May 01, 2011

Letters to the Editor

To the Editors:

Levi Bridges’ article, “Cycling Across Russia,” was fascinating, but I would like to make one minor correction. His speculation on the origin of the name “Blagoveshchensk” in the footnote on page 52 seemed rather far-fetched to me, since in 1858 there would have been an obvious association with Blagoveshchenie (Annunciation), a major feast of the Orthodox Church.

And, sure enough, Russian Wikipedia reports that the town was named for the Church of the Annunciation, which had already been built in Ust-Zeysk by then. Such association with feasts (and saints) of the Church was quite prevalent in the naming of towns and villages throughout the former Russian Empire, and I find it amazing that so many of these names have survived the Soviet era.

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