The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.
(1) In prerevolutionary Russia, a charitable (private or public) institution for the care of very old people or those incapable of working.
(2) In a figurative sense, a worthless, inactive institution or organization.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.