With 155 million native speakers throughout central and Eastern Europe and in Russia, it's the eighth most common language in the world and the second most used in website content, after English. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991.
Background: Founded in the 12th century, the Principality of Muscovy, was able to emerge from over 200 years of Mongol domination (13th-15th centuries) and to gradually conquer and absorb surrounding principalities. In the early 17th century, a new Romanov Dynasty continued this policy of expansion across Siberia to the Pacific. Under PETER I (ruled 1682-1725), hegemony was extended to the Baltic Sea and the country was renamed the Russian Empire. During the 19thcentury, more territorial acquisitions were made in Europe and Asia. Defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 contributed to the Revolution of 1905, which resulted in the formation of a parliament and other reforms. Repeated devastating defeats of the Russian army in World War I led to widespread rioting in the major cities of the Russian Empire and to the overthrow in 1917 of the imperial household. The communists under Vladimir LENIN seized power soon after and formed the USSR. The brutal rule of Iosif STALIN (1928-53) strengthened communist rule and Russian dominance of the Soviet Union at a cost of tens of millions of lives. The Soviet economy and society stagnated in the following decades until General Secretary Mikhail GORBACHEV(1985-91) introduced glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in an attempt to modernize communism, but his initiatives inadvertently released forces that by December 1991splintered the USSR into Russia and 14 other independent republics. Since then, Russia has shifted its post-Soviet democratic ambitions in favor of a centralized semi-authoritarian state in which the leadership seeks to legitimize its rule through managed national elections, populist appeals by President PUTIN, and continued economic growth. Russia has severely disabled a Chechen rebel movement, although violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus.
Telephones - fixed lines: total subscriptions: 32,276,615
Telephones - mobile cellular: total: 231,393,994
Internet users: total: 108,772,470 /percent of population: 76.4%
13 national TV stations with the federal government owning 1 and holding a controlling interest in a second; state-owned Gazprom maintains a controlling interest in 2 of the national channels; government-affiliated Bank Rossiya owns controlling interest in a fourth and fifth, while a sixth national channel is owned by the Moscow city administration; the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian military, respectively, own 2 additional national channels; roughly 3,300 national, regional, and local TV stations with over two-thirds completely or partially controlled by the federal or local governments; satellite TV services are available; 2 state-run national radio networks with a third majority-owned by Gazprom; roughly 2,400 public and commercial radio stations (2016)
Military expenditures: 5.4% of GDP
Airports - with paved runways: total: 594
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 624
Railways: total: 87,157 km
Railways broad gauge: 86,200 km 1.520-m gauge (40,300 km electrified)
Railways narrow gauge: 957 km 1.067-m gauge (on Sakhalin Island)
Railways note: an additional 30,000 km of non-common carrier lines serve industries (2014)
Roadways: total: 1,283,387 km
Roadways paved: 927,721 km (includes 39,143 km of expressways)
Roadways unpaved: 355,666 km
Waterways: 102,000 km (including 48,000 km with guaranteed depth; the 72,000-km system in European Russia links Baltic Sea, White Sea, Caspian Sea, Sea of Azov, and Black Sea).
Merchant marine: total: 1,143
Merchant marine by type: bulk carrier 20, cargo 642, carrier 3, chemical tanker 57, combination ore/oil 42, container 13, passenger 15, passenger/cargo 7, petroleum tanker 244, refrigerated cargo 84, roll on/roll off 13, specialized tanker 3.
Merchant marine foreign-owned: 155 (Belgium 4, Cyprus 13, Estonia 1, Ireland 1, Italy 14, Latvia 2, Netherlands 2, Romania 1, South Korea 1, Switzerland 3, Turkey 101, Ukraine 12).
Merchant marine registered in other countries: 439 (Antigua and Barbuda 3, Belgium 1, Belize 30, Bulgaria 2, Cambodia 50, Comoros 12, Cook Islands 1, Cyprus 46, Dominica 3, Georgia 6, Hong Kong 1, Kiribati 1, Liberia 109, Malaysia 2, Malta 45, Marshall Islands 5, Moldova 5, Mongolia 2, Panama 49, Romania 1, Saint Kitts and Nevis 13, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 11, Sierra Leone 7, Singapore 2, Spain 6, Vanuatu 7, unknown 19).
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Kaliningrad, Nakhodka, Novorossiysk, Primorsk, Vostochnyy.
River port(s): Saint Petersburg (Neva River).
Oil terminal(s): Kavkaz oil terminal.
Container port(s) (TEUs): Saint Petersburg (2,365,174).
LNG terminal(s) (export): Sakhalin Island.
5.5% (2016 est.)
5.6% (2015 est.)
Labor force: 76.64 million
Labor force country comparison to the world: 7
Labor force - by occupation:
services: 63% (2016 est.)
Budget: revenues: $200.7 billion
Budget:expenditures: $244.8 billion (2016 est.)
(End of CIA FactBook text.)
Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia.
The language is native to: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and other neighboring post-Soviet states.
Early form: Old East Slavic
Some people say that the Russian language can be hard to learn.
This is not really true, learning Russian is no harder than learning other languages.
The main difficulty for a lot of people is learning the new grammar structure.
How can I learn Russian fast and free?
Learn Russian Fast: 7 Tips for Complete Russian Speed Demons !
Take the time to learn Cyrillic. ...
Use authentic media.sources ... :-)
Learn all the common words first. ...
Learn words that are the same across languages for easy sentence building.
Practice your skills daily with a Russian newspaper.
Find a Russian speaker to interact with. ... online or at school.
Can you learn Russian by yourself?
The Russian language are considered an “area of need” or “critical language” by the US government, so learning to speak it can open up job opportunities within U.S. Government.
It can be hard to find formal Russian courses in some regions of the world.
This means that, for some people, if you want to learn Russian, learning by yourself is your only REAL option.
Russian is widely believed to be one of the most difficult languages among people to learn, BUT,
you might be surprised to know that the Russian alphabet actually takes only 10 hours to learn.
What other languages are spoken in Russia?
Most speakers of a minority language are also bilingual speakers of Russian. They have Russian as a second language.
There are over 100 minority languages spoken in Russia today.
The most popular is Tartar, spoken by more than 3% of the country's population.
Other minority languages include Ukrainian, Chuvash, Bashir, Mordvin and Chechen.
The current name of the country, Россия (Rossija), comes from the Byzantine Greek designation of the Rus', Ρωσσία Rossía—spelled Ρωσία (Rosía pronounced [roˈsia]) in Modern Greek.
The standard way to refer to citizens of Russia is "Russians" in English and rossiyane (Russian: россияне) in Russian.
The country of Russia is already the world's sixth largest global economy, and is projected to overtake Germany's global economic position by the year 2030.
Download from the Russian language learning pack collection of e-books and audio/video courses, or just take a quick look at the Russian studies index directory, to stay updated with all our resources.