Talk:Volga Region

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Name confusion about Upper Volga[edit]

I'd like to point out to some problems with naming, which can create a confusion for readers. The main problematic names, in my opinion, are Volga Region and especially Upper Volga.

Volga itself starts much higher than Nizhny Novgorod oblast, and runs through many Russian regions and cities before entering the former. However, the current region name suggests that there is no Volga above Nizhny Novgorod oblast.

What is most important, the term Верхняя Волга (lit. Upper Volga) in Russian usually means the part of Volga that runs through forested Central Russia, with such cities as Tver, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, and smaller ones like Rybinsk, Plyos, Kineshma. The division of Volga into Upper, Middle and Lower is usually by the confluences of Oka and Kama rivers (or by Zhiguly instead of Kama river). (See, for example, Russian Wikipedia, or the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, references below). Therefore, Nizhny Novgorod and Mari El, for example, are usually considered to be located on Middle Volga.

At the same time, in Russian there is a term Поволжье (Povolzh'e). The word itself is constructed from prefix По (on, along) with the word Volga, but the term has its own meaning, usually referring to only the region around Middle and Lower Volga, starting roughly from Nizhny Novgorod and encompassing generally the same area that is now described as Volga Region here. (And on this Wikivoyage page itself the Volga Region is correctly translated as Povolzh'e, and the corresponding page in Russian Wikivoyage uses this term.) Moreover, what adds to confusion, in Russian there are terms Upper, Middle and Lower Povolzh'e, which corresponds to what is named now by Upper, Middle and Lower Volga in Wikivoyage. So Nizhny Novgorod is Middle Volga, but in Upper Povolzh'e.

So I think that the division of Volga Region should be probably altered to avoid using the term Upper Volga. I see two options:

  • Avoid entirely the use of term Volga meaning region, and resort to Povolzh'e; add also an explanatory sentence.
  • Divide Volga Region only into two parts, Middle Volga (from Nizhny to say Samara) and Lower Volga.
  • Replace Upper Volga term with a more proper Volga-Vyatka region [1]

Personally I like the latter option most.

References (all in Russian):

  1. Great Soviet Encyclopedia, entry Volga
  2. Russian Wikipedia, Volga page, Geography section
  3. Russian Wikipedia, Povolzh'e page
  4. Great Soviet Encyclopedia, entry Povolzh'e

Petr.Kalinin (talk) 08:11, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

Your point is very well taken. Upper Volga is something like Tver and Kalyazin, not Nizhny Novgorod. Unfortunately, Povolzh'e is a purely Russian term that does not tell anything to a foreigner. I am not quite happy with "Volga-Vyatka region" either, because Vyatka does not sound familiar. And merging Upper Volga and Middle Volga will leave us with only two subregions. Hard to decide...
By the way, Petr, would you be interested in contributing to Russian Wikivoyage? --Alexander (talk) 10:00, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
Actually I do not even see much reason in having many subdivisions in Volga Region. Of all subregions of Russia, only Volga and Siberia have another layer of hierarchy between the region and oblasts. For Siberia it is ok, as the region itself is vast. For Volga Region it is probably ok too, because of "9 bullets in a list" rule, but I do not see why two subregions are not enough. So if you do not like Volgo-Vyatka, I think we can have two subregions here. BTW, I do not mean exactly merging Upper and Middle Volga; we should probably think a bit more here, and Samara is probably Lower.
At the same time, I fell that this subdivision is anyway somewhat formal and thus it is not required that all names sound familiar; they just should be rather precise. Vyatka is not much less familiar than Kirov, i believe, therefore I think it is also OK to use Volgo-Vyatka.
As for Russian Wikivoyage, I do not have really much time, and I feel that by contributing to English version, I do a bigger impact, so I am not going to do really lot of work in Russia section. Petr.Kalinin (talk) 11:50, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
Understandable. It is difficult to contribute to several projects simultaneously, but I hope that you will keep track of the development at Russian Wikivoyage, and perhaps help us with technical updates like prices, timetables, and opening hours.
Coming back to the Volga region, I would actually ask whether we need these vague subregions at all. I don't know what to write about Upper, Middle, and Lower Volga (no matter how we define and call them). The 7+/-2 thing is a basic idea rather than a strict rule. Would it be better to merge all 12 regions into the single Volga region and keep it like that?
BTW we may try to elicit further response by raising this question at Russian Wikivoyage-) --Alexander (talk) 13:14, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
Personally I don't think that it's a problem to use a Russian name like Povolzhye (and actually, the name has been used in English, albeit rarely). We use plenty of Russian place names that don't have meaning beyond being a name for English speakers—like Nizhny Novgorod! Povolzhye does fit the region more precisely than Volga Region. Like Alexander, I think it would be fine to include all 12 regions into one Povolzhye article. 12 isn't too great a number, and it would eliminate an unnecessary level of regions, making navigation easier. --Peter Talk 20:53, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I think that eliminating subregions of Volga region is also a good option. After all, we can create a subheadings on Volga region page. In such a case, I think we can use Volga region for the name anyway, just add an explanatory sentence in the beginning (and it would be needed anyway whatever the name for region we choose); at the same time, I have nothing against Povolzhye.
As for discussion in Russian Wikivoyage, I have considered writing there before writing here, but there the term Povolzhye is used, and this eliminates most of the confusion.
Petr.Kalinin (talk) 06:48, 20 June 2013 (UTC)
Yaroslav agrees that the subregions can be merged. Let's keep this discussion open for another couple of days (both at ru: and here) and make the changes, provided that no objections are raised. --Alexander (talk) 08:09, 20 June 2013 (UTC)
Everyone seems to agree that there was an extra unnecessary level of region articles here, so I have removed them, keeping the current map with its Upper/Middle/Lower split but making that split apparent from this article without the need for 3 separate intermediate articles. As to questions of whether this whole region should be renamed or whether the oblasts should be grouped differently, I don't really have an opinion, but removing the intermediate level regions should at least be a step in the right direction. Texugo (talk) 15:31, 30 April 2014 (UTC)