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[soc.culture.russian] SCR and Cyrillization FAQ: parts (2+3)/4 (Cyrillization)

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Archive-Name: cultures/russian/cyrillization
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-Modified: 1996/08/04
Version: 2.0

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge

This part of SOC.CULTURE.RUSSIAN FAQ answers the questions:

   - What are the ways to write and read in Russian on Internet?
   - What is necessary to install Cyrillic fonts/drivers on my computer?
     (PC/Windows, OS/2, Mac, Xwindows, Sun)
   - How to use FTP, Gopher, WWW cruisers to download the necessary files?
   - How to make my Netscape WWW browser work with Cyrillic?
   - What are relcom newsgroups and how to get them?
   - What places on Usenet other than s.c.r have information about Russia?
   - Are there any Russian mailing lists?
   - What are the FTP, Gopher and WWW sites with Russian resources?

2.1. Representations of Cyrillic alphabet
- -----------------------------------------

All the material below pertains only to the Russian version of Cyrillic
alphabet (32 or 33 letters).

There are four ways to enter Cyrillic texts on Internet - transliteration
(matching Cyrillic letters with Latin letters and letter combinations),
phonetic matching (emulation of the pronounciation of words in Russian with
English letters), use of Cyrillic code page (one of the standard schemes
that allows one to see and type in _real_ Cyrillic fonts) and "visual"
matching (matching Cyrillic letters with letters/numbers/special symbols
that look alike).

Cyrillic code pages (there are several in existence, but one almost
exclusively used on Internet is RFC-1489 KOI-8 - called KOI-8 for
brevity from now on in this text) allocate the letters of Cyrillic
alphabet to the characters nubmered from 128 to 255 in a standard
256-character set. Normally these characters are used for
pseudographics and special character symbols. Setting up Cyrillic
fonts and drivers takes some time, but this is the task entirely
within the reach of an ordinary user, and the reward is instant
access to all the vast Russian KOI-8 resources currently available
on Internet.

Transliteration is the easiest way for a computer-clueless newbie to 
Russian texts, as it requires no messing with the software. However, it may
also turn out to be the most difficult way, especially for the non-native
speaker, because there is more than one transliteration scheme in existence
and users often mix these schemes and mix transliterated and phonetic
representations as well.

Some of the more common transliteration matches for Cyrillic alphabet
are listed in Table 1, one column being the traditional one and the other
based on KOI-8 characters with the 8th bit stripped.

Table 1. Russian alphabet in various representations

    |lit 1 |lit 2 |
- ----+------+------+------
    A      A      A
    B      B      6
    V,W    W      B
    G,Gh   G      |~,r
    D      D      D
    E,ye   E      E
    Zh,j   V      >|<
    Z      Z      3
    I      I      |/|,u
    J,y    J      none
    K      K      K
    L      L      /|
    M      M      M
    N      N      H
    O      O      O
    P      P      n,|~|
    R      R      P
    S      S      C
    T      T      T
    U      U      y
    F      F      [|]
    H,Kh   H      X
    Ts,C   C      U,
    Ch     ~      4
    Sh     {      W
    Sch    }      W,
    '      |      ~b
    Y      Y      b|
    '      X      b
    Eh,E   |      none
    Yu     ~      |-O
    Ya     Q      q

Phonetic matching is seldom used - it is really lame to spell
"I love you"(English) - "  "(KOI-8 Russian) -
"Ya lyublyu Vas"(transliterated Russian) as "Yaah lyooblyoo Vaahs"
(phonetic matching).

Visual matching (the last column of Table 1) is used mostly by jerks
who think they are cool, is considered ill-mannered and is almost
impossible to read.

2.2. Locations of fonts, drivers and installation instructions for KOI-8
- ------------------------------------------------------------------------

Detailed and easy-to-follow instructions on Cyrillization _together_
with all the necessary resources (fonts, etc.) are currently
available for several platforms. If you have access to WWW, you can
Cyrillize your computer by following the links below:



MS Windows and MS Windows 95:








More resources are listed below, subdivided according to platforms (X,
MS WinDoze, Mac, OS/2) and according to servers (FTP, Gopher, WWW).
Minimal instructions on use of FTP and Gopher clients are provided (see
2.3.2, 2.3.3). General starting points that can be recommended, besides
this page and




2.2.1. X Cyrillic Resources
- ---------------------------

Directory /pub/russification

Fonts (in subdirectory Xfonts), instructions, editors...

Directory /pub/cyrillic

Cyrillic for TeX



Cyrillic X-fonts plus installation instructions, emacs
Cyrillization patches.



XWindows and OpenWindows Cyrillic installation - detailed instructions.


A definitive cyrillic patch for emacs with description.


A simple KOI-8 -> transliterated Cyrillc C code.


Cyrillic for TeX.

2.2.2 WinDoze
- -------------



Cyrillic TT fonts + installation tips.


Directory /pub/culture/russian/comp/windows

Some Cyrillic stuff, in particular with
keyboard driver.

2.2.2a. Windoze 95
- ------------------

A very nice page maintained by Andrey Chernov contains
Windows 95 Cyrillization tips:


2.2.3. Mac
- ----------



Fonts, drivers, russification instructions.



A complete Mac-Cyrillization Guide.

2.2.4. OS/2
- -----------


2.2.5. Linux
- ------------



This document contains detailed instructions on Cyrillic installation
for Linux boxes - with links to fonts and drivers. Highly recommended.

2.2.6 Sun OpenWindows
- ---------------------



2.3. Hints on downloading
- -------------------------

You really shouldn't need any, but just in case...

2.3.1. File naming conventions
- ------------------------------

Most suffixes in file names are meaningful. The commonly used
suffixes relevant for this FAQ are:

Z      Compressed file. Use "uncompress file.Z" to uncompress it.
        The program uncompress is originally from UNIX, but an MS-DOG version
tar    These are several files packed into one file by TAR.
        Use "tar -xvf file.tar" to untar it. Again, tar is UNIX stuff, also
        available for MS-DOG.
<none>  ASCII text.
txt    ASCII text.
koi8   Cyrillic text file in KOI-8.
c      Program in C
h      Include file for C program

dvi    This is file produced by Knuth's TeX. It can be printed on
        any dot printer or viewed on graphic screen with one
        of DVI drivers. You have to know TeX/LaTeX to use it.
ps     PostScript file.
tex    TeX source.
sty    TeX style.
def    TeX definitions (same as style).

zip    File/directory compressed by ZIP. Use unzip to uncompress it.
com,.exe MSDOS executables.

2.3.2 Instructions for FTP
- ---------------------------

To use FTP according to the information provided in this FAQ, namely:

- - you should run your FTP client in UNIX, Windows or whatever operating 
you are using, following the guidelines below that will work for most cases:

ftp <site>
      When the prompt Name: appears, type
      When the prompt Password: appears, type
<your e-mail address>
cd <directory>
      If your file is a text file (extensions: none, 
      Otherwise type
get <file>

2.3.3 Instructions for Gopher
- -----------------------------
The Gopher directions are given in the form:

To utilize this information, you should start your gopher client

gopher <host> <post>,

travel down the directory tree as specified in <path> and use
Gopher save ("s") command to save the file. Some gophers
(hgopher in Windows environment, xgopher in X) open a dialog
window allowing you to enter all the information prior to

2.3.4 Instructions for WWW cruisers
- -----------------------------------

If you need instructions for these, you are probably too dumb to be
able to read anyway.

2.4 Cyrillic for Netscape
- -------------------------

2.4.1  Netscape for Windows
- ---------------------------

After you have installed KOI-8 Cyrillic fonts for Windows, edit
NETSCAPE.INI file to make the [fonts] section look like:

Fixed Base Size=10
Fixed Family=iso-8859-1,K8 Kurier,12
Proportional Base Size=12
Proportional Family=iso-8859-1,K8 Arial,12

The names of the fonts in this example correspond to the fonts
from the file 3KOI8TTF.ZIP available for download from many
sites, some of which were listed above. You can try using other
fonts, as long as one of them is fixed (Courier-like) and the
other proportional.

2.4.2  Netscape for Sun
- -----------------------

URL: (courtesy of Roman Kostin)

- ----------------------------------------------------------------------

3. Russian news and resources on Internet
- -----------------------------------------

3.1 Relcom
- -----------

Relcom.* news hierarchy is now just another news hierachy
of USENET that carries news in Russian (coded using KOI-8).
So if you want to get this hierarchy, you should follow
the standard procedure: ask your sysadmin to get a feed of relcom.*

Distribution field controversy: due to historical reasons
30-50% of news articles originated in Russia and CIS
carry a "Distribution: xxx" line where xxx is su or russia
or msk. Of course, articles with these distributions are killed
om the way to your site. This happens because most sites
carry news with "world" and local distributions.
Officially users who put in Distribution line want to restrict
pool of readers, but some news posting programs add
"Distribution: su" automatically, so it's not clear
when this restiction is voluntary and when it is imposed
by much too zealous posting program.

What to do? You can ask your sysadmin to get relcom.* newsgroups
wirh all distributions. Your request is likely to be denied,
since not all sysadmins understand history of Russia and Relcom.
So you will get not all news or will find another way to get
the complete feed.

If you can not get NNTP feed of relcom.* then you can try
news servers. There are several news servers in Moscow.
They make NNTP look like a regular mailing list.
To get an idead of how it works and whther it works for you,
send a message containing one word "HELP" to one of the following

3.2. Usenet newsgroups other than soc.culture.russian
- -----------------------------------------------------


The "official" language used is English. However mesasges
in latinized cyrillic appear quite often. Pishut lyudi i po-russki,
ispol'zuya latinskie bukvy -- vot kak v etom predlozhenii.

The problem with these groups is that they are flooded by
a number of irrelevant messages posted by net terrorists
and artificial stupidity programs. To get rid of these
"white noise" messages people use KILL files that automatically
junk messages that contain certain keywords. You can use them
if you are reading news with rn, nn, trn, xrn, etc.

Typical kill file for soc.culture.soviet is:


Please note that this is not a recommendation but rather
a technical example of kill file and no conclusion about
political preferences of FAQ authors can be made from this example.


This group covers approximately the same topics as soc.culture.russian,
but its robomoderator and human moderating board filter out hate posts,
spams and off-topic materials. As the result, the traffic there is a
bit lower, and the atmosphere is more friendly.

3.3. Mailing lists
- ------------------

Gregory Steshenko quest for a freedom of speech brought
a number of joyful moments to One of them is
closure of most Russian-related mailing lists.
The survivors are:


To subscribe send a message
        SUBSCRIBE RUSTEX-L Your Name
This list discusses cyrillic extensions of TeX and some other topics.

There's a number of other lists that have some relation
It is a largest list of East Europe related mailing lists
known to me. Don't be surprised if you find out that some
of these lists do not exist -- everything's changing.

3.4. Russian FTP, WWW and Gopher sites
- --------------------------------------

This part of the list is grossly incomplete. If you have additions,
you are most welcome to mail them to

3.4.1 Anonymous FTP
- -------------------

This is standard Internet serveice that allows you to download files
that you need from distant computers.

=== International FTP sites related to Russia/ex-USSR ===
        by Vadim Maslov <>
        by Sergey Naoumov <>
        this one's in Finland
        by Jan Labanowski
        Issues of GlasNews

3.4.2 FTP sites in Russia
- -------------------------          not accessible             ???                not accessible                                     sometimes works          ???             accessible          accessible                         not accessible          still accessible

Here "not acessible" means not accessible from the US.

3.4.3 Gopher/WWW:
- -----------------

Some Cyrillic stuff is available at URL


A nice site ("Little Russia, San Antonio, TX") with lots of
interesting tidbits is at URL


A must-see: Sergei Naoumov's Dazhdbog's Grandsons site. Be
warned that it's got TONS of graphics and responds slowly:


Simon Hawkin's home page is another nice place to visit
with lots of useful stuff at URL


Of course, this list is far from completion. Additions are
most welcome.

Version: 2.6.2


There is no me but me, and and are
my only true addresses. All my articles are PGP-signed. My PGP public
key is at URL:

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