NOTE ON DATES, TRANSLITERATION, AND NAMES
I will adhere to standard practice on these matters, with a few adjustments to make this book more accessible to non‑specialists.
Only in 1918 did Russia adopt the reforms in the calendar that had been undertaken in eighteenth‑century Europe. Consequently, until that time, Russian dates were ten to twelve days behind those of the rest of Europe. I will use the Russian dates throughout.
In transliterating words from the Cyrillic to the English alphabet, I will employ the Library of Congress system, without the diacritical marks. The differences between that system and others account for occasional differences in spelling between words in the text and the same words in quotations and bibliographic references, e.g. “Baranskaia” (the Library of Congress version) and “Baranskaya” (a common alternative).
Russian names present the thorniest problem for a Russian historian writing in English for a general audience. I have chosen to modify the standard transliteration practices by eliminating the “ii” in the endings of such first names as Mariia. I have kept the “ii” in last names, because doing so distinguishes Russian from Polish and other Slavic surnames. I have also omitted the patronymic middle names that are an integral part of Russian names but are confusing to non‑Russians. Finally, I use common anglicizations of the names of famous people, e.g., Catherine II, not Ekaterina.
Boyar (feminine: boyarina) –the title of members of the elite families that ranked just below royalty from Rus to Muscovite times.
Bolshevik Party –the branch of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party that seized power in 1917. It adopted the name Communist Party in 1918.
Commune –the organization headed by male heads of household that existed in some Russian peasant villages from Muscovite times through the 1930s. It allocated some farming tasks and handled relations with landlords and government officials.
Duma –(1) city assemblies modeled on the zemstva, established in 1870; (2) the national legislature established in 1906 and abolished in 1917; (3) the lower house of the Russian legislature established in 1993.
NKVD –People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs (Narodnyi Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del), the national police agency of the Stalin period.
Politburo –the committee comprising the top leaders of the Communist Party.
Populists –the socialists of the 1870s and 1880s.
Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (Social Democrats) –the Marxist party, organized in the 1890s, that split in the early twentieth century into the Bolshevik and Menshevik factions.
Socialist Revolutionary Party –a party with roots in the populist movement, set up shortly after 1900.
Soviet –(1) in 1905, one of the committees organized in St. Petersburg and other cities to represent the workers and coordinate general strikes; (2) in 1917, one of the elected organizations representing workers and soldiers; (3) from 1918, one of the elected bodies that made up the legislatures of the Soviet government.
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics –the political unit created in 1924 that comprised the republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belorussia, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
Zemstvo –an elected assembly, created in the 1860s, composed mostly of nobles and charged with organizing and financing local economic development and social services.
List of Royal Titles (in chronological order)
Prince, princess (in Russian, kniaz, kniaginia) –titles held by the ruling families of the Kievan and Appanage periods. The titles continued to be used in later centuries to denote families of ancient pedigree.
Tsar, tsaritsa, tsarevny –in Muscovy and thereafter, the ruler, his wife, and his daughters.
Emperor, empress –titles adopted by Peter I and his successor, who kept the title “tsar,” but relegated it to a lesser position, after “emperor” and “autocrat.”
Grand duchess, grand duke –the children of an emperor and the wives of a grand duke.
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