Russian language

Hemisphere view
Competence of Russian in countries of the former Soviet Union (except Russia), 2004
Percentage of people in Ukraine with Russian as their native language (according to a 2001 census) (by region)
A page from Azbuka (Alphabet book), the first East Slavic printed textbook. Printed by Ivan Fyodorov in 1574 in Lviv. This page features the Cyrillic script.
Russian vowel chart by
This page from an "ABC" book printed in Moscow in 1694 shows the letter П.
The Ostromir Gospels of 1056 is the second oldest East Slavic book known, one of many medieval illuminated manuscripts preserved in the Russian National Library.

East Slavic language mainly spoken across Russia.

- Russian language
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Russian alphabet

Hemisphere view

The Russian alphabet (ру́сский алфави́т, or ру́сская а́збука, more traditionally) is used to write Russian words.

Koine Greek

Lingua franca

Language or dialect systematically used to make communication possible between groups of people who do not share a native language or dialect, particularly when it is a third language that is distinct from both of the speakers' native languages.

Language or dialect systematically used to make communication possible between groups of people who do not share a native language or dialect, particularly when it is a third language that is distinct from both of the speakers' native languages.

Koine Greek
The Hispanophone and influential areas
Status of Arabic language map
Areas where Russian is the majority language (medium blue) or a minority language (light blue)
Areas (red) where Hindustani (Delhlavi or Kauravi) is the native language, and the much wider area of the Indo-Aryan language group (gray), where it is lengua franca
Countries where Malay is spoken
Geographic extent of Swahili. Dark green: native range. Medium green: official use. Light green: bilingual use but not official.
Areas with significant numbers of people whose first language is Persian (including dialects)
Rough territorial extent of Hand Talk (in purple) within the US and Canada

Likewise, Arabic, French, Mandarin Chinese, and Russian serve similar purposes as industrial and educational lingua francas across regional and national boundaries.

Balto-Slavic language tree.

Slavic languages

The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languages, are Indo-European languages spoken primarily by the Slavic peoples or their descendants.

The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languages, are Indo-European languages spoken primarily by the Slavic peoples or their descendants.

Balto-Slavic language tree.
Ethnographic Map of Slavic and Baltic Languages
Baška tablet, 11th century, Krk, Croatia.
14th-century Novgorodian children were literate enough to send each other letters written on birch bark.
10th–11th century Codex Zographensis, canonical monument of Old Church Slavonic
Map and tree of Slavic languages, according to Kassian and A. Dybo
West Slav tribes in 9th–10th centuries
Linguistic maps of Slavic languages
Map of all areas where the Russian language is the language spoken by the majority of the population.

Of these, 10 have at least one million speakers and official status as the national languages of the countries in which they are predominantly spoken: Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian (of the East group), Polish, Czech and Slovak (of the West group) and Bulgarian and Macedonian (eastern dialects of the South group), and Serbo-Croatian and Slovene (western dialects of the South group).

De facto political map of the world, May 2019.

De facto

De facto (de facto, "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, whether or not they are officially recognized by laws or other formal norms.

De facto (de facto, "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, whether or not they are officially recognized by laws or other formal norms.

De facto political map of the world, May 2019.

Russian was the de facto official language of the central government and, to a large extent, republican governments of the former Soviet Union, but was not declared de jure state language until 1990.

A top-down view of the larynx.

Palatalization (phonetics)

Way of pronouncing a consonant in which part of the tongue is moved close to the hard palate.

Way of pronouncing a consonant in which part of the tongue is moved close to the hard palate.

A top-down view of the larynx.

In Russian, both plain and palatalized consonant phonemes are found in words like большой, царь and Катя.

Old East Slavic

Cyrillic letters in this article are romanized using scientific transliteration.

Cyrillic letters in this article are romanized using scientific transliteration.

Map and tree of Balto-Slavic languages, according to Kassian and A. Dybo
A page from Svyatoslav's Miscellanies (1073).
500px
Ostromir Gospels from Novgorod (mid-eleventh century)
Literate fourteenth-century Novgorodian children sent each other letters written on birch bark
First page of the tenth-century Novgorod Codex, thought to be the oldest East Slavic book in existence

Old East Slavic (traditionally also Old Russian; старажытнаруская мова; древнерусский язык; давньоруська мова) was a language used during the 10th–15th centuries by East Slavs in Kievan Rus' and its successor states, from which the Belarusian, Russian, Rusyn, and Ukrainian languages later evolved.

Nikolai Trubetzkoy, 1920s

Stress (linguistics)

Relative emphasis or prominence given to a certain syllable in a word or to a certain word in a phrase or sentence.

Relative emphasis or prominence given to a certain syllable in a word or to a certain word in a phrase or sentence.

Nikolai Trubetzkoy, 1920s

Other languages, like English and Russian, have lexical stress, where the position of stress in a word is not predictable in that way but lexically encoded.

Ethnographic Map of Slavic and Baltic Languages

Belarusian language

East Slavic language.

East Slavic language.

Ethnographic Map of Slavic and Baltic Languages
The first Lithuanian statute of 1529, in Ruthenian
The Bible by Francysk Skaryna in Ruthenian, 16th century
The cover of the copy of the Dictionary of the Belarusian Local Tongue by Ivan Nasovič preserved at the Francis Skaryna Belarusian Library and Museum

It is the native language of many Belarusians and one of the two official state languages in Belarus, along with Russian.

Schematic depiction according to genetic studies by Alena Kushniarevich

Ukrainian language

East Slavic language of the Indo-European language family.

East Slavic language of the Indo-European language family.

Schematic depiction according to genetic studies by Alena Kushniarevich
Percentage of people with Ukrainian as their native language according to 2001 census (by region).
Domini Georgi Regis Russiae; Lord George (Yuri), the King of Rus
King's seal of Yuri I of Halych (reign: 1301–1308) "S[igillum] Domini Georgi Regis Rusie" (left), "S[igillum] Domini Georgi Ducis Ladimerie" (right).
"Moneta Rvssie" coined in 1382 based on groschen
Miniature of St Luke from the Peresopnytsia Gospels (1561).
Ukrainian speakers in the Russian Empire (1897)
The Ukrainian text in this Soviet poster reads: "The social base of the USSR is an unbreakable union of the workers, peasants and intelligentsia".
The 1921 Soviet recruitment poster. It uses traditional Ukrainian imagery with Ukrainian-language text: "Son! Enroll in the school of Red commanders, and the defense of Soviet Ukraine will be ensured."
Anti-russification protest. The banner reads "Ukrainian school for Ukrainian kids!".
While Russian was a de facto official language of the Soviet Union in all but formal name, all national languages were proclaimed equal. The name and denomination of Soviet banknotes were listed in the languages of all fifteen Soviet republics. On this 1961 one-ruble note, the Ukrainian for "one ruble", один карбованець (odyn karbovanets`), directly follows the Russian один рубль (odin rubl`).
Fluency in Ukrainian (purple column) and Russian (blue column) in 1989 and 2001
Modern signs in the Kyiv Metro are in Ukrainian. The evolution in their language followed the changes in the language policies in post-war Ukraine. Originally, all signs and voice announcements in the metro were in Ukrainian, but their language was changed to Russian in the early 1980s, at the height of Shcherbytsky's gradual Russification. In the perestroika liberalization of the late 1980s, the signs were changed to bilingual. This was accompanied by bilingual voice announcements in the trains. In the early 1990s, both signs and voice announcements were changed again from bilingual to Ukrainian-only during the de-russification campaign that followed Ukraine's independence. Since 2012 the signs have been in both Ukrainian and English.
Ukrainian language traffic sign for the Ivan Franko Museum in Kryvorivnia.
Sign in both Ukrainian and Romanian languages in the village of Valea Vișeului (Vyshivska Dolyna), Bistra commune, in Romania
Ukrainian keyboard layout
Ethnographic Map of Slavic and Baltic Languages

Comparisons are often drawn to Russian, a prominent Slavic language, but there is more mutual intelligibility with Belarusian, Ukrainian's closest relative.

East Slavic tribes and peoples, 8th–9th century

Russians

East Slavic ethnic group native to Eastern Europe, who share a common Russian ancestry, culture, and history.

East Slavic ethnic group native to Eastern Europe, who share a common Russian ancestry, culture, and history.

East Slavic tribes and peoples, 8th–9th century
The Baptism of Kievans, by Klavdy Lebedev
The Russian Empire at its greatest extent, including spheres of influence
Ethnic Russians in former Soviet Union states in 1994
The percentage of ethnic Russians in the former Soviet Union according to last censuses
Russian Orthodox Church in Shanghai (c. 1948), whose 25,000-strong Russian community was one of China's largest
Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois Russian Cemetery in Paris, the resting place of many eminent Russian émigrés after 1917
Russian people in Saint-Petersburg.
Mir, Soviet and Russian space station that operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001.
Poster of Battleship Potemkin (1925) by Sergei Eisenstein, which was named the greatest film of all time at the Brussels World's Fair in 1958.
Saint Basil's Cathedral in Red Square, Moscow, one of the most recognisable symbols of the country
Annunciation Cathedral in Voronezh
thumb|Lipovans in the Danube delta
Russia's Arctic coastline from the White Sea to the Bering Strait had been explored and settled by Pomors, Russian settlers from Novgorod
Terek Cossacks of the north Caucasus guarded the southern frontier
thumb|Lipovans in the Danube delta

Russian, the most spoken Slavic language, is the shared mother tongue of the Russians; and Orthodox Christianity is their historical religion since the 11th century.