Russia Country Name
It is the traditional name under which both the extreme eastern region of Europe (or Sarmatic region) is indicated, as well as the political unity that corresponded to it and still corresponds to it today, although a denomination is more properly applied to the latter different. The origin of the name is disputed: probably the Slavs designated the Scandinavian Varangians with the name Rus ′; this hypothesis is supported by the fact that Ruotsiis the name used by the Finns to designate the Scandinavians. With the expansion of the Tsarist rule and with the incipient enhancement of the Asian part of this domain, the extension of the name Russia beyond the Urals goes hand in hand. The Bolshevik revolution, completely changing the relationships previously existing between the various ethnic groups making up the Russian state, replaced the old denomination, which essentially expressed the rights of the most numerous element, the affirmation of the common convergence of these different units in the unity of the state, according to the federative concept that underlies it. Alongside the official abbreviations with which the new body is marked (SSSR – Sojuz Sovetskich Socialističeskich Respublik, or “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” hence the abbreviation, commonly used, of the USSR), the old name of Russia has been preserved, both limited to the European area, and extended to the entire domain of the Soviet federation. In an improper (and unofficial) sense, some also refer to Russia as the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic (RSFSR), that is the most powerful state of the Union, as opposed to the other six republics of which it is constituted.
Finally, it is not uncommon to hear about a Russia proper, formed by the 13 regions (kraj) of Leningrad, Moscow, Ivanovo, West, Voronezh, Kursk, North, Gor′kij (Nizhny Novgorod), Middle Volga, Saratov, Stalingrad (Caricyn), Pyatigorsk and the Black Sea, including the two autonomous republics ASSR = Autonomye Socialists è eskie Sovetskie Respubliki) of the Volga Germans (Nemcev Povol ž ′ ja) and the 10 autonomous territories (AO = Avtonomnye Oblasti) of the Kalmykas) (Kalmycka), of the Adighe (Adygejskaja), of the Karaciai (Kara è aevskaja), of the Kabardini (Kabardino – Balkarskaja), of the Ossetians of the N. (Severo – Osetskaja), of the Ingushetians (Ingu š etskaja) and of the Chechens (Č e è enskaja). Neither of these last two meanings, however, corresponds to a geographical individuality: the first, in fact, while extending the name Russia to the shores of the Pacific, breaks in various ways the unity, or rather the different natural unities to be which results from the Asian part of Soviet domination, and the second does not recompose even that defined in a certain way by the Urals peak, the Ural river and the depression of the two Manyč (or perhaps by the hip of the Caucasian ridge), borders crossed several times or not reached by the expiry of the administrative limits.
For these reasons it seems preferable to keep the name Russia its traditional value (thus leaving aside any correspondence to political or administrative entities), that is to say, considering it equivalent to the strictly European Russia. Although the distinction between this and the Asian side tends to disappear, the contrast is still too evident and substantial, for one to hesitate to recognize in the former the vital, economic and cultural nucleus of the entire USSR.
The geographical treatment, for the physical and anthropic part, will therefore particularly concern European Russia; please refer to the major voices Caucasus, Siberia and Turkestan, as well as to the minor ones Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bukhara, Chiva, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Transcaucasia, Uzbekistan, etc., for the corresponding discussion on Russia of Asia. More news on Ukraine, White Russia and other minor political divisions of European Russia will be found in the rumors dedicated to them. For an exhaustive discussion of the political-administrative organization and economic conditions of the Union of Soviet Republics, see item u. r. s. s., since we will limit ourselves here to giving only a few indispensable hints.
As is well understood, the treatment of Russian history, art and literature finds a place in this item in accordance with the usual denomination.