James W. Meng

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Thank you for your interest in this translation. As a preface, please understand that I am not an historian. This translation does not necessarily reflect my own studies or views on the history of the Slavic peoples, nor does it necessarily reflect this school or that school of historical scholarship. It is simply a direct and (hopefully) literarily-erudite translation of the materials that the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation, now a part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, makes available. I consider myself a translator, a teacher, a businessman, an academic, a researcher, an inventor, and even a scientist to some degree - but not an historian. History, and our interpretations and re-interpretations of it, are always viewed through the lenses of culture and time.

This is a translation that exists not only to inform - to provide the core material that the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation requires knowledge of as part of the tests to successfully receive residency permits and citizenship - but also to, in a certain sense, provide the necessary interpretation of that history to succeed in today's Russia in terms of interactions with government agencies, with academia, and with society at large. It is, again, a direct translation. The original text is brisk, clear, and written in such a way that facilitates quick absorption of the material, while nevertheless familiarizing the reader with a great deal of specific, relevant historical vocabulary. In the years following the reorganization of the states that previously formed the Soviet Union, certain countries have chosen to disagree on various points of history and geography. Sometimes these differences are politically and/or ideologically motivated and therefore relatively transitory; other times they are more reflective of longer-term ideological differences that define civilizational borders to some degree. Again, this translation does not exist to address these in any way; it simply reflects the material that the Russian Federal Migration Service has made available.

I hope that this translation is useful to you, whatever motivates your study of it and wherever it may find you in life.

Yours sincerely,

James W. Meng