All the places you can speak Russian
03 August, 2017
So, you’ve decided to learn Russian. I won’t lie, it’s not the easiest language to learn. But it is a rich and rewarding experience and gives you access to a fascinating culture. Russian has an estimated 260 million speakers worldwide. This makes it the 8th most popular language in the world! Samuel Huntington, a famous American academic, one wrote that “During the heyday of the Soviet Union, Russian was the lingua franca from Prague to Hanoi.”
Its an official language of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. There are 13 million speakers in Eastern Europe and the Balkans and even 1.3 million in the Middle East and North Africa. Many states in Western Europe including the UK, Germany, Spain and France have Russian speaking communities.
You wouldn’t think it but the highest proportion of Russian speakers in the world (excluding former Soviet states) is actually in Israel. Around 20% of the population can speak Russian and it is a major foreign language in the country. Governments and businesses in the country even use it as a semi-official in some regions. So that’s another fascinating country where you’re language can come in handy.
Georgia and Mongolia (two countries that I am desperate to visit!) both teach Russian in schools and you’ll be able to communicate with a lot of people there. Other big centres of Russian immigrants and Russian language are scattered all over the world. The US census of 2007 said that over 850,000 people spoke Russian as their primary language in America. Melbourne and Sydney both have significant numbers of Russian speakers.
Russian is also very useful for people working in or interested in international organisations. It is one of the official languages of the United Nations making it a great tool for budding diplomats. Other organisations that use Russian include the International Monetary Fund, World Health Organisation and the International Olympic Committee.
Russian is also the second most commonly used language on the internet according to a UN report. And even astronauts learn Russian! NASA astronauts learn Russian to communicate with Russian colleagues aboard the International Space Station. So it’s a useful language on and off the planet!
So, when you’re finding the studying hard remember that this language will be useful not only in Russia and Eastern Europe but all over the world.
This post was brought to you by Tom, currently studying at Liden & Denz.