Glossary -- Soviet Union
- Academy of Sciences (Akademiia
- 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
- 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
- Agitprop (Otdel agitatsii i
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Literally, grandmother. Generally, any old woman.
- balance of payments
- The international transactions of a country, including
commodity and service transactions, capital transactions, and
- 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
- 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
- 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
- combine (kombinat)
- An economic entity of an industrial or service nature that
consists of several specialized, technologically related
- Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic
- 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
- 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
- Comintern (Communist
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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-
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- MGB (Ministerstvo gosudarstvennoi
- Ministry of State Security. The paramount security police
organization from 1946 to 1953.
- military commissariat (voennyi
- 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
- 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
- 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.,
- Derived from the word jihad, the term means holy
warriors and is used by and applied to the Afghan resistance or
- 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
- NKGB (Narodnyi komissariat gosudarstvennoi
- 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.
- 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
- Novosti (Agentstvo pechati
- 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
- 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.,
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- The executive committee of the national executive branch of
- Presidium (of the Supreme
- The executive committee of the national legislative branch of
- 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
- raion (pl.,
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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,
- socialist internationalism
- The linking of all socialist (q.v.) countries.
See Brezhnev Doctrine; see proletarian
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Soviet socialist republic. A soviet union republic
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- TASS (Telegrafnoe agentstvo Sovetskogo
- Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union. The news agency that
had a monopoly on collecting and distributing news within the
- 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
- tons originated
- The weight of freight (in tons) at its original point of
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.