May 19, 2022
Russian (Russian: язык) is the official language of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and in the past was the language of international communication in the USSR. Apart from Russia, it is used in countries that were previously part of the USSR, as well as in areas with a compact population of emigrants from the countries of the former USSR, such as Israel, Germany, Canada, the United States, etc. - as the mother tongue of the population and as the language of international communication. In Israel, for example, according to the 1999 census, there are 750,000 emigrants from the USSR. Russian newspapers are published there, and Russian radio stations and television channels function. A number of those who know Russian are in Eastern Europe, where Russian was a compulsory subject in schools until recently. According to the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Languages, over 455 million people speak Russian as their first or second language. According to Language Monthly (№ 3 for 1997), about 285 million people worldwide speak Russian, making it the 4th most widely spoken language. Of these, about 160 million call it maternal (making it the 7th in the world). Russian is one of the 6 official languages of the UN. In 1999, it was declared the fourth most influential language in the world.