Here's How to Pronounce Those Russian Names

updated 04/06/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/06/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

The good news is that Russian is spelled exactly the way it sounds. The bad news is that we don't use the same alphabet. But if you see a baffling transliterated name or word, pause a moment to sound it out. In general, accents fall on the second syllable (Vas-Sl-Iy Ak-SYO-nov). A pronunciation guide to principle names and places follows, along with a few definitions.

Janna Bichevskaya (JAN-na Bee-CHEV-ska-ya)
Boris Diodorov (Boris Dee-OH-do-rov)
Galina Fedyanina (Ga-LEE-na Fed-YA-ni-na)
Vladimir Fialkov (Vla-DEE-mir Fee-AL-kov)
Boris Grebenschikov (Boris Gre-BENSH-chi-kov)
Yevgeny llyin (Yev-GEN-y EEL-yin)
Saima Karimova (Sa-EE-ma Ka-REE-mo-va)
Yakob Kazakov (YA-kob KA-za-kov)
Akishina Lubovya (A-ki-SHEE-na Lu-BOV-ya)
Lida Maevskaya (LEE-da Ma-YEV-ska-ya)
Nikolai Marfsalov(NEE-ko-lie Marf-SA-lov)
Hieromonk Methody (HEER-o-monk Me-THO-dy)
Fyodor Mikhailov (FYO-dor Mik-HIGH-Iov)
Stas Namin (Stas NA-min)
Olga Naumova(Olga Na-U-mo-va)
Tatyana Popovitch (Ta-TYA-na PO-po-vitch)
Gleb Panfilov (Gleb Pan-FEE-lov)
Valentin Rasputin (VA-len-tin Ra-SPOO-tin)
Juri Raudsepp(YU-ree RAUD-sep)
Yulian Semyonov (YU-li-an Se-MYO-nov)
Ludmila Senchina (Lud-MEE-la SEN-chi-na)
Volodya Shityikov (Vo-LOD-ya SHEET-yi-kov)
Nika Turbina (NEE-ka TOOR-bi-na)
Tynu (TEU-nu) and Toomas Tyniste (TOO-mas TEU-ni-sta)
Valentina Yatsenko (Va-len-TEE-na Yat-SEN-ko)
Slava Zaitsev (Slava ZIE-tsev)

Lake Baikal (Buy-KAL)
Irkutsk (Ear-KOOTSK)
Joelahtme (YOU-lat-ma)
Mukhalatka (Mook-ha-LAT-ka)
Neryungri (NAIR-yun-gree)
Pirita(PEE-ri-ta)
Tallinn (TA-lin)
Yakutsk (Ya-KOOTSK)
Zagorsk (Za-GORSK)

Russian refers specifically to a member of the country's dominant Russian-speaking ethnic group but historically to all the people of greater Russia. Soviet is a national and political label denoting any citizen of the U.S.S.R. but especially the country's civilian and military leaders. Glasnost, roughly translated as "openness," is a buzzword for Mikhail Gorbachev's program of social and political reforms. Komsomol is the Communist Youth League; belonging is usually preliminary to Party membership.

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