In Russian there are two words for truth; правда(Pravda) and истина (Istina). In contemporary Russian, Istina means transcendental, invariable, absolute truth belonging to God`s domain, while Pravda corresponds to relative and subjective truth of humans.
In the past, interrelationship between the two, though, were quite different from now. Initially Istina was related with the meanings of `substance, reality, existence`, and Pravda represented the complex meanings of `righteousness, justice, law, trial`, resulting in relatively clear distinction between the two words. Incorporation of religious notions into these words since the introduction of Christianity to Russia further deepened semantic division of them. In step with clear distinction between human, real world and God`s spiritual world, Istina was associated with the former meaning and Pravda became closely associated with the latter.
Essential conceptual change of Pravda and Istina occurred following the formation of human-centered modern world view. That is, as the two words began to shake away from the religious contexts, Istina was principally applied to invariable law of nature, whereas Pravda gradually began to refer to human and real world. Over the course of `perceptual secularization` as such, Pravda gradually began to have the similar meaning with Istina. In other words, semantic approximation emerged based on agreement with real world - `truth`.
Like this, Pravda lost original meanings of `law, judgement` and got the meaning of `justice` - commonly used in the 19th Century - weakened, and consequently altered to mean `truth` largely. And so, contemporary Pravda appears very often in relation with `words` while people evaluate `truth` in daily communication. Here, Pravda has unique meaning of `truth` because rather than meaning that what the speaker says is true, it highlights that the speaker is a honest and frank person.
Pravda and Istina, which are closely interrelated and have a subtle and essential difference, contain core values of Russian culture. Pravda - integrating `truth` and `justice` as well as conceptualizing `frankness` - and Istina - referring to absolute, transcendental and universal truth - reveal complex and multi-sided nature of value of Russian truth on one hand and provide a diverse range of perceptions on value of truth on the other.