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Archive-name: cultures/russian/info
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 02/01/99

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                          SOC.CULTURE.RUSSIAN FAQ
                               Monthly repost
Below is a monthly repost of some important SOC.CULTURE.RUSSIAN NEWSGROUP
materials. Maintained by Alex Iatskovski. Entire content of this document
is public domain and can be freely distributed, no permission needed. If
you have any questions, suggestions or additions, please e-mail Alex
Iatskovski at

                             Table of Contents:
  1. What is this document and why should I read it?
  2. What is soc.culture.russian (the charter)?
  3. What is soc.culture.russian.moderated?
  4. Our position toward crospostings.
  5. What is Russian contribution in human endeavor?
  6. What languages are used on soc.culture.russian?
  7. Are there any posting guidelines?
  8. What is a "killfile"?
  9. What is a "sovok"?
 10. What is a "stukach"?
 11. What is relcom.*?
 12. How do I represent Russian text in my computer?
 13. Where do I find russification software for my computer?
 14. How can I russify my Netscape Browser?
 15. Are there any Russia-related mailing lists?
 16. Are there any Russia-related FTP, WWW and Gopher Sites?
 17. Where can I order Russian books, magazines, and videos?
 18. Where NOT to buy Russian Music and Video?
              What is this document and why should I read it?

This document is a collection of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ; in
Russian, it's called "ChaVo" for "Chasto Zadavaemye Voprosy") found on the
Usenet newsgroups soc.culture.russian, and the usual answers to these
questions. Please read this FAQ before posting any requests for
information to soc.culture.russian. You may find the answer to your
question here, and save yourself some time and effort. You may also want
to read this FAQ to get a sense of the consensus reached by the s.c.r
community about what behavior is considered acceptable in this group.
                 What is soc.culture.russian (the charter)?

Soc.culture.russian (s.c.r) is an unmoderated Usenet newsgroups founded by
Sergey Viznyuk in 1994. It's one-line description reads:
soc.culture.russian All things Russian in the broadest sense.

The purpose of the newsgroup is to exchange news, information, and provide
a place to talk about Russia, its people, culture, society, tradition,
custom, literature, poetry, art, music, folkfore, language, history,
geography, philosophy, ideology, education, economy, politics, problems
and needs.

SOC.CULTURE.RUSSIAN is an unmoderated newsgroups for free and unfettered
exchange of Russia related subjects. The purpose of this forum is to
provide ethnic Russian netters at last with a place where they can freely
exchange useful information, ideas and opinions about the Great Russian
culture, language, history, economy, science and any other topics related
to Russia in the geographical, national, political and cultural sense of
this proud name; enjoy fellowship, civil discourse, and mutual emotional
support; perform services for the Russian networking community; learn from
knowledgeable posters; maintain and strengthen ties to the Motherland; and
collectively express pride in their Russian heritage.
                   What is soc.culture.russian.moderated?

Soc.culture.russian.moderated is a badly misnamed group. It should have
been called soc.culture.soviet.moderated. No self-respecting Russian will
submit his or her article to a panel of "moderators" (most of whom are
known crooks and "stukachi") for determination whether it should be
                     Our position toward crospostings.

Since s.c.r is an unmoderated newsgroup, it's inappropriate to cross-post
between it and any moderated newsgroup. That is because someone may read
that article in s.c.r and not be able to respond to it. Articles
cross-posted between s.c.r and any moderated newsgroup will be cancelled.
              What is Russian contribution in human endeavor?

Russians have made important contributions in every field of human
endeavor. Russian culture is immense, rich and multifaceted. Poets from
Pushkin and Lermontov to Nekrasov and Blok, writers from Fedor Dostoevski
and Lev Tolstoy to Sholokhov and Solzhenitsyn, artists from Andrei Rublev
to Repin, Surikov, Briulov, and Serov to Glazunov and Shilov, composers
from Rimsky-Korsakow to Prokofieff and Dimitri Shostakovich have enriched
all of mankind with their creations, perhaps reflecting the beauty of
Russian nature itself. The brilliant inventions of Russian scientists,
from Lomonosov to Mendeleev, Butlerov, Pavlov, Michurin, Yablochkov [the
inventor of the electrical lamp], Popov [the inventor of radio], Korolev,
Bogolyubov, Kurchatov, and Sakharov are cornerstones of modern
civilization. Great Russian mathematicians Lobachevsky, Markov, Lyapunov,
Voronoy, Fedorov, Pontriagin, Alexandrov, Kolmogorov, Vinogradov,
Ostrogradsky, Vladimirov, Gonchar, and many others have laid the
foundations of modern mathematics. Russian generals, from Suvorov and
Kutuzov to Zhukov have inspired generations of fearless Russian soldiers.

The vastness of Russian forests, meadows, steppes, tundras, deserts and
mountains encompasses eleven time zones. Naturally, Russia's culture has
affected its neighbors. Russian language is studied and understood by
millions of people outside its borders. But this newsgroups is about
Russia itself, its culture and people, and not about its influence, good
or bad, on its present and former neighbors and subjects, or the relations
between the latter.

Russia's grand traditions of liberty and free speech predate those of
Western Europe and many other cultures by centuries. Our newsgroups will
carry on the traditions of Russian "veches" the public assemblies that
governed the medieval republics of Novgorod and Pskov, where everyone
could speak their minds without fear of persecution. (By the way, these
Russian republics also had higher literacy rate than today's United
              What languages are used on soc.culture.russian?

The primary languages in the newsgroups are English and Russian (in Latin
transliteration or in KOI-8 [RFC-1489] Cyrillic), with equal status.
Extensive passages in other languages should be accompanied by a
translation; otherwise most readers probably won't be able to understand
it. Russian text should be transliterated with Latin letters or coded
according to RFC 1489(KOI-8). Other 8-bit coding schemes, such as
"al'ternativnyj variant", should not be used, since few people will be
able to read them. Announcements of administrative nature should always be
made available in English (translated, if needed).
                     Are there any posting guidelines?

Not really. The newsgroups soc.culture.russian is unmoderated, which means
that anything goes. The following suggestions are not mandatory, but are
meant only for those who want to avoid being flamed for their postings.
The topics discussed on the newsgroups will include, but not be limited

   * Russia itself, its past, present, and future (however current
     political events are best discussed in alt.current-events.russia);
   * Russian language (discussed by native speakers, not students of the
     language, who have plenty of forums of their own);
   * Economic news and investment opportunities in Russia;
   * Russian science and scientific contacts;
   * Cultural life of Russians outside of Russia (whether temporarily or
   * Emigration issues (visas, dual citizenship, double taxation, etc);
   * Retaining Russian roots and teaching Russian language and culture to
     one's children;
   * Software for "Russifying" computers (however more technical topics
     are better discussed on RusTeX-L, the mailing list for the Russian
     TeX project and Cyrillic text processing in general);
   * E-mail reachability of various Russian sites (if relcom.maps fails);
   * Lectures, seminars, conferences of interest to Russians;
   * Reviews of Russian books, movies, theater productions, etc;
   * Russian folklore (dance, song, chastushki, byliny, anekdoty, etc);
   * Russian food (e.g., recipes from the world-beloved Russian cuisine);

In general, when a request for information is made, the poster is
encouraged to ask for the responses to be e-mailed to him, to promise to
summarize the responses to the Newsgroups, and to fulfill this promise.
Even if you receive no responses, please state so in a follow-up.
                           What is a "killfile"?

A killfile is not the list of people you want to kill. Rather, it's a list
of criteria that you can give your newsreading software so you won't see
the articles that match your criteria. Most newsreaders have this feature,
but their syntax varies. Many killfiles use syntax similar to this:


Most Usenet readers use killfiles to save both their nerves and their
time. For example, if you conclude that a certain poster never posts
anything that you care to read, you can tell your newsreader not to
display that person's article for you anymore. Of course, those who
haven't killfiled this poster will continue reading his articles. You may
also be able to killfile just a "thread", that is, a sequence of articles
with the same subject header. Some people go as far as killfiling all
articles posted from certain online services or all articles cross-posted
into certain newsgroups. Many people would probably find it difficult to
read a high-traffic newsgroups like s.c.r with a newsreader that does not
support killfiles. Remember that your killfile affects only you. You
cannot impose your killfile on other readers. It's considered extremely
rude to announce publicly that you've killfiled a certain poster or
                             What is a "sovok"?

Literally, "sovok" is the Russian word for "dustpan". On Usenet, "sovok"
is a derogatory term applied to the recent economic refugees from the
former Soviet Union (hence "sov"). Their scientific name is "Homo
Soveticus". Most sovoks are not ethnic Russians (did not describe
themselves as Russian while they lived in Russia), are fond of
Soviet-style Communism, and vehemently hate all Russians and Americans.
Sovoks have their own newsgroups (soc.culture.soviet), but they frequently
invade s.c.r to post childish anti-Russian ethnic flames, or to suppress
"anti-Soviet" or otherwise "politically incorrect" views expressed in this
newsgroups. Most Sovoks are on welfare and post from the cheapest possible
commercial Internet providers. Unless you enjoy mindless flames, you'll
probably killfile everyone you recognize as being a Sovok.
                            What is a "stukach"?

Most "stukachi" are Sovoks, complaining about the "anti-Soviet" contents
of other people's Usenet articles. If you post anything at all to s.c.r,
you are advised to check the latest stukach list (posted periodically by
Sergey Viznyuk) and to warn your Internet provider that the people on this
list are known liars, whose complaints should be ignored.
                             What is relcom.*?

Relcom.* news hierarchy is news hierarchy (not a part of Usenet proper)
that carries news in Russian. Some of the more popular groups are, relcom.politics, and relcom.humor. Most of the readers and
posters are in Russia. Articles in English are not welcome. Articles in
Russian should be coded in KOI-8 (RFC-1489, see #13), although "de
minimis" transliterated Russian is acceptable.

If you want to read or post to this hierarchy, you can ask your sysadmin
to find a feed of relcom.* newsgroups, or get an account on a full-feed
commercial Internet provider that carries relcom. You may also receive and
post relcom.* articles via e-mail. For details, send "help" to


A deamon will autorespond. An NNTP feed is available from

Technical note on the "Distribution" header controversy: for historical
reasons, a significant minority of news articles originated in Russia and
CIS carry a "Distribution: xxx" header where xxx is su or russia or msk.
If your site only accepts news with "world" and local distributions, you
will not see these articles. Since "Distribution:" is broken in most of
Usenet, you may want (ask your newsadmin) to configure your newsfeed to
disregard the "Distribution:" header.
              How do I represent Russian text in my computer?

Broadly speaking, there are three kinds of schemes in use: those that
replace Cyrillic characters by 7-bit ASCII values, those that use the full
8-bit range 0-255, and those using multi-byte codes.

For the Internet, the most important code is the Old KOI-8, widely used in
the relcom.* groups. Old KOI-8 (GOST 19768-74) from 1974 (described in RFC
1489) more or less follows Latin transliteration order and does not
include upper-case hard sign, or letters common to other Slavic Cyrillic
alphabets (Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian, Ukrainian...), or to those
alphabets that were devised for non-Slavic languages in the Soviet Union
(Abkhazian, Bashkir, Chukchee, Khanty, Tajik, ....), or archaic letters.

The 1987 revision of KOI-8 (GOST 19768-87) follows Russian alphabetic
order and is identical to the Russian part of ISO 8859 part 5. However no
one seems to be using the new GOST. Historically, the '74 GOST never got
supplanted on the Unix clones that formed RELCOM's foundation.

Brjabrin's Alternativnyj Variant (AV) is also widely used on PCs. It has
Russian in 128 to 175 in alphabetical order except for yo, graphics
characters in 176 to 223, again Russian in 224-240. This code is used in
Microsoft code pages 866 and 1251 (the Microsoft Cyrillic Windows 3.1
character set, also endorsed by WordPerfect and Adobe). Some of the
front-end software distributed by Relcom has an option of using
alternativnyj variant at the front end and mapping to/from '74 KOI-8 when
doing the feed. Also often the 8th bit gets stripped and one receives

Unicode (ISO 10646) is a multi-byte standard used, among others, by MS Win
NT. Each Russian letter has a 2-byte code in the Basic Multilingual Plane.
Unicode also includes obsolete Russian letters (yat', fita, izhitsa), and
the letters needed for Ukrainian, Serbian, Abkhazian, Yakut, etc
          Where do I find russification software for my computer?

In many places all over the Internet according to your computer's
platform. The best way is to post the message to SCR and name exactly what
you need. Almost everything you can find on:
                   How can I russify my Netscape Browser?

An excellent site for Netscape "cyrillisation" is on:
                Are there any Russia-related mailing lists?

  1. RUSTEX-L (founded by Dimitri Vulis in 1989) is used to discuss
     Cyrillic text processing (including, but not limited to, Russian
     TeX). To subscribe send a message: SUBSCRIBE RUSTEX-L Your Name to
  2. INFO-RUSS (founded by Prof. Alexander Kaplan): Home page and
     archives: To post
     or to subscribe/unsubscribe, mail to
  3. RUSPEAK-L (run by Ilia Ovsiannikov) is a daily discussion mailing
     list. The
     purpose of RUSPEAK-L is business, news, politics and leisure
     exchange about U.S. - Russia related issues, discussion of the
     problems that
     are of interest to students and young professionals from Russia.
     RUSPEAK-L is
     also for those who have friends in Russia or speak Russian, and those
     who are
     willing to listen and to share what they have say. To subscribe visit
          Are there any Russia-related FTP, WWW and Gopher Sites?

A really huge collection of Russia related sites you'll find on
          Where can I order Russian books, magazines, and videos?

   * The best source for video - audio records FAVORITE Co. The
     largest Russian music store in USA. You can order a free catalog on
     line or by mail. Web Site is located in
   * Viktor Kamkin, Inc (formerly known as Four Continents) used to
     receive support from the Soviet Government. Their warehouse in
     Rockville, MD, may have almost every Russian book (fiction or
     technical) published in the former Soviet Union. They are not a good
     source of books published outside the Soviet Union (e.g., in Israel,
     Germany, or the U.S.). Victor Kamkin, Inc. 4956 Boiling Brook Pkwy,
     Rockville, MD 20852, e-mail: kamkin@sovusa.comKamkin also has smaller
     stores in New York City and on the West Coast.
   * The best source for books published outside the former Soviet Union
     (usually, paid for by the Western special services) is Possev-USA:
     Tel: +1 212 557 1321 Fax: +1 212 697 4835 501 Fifth Ave., Suite 1612
     New York, NY 10017
   * Miscellaneous sources
       1. Bookstore Globus 332 Balboa st San-Francisco, CA (415)668-4723
       2. Bookstore Znanie 5237 Geary Blvd San-Francisco, CA 94118
       3. Bookstore Russian House 253 5th St NY, NY 10016 212 685-1010
       4. Bookstore Schoenhof's Foreign Books 76 A Mount Auburn St.
          Cambridge, MA 02138 617 547-8855,
       5. Bookstore NY Books International Forrest Hills, NY 800 255-0355,
       6. Bookstore Kamkin bookstore 4956 Boiling Brook Pkwy Rockville, MD

       7. Bookstore Szwede Slavic Books 2333 El Camino Real Palo Alto, CA
          (415) 327-5590
       8. Bookstore Black Sea Bookstore (718) 769-2878
       9. Distributor I.B.D., Ltd 1-800-343-3531
      10. Distributor Erudite Corporation 1-800-295-4161
      11. Distributor Rodnik Publishing Company P.O.Box 16727 Seattle, WA
          98116-0727 Fax 206 937-5189
      12. Distributor St. Petersburg Publishing House (516) 825-2525
          Where NOT to buy Russian Music and Video?

Well, for now we know about just one filthy company of this kind, it's
so-called "RBC Video Inc." They are located on Brighton Beach, NY, and
trying to find net idiots on Internet in silly hope to make them their
customers . They are using several different web site's addresses and often
changing them. Two of their last addresses are  "" and
"". If you know new ones, please, let us know. RBC Video
(stands for "Rabinovich Brothers Coalition") have no any business relations
with CD and Video manufacturers in Russia. Actually they started their
filthy activity about three years ago by selling pirated versions of
Russian Music CD's and home made copies of Russian videotapes. In late 1987
they were legally prosecuted by Russian manufacturers and had to stop
selling stolen CD's, but they're still making illegal copies of Russian
video tapes using cheap consumer-class equipment. That's why it's not
surprising that the word "quality" has nothing to do with such kind of
"production". We've got a lot of customer's reports from all over the US
that this filthy company is fooling them. Now RBC Video itself is just a
wholesale customer of truly reputable and the largest distributor of
Russian music in USA, NY based company - FAVORITE
( Since wholesale prices of FAVORITE are
almost same as their regulars ones, RBC Video, to make their own profit, is
selling their goods using much higher prices. Actually RBC Video has the
HIGHEST PRICES on the net today and extremely low quality of goods. BE VERY
CAREFUL if you are going to visit RBC Video sites on Internet anyway! They
are taping the hard drive of you computer using cookie system, but more
important they are selling information about their visitors to Internet
spammers' companies. We've got several evidences of this kind of activity.
There was a rumor that RBC Video is selling credit card's information of
their customers as well. Our advice is just blacklisting this filthy
company. There are a lot of truly reputable and solid Russian music
companies on the net today, there is no reason for stupid risk.

Alex Iatskovski, SCR FAQ Maintainer

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM