Russia - Languages





About 90% of the population speaks Russian, a member of the eastern group of Slavic languages. It is highly inflected, with nouns, pronouns, and adjectives declined in six cases. There are three grammatical genders. The language is written in the Cyrillic alphabet of 33 letters and has been written since about 1000 AD . In addition, a wide variety of other Slavic, Finno–Ugric, Turkic, Mongol, Tungus, and Paleo–Asiatic languages also are spoken. In the republic of Dagestan alone, two million people share 28 languages, 14 of which are unwritten. The breakup of the Soviet Union has produced a surge in regional autonomy and a backlash against the Russian language and the Cyrillic alphabet in many of Russia's 21 republics. Tatarstan, for example, is considering a reintroduction of the Latin script for Tatar, while Buriatia may restore Old Mongol lettering for Buriat. Stalin imposed the Cyrillic alphabet on Russia's minority groups in an effort to make Russian the national language.

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