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Index of Russian Geographic Terms

 

In order to find and use specific types of Russian records, researchers need to be able to identify and understand some key terms in the Russian language. The following index contains terms relating to geographic features and places transliterated from Russian (left column) and their English translations (right column). The terms included here are those that you are likely to find in Russian genealogical sources. If the term you are looking for is not on this list, please consult a Russian-English dictionary. Compiled by Jonathan J. Kalmakoff.

 

Index -- Geographic Features - Places - Other Terms

 


 

Geographic Features

 

Balka

(archaic) valley

Bereg

river bank

Boloto

marsh; swamp

Brod

ford

Bukhta

cove

Bystrina

rapids

Chernozem

black earth

Dolina

valley; plain

Gora; Gorka

mountain; large hill

Gornaya Strana

highland

Gornaya Tsep’

mountain range

Guba

gulf; bay

Kanal

channel

Kholm

hill; hillock

Khrebet

mountain ridge

Kosa

spit; neck of land

Kurgan

mound; barrow

Laguna

lagoon

Lednik

glacier

Les

forest

Lesok

small wood; grove

Levada (archaic) meadow; pasture

Liman

estuary; bay; gulf

Lug

meadow

Melkovod’e

shoal

More

sea

Mys

cape; headland; promontory

Nagornaya Ravnina

plateau

Nezmennost’

lowland

Nora

hole; burrow

Okean

ocean

Ostrov

island

Ozero

lake

Pastbishche

pasture; pasturage

Peshchera

cave

Poberezh’e

beach; coast

Pole

field

Poluostrov

peninsula

Pustynya

desert

Ravnina

plain

Reka

river

Rodnik

spring

Roshcha

grove; wood

Ruchei

creek

Sad

orchard; garden

Shpil' mountain spire or peak

Skala

rock; cliff

Step’

steppe; prairie

Taiga

sub-arctic forest

Tundra

tundra; treeless sub-arctic plain

Ust’

estuary

Utes

cliff; crag

Valun

boulder

Vodoem

pond

Vodopad

waterfall

Vygon

common pasture

Yar

cliff; bluff; steep bank

Zaliv

bay; gulf

Zemlya

land

 


 

Places

 

Aul

rural village in the Caucasus

Avtonomnaya Respublika

autonomous republic; ethno-territorial division in the Soviet Union equivalent to the oblast

Dereven’ka

small hamlet

Derevnya

hamlet; small rural village without a church

Derzhava

state; empire; dominion

Dvor

homestead; yard; household

Ferma

farm; homestead

Gavan'

harbour; port

Gorod

city; town

Gorodok

small city or town

Granitsa

boundary; frontier

Gubernia

province; primary administrative division in Imperial Russia, divided into several uezds; replaced by the oblast in the Soviet Union

Imenie

estate or large manorial farmstead in Imperial Russia

Imperiya

empire

Khutor

farmstead; rural settlement of one or several families at some distance from a nearby village

Kishlak

Turkish or Tatar village

Kolkhoz

collective farm in the Soviet Union

Krai

region; administrative division in the more remote areas of the Soviet Union equivalent to the oblast

Krepost’

fortified settlement in Imperial Russia

Mestechko

small town in southern and western territory of Imperial Russia

Mesto

place

Oblast

territory; administrative division in the more remote areas of Imperial Russia equivalent to the gubernia but with less autonomy; in the Soviet Union, large administrative unit which replaced the gubernia

Okrug

district; in Imperial Russia, administrative subdivision of the Gubernia in the region of the Don Cossacks, equivalent to the uezd; in the Soviet Union, administrative subdivision of the oblast

Okraina

frontier territory; border

Pochinok

newly-founded village

Port

port; harbour

Posad

settlement; colony

Poselenie

suburban settlement in Imperial Russia

Poselok

suburban settlement or village attached to industrial enterprises; suburb

Prikhod

parish

Pustosh

(archaic) abandoned, uninhabited place

Rayon

district; administrative subdivision of the okrug in the Soviet Union; replaced the uezd

Respublika

union republic; primary administrative division in the Soviet Union, divided into oblasts, krai and avtonomnye respubliks; also known as Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR)

Selenie

settlement; village (either a derevnya or selo)

Selo

village, especially a large rural village with a church

Selsovet

rural district; smallest administrative division in the Soviet Union; replaced the volost; also village council

Sloboda

village freed from taxes and levies for various reasons; suburb

Stanitsa

Cossack rural village

Uchastok

sub-district; administrative subdivision of the uezd in Imperial Russia

Uezd

district; administrative subdivision of the gubernia in Imperial Russia; replaced by the rayon in the Soviet Union

Volost

rural sub-district; smallest administrative division in Imperial Russia

Yurt

settlement or camp of the native tribes of Eastern Russia

Zhilo

(archaic) inhabited place

 


 

Other Russian Terms


 

Bibliography

  • Dal, V.I. Tolkovyi Slovar Zhivogo Velikorusskago Iazyka. (Moscow, 1999).

  • Kroutikhin, Mikhail I. Correspondence to the author re: Russian genealogical terms. September, 2006.

  • Mueller, V.K. English-Russian Dictionary. 24th Ed. (Moscow, 1995).

  • Pushkarev, Sergei G. Dictionary of Russian Historical Terms from the Eleventh Century to 1917 (Yale, 1970).