- 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
- 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