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In short

Curious about what mysterious initials like OOO, ТАСС or ДПС stand for? Then read on, as CREF reveals the meanings of the many abbreviations and acronyms that you often encounter in Russia.

During election time, while debates rage in the media, or SMI as it is known in Russian – СМИ – Средства массовой информации (srédstva mássovoy infarmátsii), it is the TSIK, or “Central Electoral Commission” – ЦИК – Центральная избирательная коммиссия (tsentralnaya izbiratelnaya kamissia), as it is often referred to, that is responsible for the smooth running of operations.

In Russia, people consume information in different ways. Some people rely on major news agencies like TASS, also known as the “Telegraphic Agency of the Soviet Union” – Телеграфное агентство Советского Союза (Télégrafnoyé agentsva Savietskava Sayouza), which has been around since 1925. Others prefer to read comments on “Zhezhe” – ЖЖ or the “Live Journal”, a popular discussion forum that literally translates as “living newspaper” – Живой Журнал (Zhivoi Zhurnal). In terms of social networks, there is also Russia’s version of Facebook, often referred to as “VK” (Veka) or “In Touch” – В контакте (v kantakte) among friends.

Some Football fans will soon be heading to match venues around Russia by minibus or car. They need to make sure that they observe the Highway Code – ПДД – Правила Дорожного Движения (De Pe De – Pravila darozhnava dvizhenia) if they do not want a run-in with an agent of the traffic department, or DPS – ДПС – Дорожно Патрульная Служба (Darozhno patrulnaya sluzhba). Looking for a gas station? Keep an eye out for an AZS – АЗС – Автозаправочная Станция (A Ze Es – Avtazapravachnaya stantsia). Remember that “а / м” is short for ‘vehicle’ – автомобиль (avtamabil), and that a car is called a машина (mashina). If you need have your car fixed, you may have to purchase spare parts – запасные части (zapasni chasti), which is usually shortened to запчасти (zapchasti). Train commuters should already know that “station” can be written as Ж / Д станция (Железнодорожная станция), which literally means ‘railway station’, instead of the more traditional вокзал (vakzal).

Some expats who do not enjoy VKS status – ВКС – Высококвалифицированный специалист (vysakakvalifitsiravany spetsialist), try to apply for the PVR – РВП – разрешение на временное проживание (Er Ve Pe – razreshenié na vremenni prazhivaniye), or ‘temporary residence’ permit, followed by the VNJ – ВНЖ – Вид на жительство (Ve En Zhe – vid na jitelstva), often referred to as “permanent residence” – PMJ – ПМЖ – Постоянное место жительство (Pe Em Zhe – Pastayanni miesto jitesltva), since it is a permanent residence permit issued by the UFMS – Управление Федеральной миграционной службы (urpravlenie federalnoi migratsionnoi slouzhbi). It is a bureaucratic obstacle course that is quite similar to what one encounters in the United States, with its various long-term and short-terms visa categories and permits. If you are a foreigner in Russia, it is a good idea, perhaps even necessary, to purchase medical insurance, also known as “voluntary medical insurance” or DMS – Добровольное медицинское страхование (dabravolnoïé méditsinskoïé strakhavanié)

Are you an entrepreneur? Perhaps you own shares in a “Limited Liability Company”, or OOO – общество с ограниченной ответственностью (OOO – Obshestva agranichennoi atvetsvennostiu) – as it is known in Russian legalese, or maybe you run your own company, IP – ИП – индивидуальное предприятие (individualnoi predpriatie).

So you live in Moscow, but do you know your “administrative district” – AO – административный округ (Administrativnyi aukroug)? If you are looking to buy a microwave oven online, search for СВЧ – сверхвысокочастотная печь (Es Ve Che – sverkhvysokatchastotnaya pech). There is also, fortunately, a less complicated way to say microwave – микроволновка (mikravalnovka) in Russian. Microwave ovens, like all products legally sold in Russia, usually carry a label with the acronym GOST, which stands for “Russian National Standard” – ГОСТ – Государственный общероссийский стандарт (Gassudarstvenny obsherassiskyi standart).

Whenever an accident, or “Chepay” – ЧП – чрезвычайное происшествие (Chrezvichainое praishestvie), occurs in one’s apartment, it is important to call the “Zhekeha” – ЖКХ – Жилищно-коммунальное хозяйство (Zhilishno-kamunalnoe khaziaistva), often referred to by the more ancient acronym: JEK – ЖЭК жилищно-эксплуатационная контора (Zheke – Zhilishna-expluatatsionnaya kantora). Yes, although such services are no longer a state monopoly, people continue to refer to them as such. Should there arise a serious situation, one normally calls the “Em Che Es”, i.e. the Ministry of Emergency Situations (literally “extraordinary” in Russian) – МЧС Министерсвто чрезвычайных ситуаций (ministerstva chrezvichainikh situatsii). If work needs to be carried out in the common areas of the apartment building or if a decision needs to be made regarding the building itself, then the owners normally organize an OSS. This, by the way, has nothing to do with а certain rather famous intelligence agency; it, in fact, stands for “General Co-Owner Meeting” – ОСС – о́бщее собра́ние со́бственников (Obshi sabranie sobstvenikav).

Shopping around for a book? You could ask the bookshop to direct you to the aisle for “JZL”, i.e. the “lives of remarkable people” – ЖЗЛ – Жизнь Замечательных Людей (Zhe Ze El – Zhizn zametchatelnykh liudéï). Perhaps you are looking for a dictionary of acronyms – акрони́мы (akranimy) abréviations – аббревиатуры (abréviatoury)? Indeed, although we have written at length about several of the most common Russian acronyms, our list can hardly be considered exhaustive!