongol "yoke"
Period of Mongol domination of much of eastern Europe by the Golden Horde (q.v.) from the mid-thirteenth century to the end of the fifteenth century.
MOOP (Ministerstvo okhrany obshchestvennogo poriadka)
Ministry for the Preservation of Public Order. Functioned between 1962 and 1968.
moral-political capabilities
The ability of the people and the armed forces to assume a positive attitude toward a war fought by the Soviet Union and to support the political goals of the war under trying circumstances.
most-favored-nation status
Under the provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT--q.v.), when one country accords another most-favored-nation status it agrees to extend that country the same trade concessions, e.g., lower tariffs or reduced nontariff barriers, that it grants to any other recipients having most- favored-nation status. As of May 1989, the Soviet Union had not been a member of GATT and had not received most-favored-nation status from the United States.
mujahidin (sing., mujahid)
Derived from the word jihad, the term means holy warriors and is used by and applied to the Afghan resistance or freedom fighters.
Muslim man trained in Islamic law and doctrine.
The state that emerged around Moscow after the decline of Kievan Rus' (q.v.) in the thirteenth century. Predecessor to the Russian Empire (q.v.), which was proclaimed in 1721 by Peter the Great.
MVD (Ministerstvo vnutrennykh del)
Ministry of Internal Affairs. Existed from 1946 to 1962; in 1968 began to exercise regular police functions.
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.
Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression 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. Also known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
NEP (Novaia ekonomicheskaia politika)
New Economic Policy. Instituted in 1921, it let peasants sell produce on an open market and permitted small enterprises (q.v.) to be privately owned and operated. Cultural restrictions were also relaxed during this period. NEP declined with the forced collectivization (q.v.) of farms and was officially ended by Stalin in December 1929.
net material product
The official measure of the value of goods and services produced in the Soviet Union, and in other countries having a planned economy, during a given period, usually a year. It approximates the term gross national product (GNP--q.v.) used by economists in the United States and in other countries having a market economy. The Soviet measure has been based on constant prices, which do not fully account for inflation, and has excluded depreciation.
"new Soviet man"
A theoretical goal of several Soviet regimes to transform the culturally, ethnically, and linguistically diverse peoples of the Soviet Union into a single Soviet people, behaving according to the ideology of Marxism-Leninism (q.v.).
"new thinking"
Gorbachev's view that international politics should be based on common moral and ethical norms rather than military force, including nuclear war; an integral part of perestroika (q.v.).
NKGB (Narodnyi komissariat gosudarstvennoi bezopasnosti)
People's Commissariat of State Security. 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 (q.v.) was abolished in 1934, the NKVD incorporated the security police organization until 1946.
The CPSU's (q.v.) 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.
nonchernozem (nechernozem'e)
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 (q.v.) zone.
Novosti (Agentstvo pechati novosti)
News Press Agency. The news agency responsible for disseminating Soviet information abroad. (The word novost' means news or something new.)
nuclear war-fighting
The capability to use nuclear weapons to fight a war.
oblast (pl., oblasts)
A territorial and administrative subdivision in ten of the fifteen union republics (q.v.). Directly subordinate to its union republic. See also autonomous oblast.
(OECD) Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Founded by Western nations in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade. It also coordinated economic aid to less developed countries. In 1989 members included Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States, and West Germany.
OGPU (Ob"edinennoe gosudarstvennoe politicheskoe upravlenie)
Unified State Political Directorate. The security police from 1923 to 1934; successor to the GPU.
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.
okrug (pl., okruga)
See autonomous okrug.
Old Believers
A sect of the Russian Orthodox Church that rejected the changes made by Patriarch Nikon in the mid-seventeenth century.
Old Church Slavonic (also known as Church Slavonic)
The first Slavic literary language. Influenced development of modern Slavic languages, especially literary Russian. Used in liturgies of the Russian Orthodox Church and other Slavic churches.
opportunity cost
The value of goods or services in terms of what had to be sacrificed to obtain them.
The era in the 1550s during which Ivan IV (the Terrible) brutally punished and decimated the boyar (q.v.) class.
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.
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 (q.v.) and Party Rules (q.v.).
party program
A comprehensive statement adopted by a party congress (q.v.) that states the goals and principles of the party. The 1986 party program, the fourth since 1918, was adopted by the Twenty-Seventh Party Congress. It was notable in that it did not set definite dates for the attainment of goals, unlike its predecessor, the 1961 party program.
Party Rules (Ustav kommunisticheskoi partii Sovetskogo Soiuza)
CPSU document containing regulations for admission of individuals into the CPSU (q.v.); the organizational structure of the party; the principles of democratic centralism (q.v.); the role of the primary party organization (q.v.); the party's relations with the Komsomol (q.v.); party organizations in the armed forces; and membership dues. It can be altered by the party congress (q.v.). Also called Party Statute.
The movement of one person a distance of one kilometer.
Head of an independent Orthodox Church, such as the Russian Orthodox Church, or one of the Eastern Rite Catholic churches.
peaceful coexistence
According to Marxism-Leninism (q.v.), the doctrine of maintaining proper state-to-state relations between socialist (q.v.) 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.
people's court
An official tribunal having jurisdiction in most civil and criminal cases originating in a (raion) (q.v.). The court war 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 (q.v.); 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.
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.
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.
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 (q.v.) revolution and would inspire the continuous or permanent outbreak of socialist revolutions internationally. Continuing world revolution remained a doctrine of the CPSU (q.v.) in the late 1980s.
Pioneer (Pioner)
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 has been the rudimentary political indoctrination of Soviet youth. At age fourteen, a Pioneer can enter the Komsomol (q.v.). In 1980 about 20 million children were members of the Pioneer organization.
Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPSU (q.v.); 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.
popular front
A device of Soviet foreign policy, implemented with the assistance of the Comintern (q.v.), that attempted to gain allies, principally the Western democracies, against the fascists in Spain, Germany, and elsewhere, from 1939 through World War II.
Pravda (Truth)
Daily, nationwide newspaper published by the Central Committee of the CPSU (q.v.).
Presidium (of the Central Committee of the CPSU)
The CPSU Politburo (q.v.) 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.
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.
A member of the Procuracy whose responsibilities can include conducting investigations, supervising investigations carried out by the MVD (q.v.) and the KGB (q.v.), 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 (q.v.) 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 (q.v.).
raion (pl., raiony)
A low-level territorial and administrative subdivision for rural and municipal administration. A rural raion was a county-sized district in a krai (q.v.), oblast (q.v.), autonomous republic (q.v.), autonomous okrug (q.v.), or union republic (q.v.). A city raion was similar to a borough in some large cities in the United States.
The ability of military units to deploy to achieve a wartime objective without delay. According to Western authorities, divisions of the Soviet Ground Forces varied greatly in their readiness and could be placed in three states of readiness. About 40 percent of the divisions were in a high state of readiness with trained manpower at more than 50 percent of wartime authorization and with late-model weapons and equipment. About 50 percent of the divisions were in a lower state of readiness with trained personnel at less than 50 percent authorization and with older weapons and equipment. (These divisions would require mobilization and training of reservists before being committed to combat.) About 10 percent of the divisions were essentially unmanned, inactive equipment sets that would require extensive time for mobilization and training before deployment.
Red Army
The name for the Soviet army from 1918 until 1945.
Red Terror
Initiated by the Bolsheviks (q.v.) after an August 1918 attempt on Lenin's life. The bloody reign of the Vecheka (q.v.), during which the nation was ruthlessly subjugated to the Bolshevik will. The Red Terror continued until 1920.
Official restoration of a person or group of people sentenced and imprisoned or exiled for political crimes.
repressed inflation
An economic situation in which government price controls restrict increases in prices but do not substantially decrease underlying causes of inflation.
RSFSR (Rossiiskaia Sovetskaia Federativnaia Sotsialisticheskaia Respublika)
Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic; the Russian Republic. The largest of the fifteen union republics (q.v.), 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.
The monetary unit of the Soviet Union; divided into 100 kopeks. The official Soviet exchange rate was 0.61 ruble per US$1 (1988 average). The black market rate varied from 4 to 6 rubles per US$1 in 1988. The ruble has historically not been considered hard currency (q.v.).
See Kievan Rus'.
Russian Empire
Successor state to Muscovy (q.v.). 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 Social Democratic Labor Party (Rossiiskaia sotsial- demokraticheskaia rabochaia partiia)
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.
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 (q.v.).
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 (q.v.), particularly in the case of Ukrainians, Belorussians, and non-Russian educated elites.
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.
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 are called tamizdat (q.v.).
Literally, self-financing. A practice of some ministries enabling selected enterprises (q.v.) to recover production costs and sufficient profits for investment. Without such financial autonomy, enterprises had to rely on funds allocated by central economic planners.
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 (q.v.).
Peasant legally bound to the land. Serfs were emancipated by Tsar Alexander II in 1861.
Shia (or Shiite)
A member of the smaller of the two great divisions of Islam. The Shias supported the claims of Ali and his line to presumptive right to the caliphate and leadership of the world Muslim community, and on this issue they divided from the Sunnis (q.v.) in the first great schism of Islam. Later schisms have produced further divisions among the Shias. In 1989 about 10 percent of the Soviet Union's Muslims were Shias.
Members of the Russian intelligentsia (q.v.) in the mid- nineteenth century who advocated Slavic, and specifically Russian, culture over western European culture, as opposed to Westernizers (q.v.).
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 (q.v.), its intent was to achieve a single Russian-speaking, Soviet nationality.
According to Marxism-Leninism (q.v.), the first phase of communism (q.v.). 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, some West European countries.
socialist countries
As defined by the CPSU (q.v.), those countries governed by a Marxist ideology. In May 1989, these included Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), East Germany, Hungary, Laos, Madagascar, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Poland, the Soviet Union, and Vietnam.
socialist internationalism
The linking of all socialist (q.v.) countries. See Brezhnev Doctrine; see proletarian internationalism.
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-ŕ-vis the state. Under Stalin, the doctrine was interpreted narrowly, with emphasis on facilitating fulfillment of the economic five-year plans (q.v.). 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.
socialist property
According to a basic precept of socialism (q.v.), the state owns all land, resources, and the means of production in industry, construction, and agriculture, as well as the transportation and communication systems, banks, and trade enterprises (q.v.). In the Soviet Union, the CPSU (q.v.) controlled socialist property.
socialist realism
An aesthetic doctrine that measured artistic and literary merit by the degree to which a work contributed to the building of socialism (q.v.) among the masses.
soft-currency goods
Items that could be bought without the expenditure of hard currency (q.v.).
soviet (sovet)
Literally, advice, counsel, or council. The basic governmental organ at all levels of the Soviet Union.
sovkhoz (pl., sovkhozy)
See state farm.
Spetsnaz (Voiska spetsial'nogo naznacheniia, meaning)
Special-Purpose Forces of the Soviet armed forces or KGB (q.v.), trained to attack important command, communications, and weapons centers behind enemy lines.
Literally, 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.
SSR (sovetskaia sotsialisticheskaia respublika)
Soviet socialist republic. A soviet union republic (q.v.).
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.
state farm (sovetskoe khoziaistvo--sovkhoz)
A government-owned and government-managed enterprise (q.v.) where workers are paid salaries.
The vast, semiarid, grass-covered plain in the southeastern portion of the European part of the Soviet Union. One of the five primary natural zones of the Soviet Union.
An Islamic movement that emphasizes a personal and mystical approach in the search for "divine truth." Sufism consists of semisecret Sufi brotherhoods, each pursuing a different school or "path" of mystic discipline but having a common goal.
A member of the larger of the two great divisions of Islam. The Sunnis, who rejected the claim of Ali's line, believe that they are the true followers of the sunna, the guide to proper behavior composed of the Quran and hadith, the precedent of Muhammad's words that serves as one of the sources of Islamic law. In 1989 about 90 percent of the Soviet Union's Muslims were Sunnis.
Table of Ranks
A system of ranks for nobles based on service to the tsar rather than on birth or seniority. Created by Peter the Great in 1722.
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 (q.v.).
Literally, published there (abroad). Russian word for samizdat (q.v.) manuscripts surreptitiously sent abroad for publication.
TASS (Telegrafnoe agentstvo Sovetskogo Soiuza)
Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union. The news agency that had a monopoly on collecting and distributing news within the Soviet Union.
territorial production complex (territorial'no proyvodstvennyi kompleks)
An economic entity consisting of various economically related industrial and agricultural enterprises (q.v.) in a particular geographic area.
Time of Troubles
Period of civil war in Muscovy between boyar (q.v.) factions from 1598 to 1613, with heavy Polish involvement.
The movement of one ton of cargo a distance of one kilometer. Ton-kilometers are computed by multiplying the weight (in tons) of each shipment transported by the distance hauled (in kilometers).
tons originated
The weight of freight (in tons) at its original point of shipment.
transmission belt
An organization, not formally part of the CPSU (q.v.) apparatus, used by the party to convey its party program (q.v.) and propaganda to the population at large, for example, Soviet trade unions.
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 (q.v.) was opened in 1989.
trust (trest)
An economic entity that consists of several industrial enterprises (q.v.) of the same type, e.g., construction trust, assembly trust.
The treeless plain within the Arctic Circle that has low- growing vegetation and permanently frozen subsoil (permafrost-- q.v.). The northernmost of the five primary natural zones of the Soviet Union.
Literally, the land of the Turks. An immense, ancient territory in Central Asia stretching from the Caspian Sea in the west and extending into China's present-day Xinjiang Autonomous Region and northern Afghanistan in the east. Includes a large part of Kazakhstan (q.v.).
turnover tax
A sales tax levied primarily on consumer goods.
TVD (teatr voennykh deistvii)
Theater of military operations. A Soviet term meaning part of a continent or ocean within which are deployed strategic groupings of armed forces and within which military operations are conducted.
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. It is one of the Eastern Rite Catholic churches.
Unified Electrical Power System (Ob''edinennaia elektroenergeticheskaia sistema)
The national electric power generating and transmission network of the Soviet Union. The system includes over 90 percent of the country's generating capacity and is divided into regional power networks, each serving a single administrative or industrial area. It is linked to systems in Bulgaria, Finland, Norway, Poland, Romania, and Turkey.
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 (q.v.), autonomous oblasts (q.v.), kraia (q.v.), and autonomous republics (q.v.) as major subdivisions. Also known as Soviet socialist republic (SSR--q.v.).
union-republic ministries
Ministries that had counterpart ministries in each of the republics. Other ministries of the central government were termed all-union ministries (q.v.).
united front
A Leninist tactic used by the Soviet regime to authorize communist parties in other countries to collaborate temporarily with noncommunist parties. The purpose was theoretically to promote democratic institutions and workers' rights, but in reality it provided opportunities for communists to secure political gains and to seize power without resorting to revolution.
uskorenie (acceleration)
Under Gorbachev, an on-going effort to speed up the rate of growth and modernization of the economy.
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Soviet Union.
A group of Norsemen who assumed control over communities of East Slavs (q.v.) ca. A.D. 860 and who founded the Rurikid Dynasty, which ruled for over 700 years.
Vecheka (Vserossiiskaia chrezvychainaia komissiia po bor'be s kontrrevoliutsiei i sabotazhem--VChK)
All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counterrevolution and Sabotage. The political police created by the Bolsheviks (q.v.) 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.
virgin land campaign
An intensive but ultimately unsuccessful agricultural project directed by Nikita S. 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.
See military commissariat.
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 (q.v.) in August 1965.
war communism
Policy of the Bolshevik (q.v.) regime during the Civil War (1918-21), in which the country's economy was almost totally directed toward equipping and maintaining the Red Army (q.v.).
Warsaw Pact
Political-military alliance founded by the Soviet Union in 1955 as a counterweight to NATO. Members in 1989 included Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union. Served as the Soviet Union's primary mechanism for keeping political and military control over Eastern Europe.
Russian intellectuals in the mid-nineteenth century who emphasized Russia's cultural ties with the West, as opposed to the Slavophiles (q.v.).
White armies
Various military forces that attempted to overthrow the Bolshevik (q.v.) 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 (q.v.).
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 (IMF--q.v.).
world socialist system
In the Soviet view, a commonwealth of advanced socialist states that accept the Soviet model of government and interpretation of Marxism-Leninism (q.v.).
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.
Young Octobrists (Oktiabriata)
Literally, "Children of October." An organization that has prepared Soviet schoolchildren ages six to nine for membership in the Pioneer (q.v.) organization. Established in 1923, the first Young Octobrists were contemporaries of the October Revolution of 1917 (Bolshevik Revolution--q.v.), hence the name "Children of October."
zampolit (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.
zemskii sobor
A national assembly consisting of members of the duma (q.v.) of the boyars (q.v.), high church dignitaries, elected representatives of the nobility, townspeople, and sometimes the peasants. Originally a consultative body in the mid-sixteenth century, this organization shared some minor governing functions with the tsars by the mid- seventeenth century but was not convened in the eighteenth century or subsequently.
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 (q.v.) in 1917.
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 (q.v.). Many attacks were made against persons of Jewish nationality (q.v.), who were termed "rootless cosmopolitans." Zhdanov died in 1948, but the purge continued.