September 12th, 2015

Addressing women in Stalinist Russia (~1935-1940)

My question concerns forms of address in Russia under Stalinist rule, around 1940, in particular the terms tovarishch (comrade) and grazhdanin (citizen).

1. I had assumed that there was a female form of those terms, but googling different variations of [tovarishch - comrade - female - women - address - Russia] did not get me any results, so the first part of my question is simply: are these terms in Russian gender-neutral, and would men and women be addressed the same (that is, would it be both "Tovarishch Romanov" and "Tovarishch Romanova"?)

2. I am operating under the assumption that the term grazhdanin (citizen) became kind of an insult, used for people who were not considered proper "comrades" (that is, socialists), but rather associated with the bourgeoisie? But again, even after googling variations of [grazhdanin - citizen - Russia - insult - Stalin], I don't feel quite confident enough to use the term without asking for advice about it first.

Basically, do you think it would be realistic for a woman who'd come under suspicion/fallen from grace during the time of the Stalinist purge to be addressed mockingly as "Grazhdanin + Last Name"?

Thank you so much for your help!