Every year on June 6th, Russian Language Day celebrates the seventh most spoken language in the world. The day also honors Aleksandr Pushkin, a Russian poet who is considered the father of modern Russian literature.
There are over 150 million native speakers of Russian in the world making it the most spoken language in Europe. There are also about 113 million non-native Russian speakers. Altogether, there are 267 million people in the world who speak Russian.
Considered a Slavic language, Russian is the official language of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Besides these countries, Russian is the primary language of former Soviet countries. These countries include Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia, and Tajikistan. There are also numerous Russian speakers in the United States, Israel, China, Poland, and Finland.
Here are some other interesting facts about the Russian language:
The Russian alphabet has 33 letters.
There are only 500,000 words in the Russian language.
Of these 500,000 words only about 2,500 are used frequently.
Russian is called an “International Language of Space” and astronauts need to learn the language on the international space station.
The closest relatives to this language are Ukrainian and Belarusian.
Russian is one of the official languages of the United Nations. Other official languages of the UN include Arabic, Chinese, English, French, and Spanish.
On this day, Russian speaking regions, along with representatives from the Russian embassy, hold a variety of events and activities. Some of these events include museum exhibits, meetings, and lectures on the works of Aleksandr Pushkin. Fans of the famous writer gather together and read Pushkin’s poems and stories.
To participate in this day:
Familiarize yourself with famous works by Aleksandr Pushkin including Eugene Onegin, Dubrovsky, The Captains’ Daughter, and The Queen of Spades.
Explore other Russian authors, such as Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Mikhail Bulgakov, and Ivan Turgenev.
Make a commitment to learning the Russian language, or at least some popular Russian phrases.
Learn about Russian customs, traditions, and culture.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) founded Russian Language Day in 2010. Their goal is to celebrate multilingualism and promote equal use of the UN’s six official languages. UNESCO chose June 6th to commemorate Aleksandr Pushkin’s birthday. The famous Russian poet, playwright, and novelist was born on June 6th, 1799 in Moscow.