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Biggest cultural language in Europe

Russian is one of the top languages in the world in terms of number of native speakers, and is also known as the cultural language in Europe. It is the official language of the world’s largest country by region – Russia. Russian language uses a variant of one of the oldest scripts, the Cyrillic alphabets.

Background: The official language of the Russian Federation

The Cyrillic alphabet was invented by brother Saints Cyril and Methodius in the 9th century. This script achieved its current form in 1708 during the reign of Peter the Great, known as the Tsar of Russia. It is today the official language of the Russian Federation and it is one the five working languages of the UN. In many states of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Russian remains important because of the great Russian influence in the past. Examples include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Mongolia, etc.

Quick facts

  • Approximately 145 million people speak the Russian language.
  • Russian Cyrillic script contains 33 letters.
  • Russian is presently spoken by emigrant communities throughout the world, including the immigrants living in United States, Israel, Canada, and other countries. Besides that, Russian was taught to some people in Eastern Europe as a compliance to the Warsaw Pact, including Bulgaria, Hungary, German Democratic Republic, Poland, Romania, and Czechoslovakia (now, Czech Republic and Slovakia).

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