The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.
(1) (obsolete) a policeman (from N. P. Arkharov, chief of police of Moscow from 1742 to 1814).
(2) In a figurative sense—a desperado, shifty man, tramp, or ruffian.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.