Synonyms of 'Russian'
Most Russian words in English refer in a restricted way to specific political aspects of the former Soviet Union, e.g. agit-prop, glasnost, and perestroika. A couple of Russian words which have gained wider currency are refusenik and intelligentsia. The intelligentsia were the educated class in pre-revolutionary Russia - this label is now applied more generally to the intellectual or educated section of any society. It shares some of the meaning of chattering classes in that both refer to the educated parts of a society. However, whereas 'intelligentsia' implies an intellectual elite who shape their society through political activism or the development of culture, 'chattering classes' is often a derogatory description of the educated liberal middle-class. Refusenik is a term which originally denoted a Jew in the Soviet Union who was not permitted to emigrate to Israel. It now also refers to any protester against a system or law, by a change in meaning from 'one who has been refused' to 'one who refuses'. The -nik suffix is an interesting one: by analogy with Sputnik, the unmanned satellites launched by the Soviet Union from the 1950s, -nik also appeared in other English words after that time, e.g. beatnik. It is the Russian equivalent of the English suffix -er, added to nouns to mean 'the person who performs this action' e.g. teacher, writer.
Copyright © 2016 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Thesaurus for Russian from the Collins English Thesaurus
Russian means belonging or relating to Russia, or to its people, language, or culture .