Russian tourists have already been to most of the world’s resorts. But most natives and tourists from other countries are surprised: Russians do not speak any other languages but Russian. Let’s try to understand this phenomenon.


Portrait of the poet Alexander Pushkin by Vasil Tropinin
According to some researchers, Pushkin influenced on the formation of the modern Russian language

Are you sure that you have met Russians from Russia?

Most people think that if someone speaks Russian he is from Russia. From Russian recent history we know that after the collapse of the Soviet Union on December 26, 1991, Russia was recognized as its successor on the world stage.

And after the collapse of the Soviet Union, lots of new countries appeared on the world map.

In these countries most residents don’t just know the Russian language, but they use the Russian language in their everyday lives. These days it is possible for you to meet a ”Russian” who is not from Russia. These «Russian people» can have passports of any other state/country at all.

But very often it is namely Russians who do not know any foreign language at all.

Why Russians do not speak the English language?

To give an answer to this question we should recall the history of Russia. The Russian language as well as English, French, Spanish and Arabic is in the top five international languages. But to become an international language the country should have strong military, economic, scientific, technical, and cultural impact on the residents of other countries. And then people from other countries will begin learning that language. And the language of this country will become an international one.

But why the Chinese language is not an international language, you might ask? That is because not too many people use it to communicate but of course Chinese is a mother language for many people.

For many years Russia has had a great influence on its neighboring countries. For most countries surrounding Russia, the Russian language has become a means of communication not only with Russians but with other peoples as well.

It is interesting to know that in 2013, Russian was the second language after English used on the Internet (W3Techs).

That’s why for years we have had a situation where Russian people did not need any other language but Russian.

Current trends

But times are changing and a situation with the Russian language is changing too: in some neighboring countries the Russian language is still as popular as before, while in others – it is not anymore..

Thus, Russian people today have a strong incentive to learn foreign languages in order to communicate freely with their neighbors, and to feel more confident during their travels as well.

It is interesting to note that two centuries ago, the Russian nobility spoke… French. It was very popular in small talk.

Now, in Russia the most popular language to study is English.

It is possible that most Russians will speak English when travelling abroad in the nearest future.


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