Language of Russia

Russian Language and Native Languages of People Living in Russia

The official language of Russia is Russian. Russian language emerged on the basis east-Slavic languages: with Russian state establishment there came the need to develop average dialect equally understandable to all tribes.

Such a dialect was based on the dialect of Polanians, the residents of the capital Kiev. This dialect was the basis of Old Russian literary language.

The actual writing system emerged in Russia only after the adoption of Christianity.

Cyrillic alphabet was invented in the 9th century by brothers Cyril and Methodius. With the help of that alphabet Greek liturgical books were translated into Slavonic. Since then, Cyrillic has spread across the Slavic world; and after the baptism of Rus it came into use by the Eastern Slavic population.

It was only in the 18th century the language was modified and simplified. In 1917-1918 it acquired modern Russian graphics. The latest reform of the language dates back to the early 1970s.

In addition to the national language, in some republics of the Russian Federation native languages are spoken (e.g. in Buryatia, Ingushetia, Kalmykia, North Ossetia, Dagestan, Mordovia).

The languages of other countries are also used in Russia: Ukrainian, Belarusian, Kazakh, Kirghiz, Azerbaijani, German, Latvian, Bulgarian, Finnish, Estonian, Armenian, Georgian, Greek, etc.

In 2000 Russia had about 100 languages belonging to the family of Indo-European languages.