Language in the Russian Federation


Language in the Russian Federation
   While the Russian language is the dominant medium of communication in education, media, literature, public life, and the economy of the Russian Federation, the country is home to dozens of languages spoken nowhere else in the world. While only 80 percent of the population is ethnic Russian, 97 percent of all Russian citizens are fluent in Russian.
   In the ethnic republics and autonomous okrugs, certain languages enjoy equal status with Russian, while the nongovernmental organization Russian Association of the Indigenous Peoples of the North and other cultural groups attempt to provide support to tongues that lack the political protection of one of Russia’s federal subjects (particularly Paleo-Siberian and Manchu-Tungus languages). Linguistic diversity is particularly high in the Volga-Ural region, the Far North, and the North Caucasus, and especially Dagestan, where Russian, Agul, Avar, Azeri, Chechen, Dargin, Kumyk, Lak, Lezgian, Nogai, Rutul, Tabasaran, Tat, and Tsakhur all enjoy the status of official languages.
   Besides Russian, the indigenous languages spoken in Russia can be allocated into four major groups: Finno-Ugric (Karelian, Mari, Udmurt, Erzya, Moksha, Nenets, Komi, Khanty, and Mansi); Turkic (Tatar, Bashkir, Karachay-Balkar, Nogay, Altay, Sakha, Tuvan, Khakas, and Chuvash); Mongolic (Kalmyk and Buryat); and Caucasian (Adyghe, Kabardian, Chechen, Ingush, and the languages of Dagestan). Other languages include Ossetic, Yiddish, Romany, Ukrainian, Polish, Kazakh, Uzbek, Tajik, Chinese, Korean, and Armenian. In terms of foreign language study, English is the most popular, accounting for 80 percent of foreign-language speakers; German, French, and Turkish are also spoken by a significant portion of the Russian population.
   See also Immigration; National minorities.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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