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  • Russian (русский язык (russkij yazyk)) is the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages.
  • Russian is the official language of Russia, and an official language of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Russian is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.
  • Russian is also spoken widely in Israel by the approximately one million ethnic Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Much of the Israeli press and websites frequently include articles written in Russian for local readers.
  • There is a number of dialects spoken in Russia. Some linguists divide the Russian language into two dialects, "Northern" and "Southern," with Moscow lying on the zone of transition betwen the two. Others divide the language into three dialects, Northern, Central and Southern, with Moscow lying in the region of the Central dialect. Russian imperial political policy formerly asserted that the Ukrainian and the Belarussian were not separate languages in their own right, but were to be considered part of the Russian language. Linguists, however, distinguish these three as separate languages of the East Slavic group.
  • the Russian language developed from early native Slavic settlement influenced by Finno-Ugric surroundings. An early overlay and infusion of Old Church Slavonic was very decisive in local language formation. Later political developments brought Mongolian then European influences. The Russian scholar Meleti Smotritsky provided some of the early standardization of Russian language. Reforms were also introduced at the time of Peter the Great, and the orthography was simplified in the 20th century around the time of the Russian Revolution.
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  • Online Bilingual Library of Russian Literature - Collection of texts and audio, including works of Pushkin, Lermontov, Fet, Krylov, Esenin, Akhmatova and Chekhov provided by the Online Russian Language Center. Texts are available in Russian and English.
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