Published May 20, 2020
Russian is an East Slavic language of the Indo-European family. It is an official language in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, and widely used in Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia. There are over 260 million speakers worldwide, making it the seventh-most spoken language in the world as a mother tongue, and the eigth-most spoken in the world by total number of speakers. It is an official language of the United Nations, observed annually on 6 June for UN Russian Language Day - coincinding with the birthday of Aleksandr Pushkin. Pushkin, considered the father of modern Russian literature helped shape the language into what it is today. Pushkin revolutionized Russian literature - and, in turn, the language - by rejecting 18th-century grammar and vocabulary (known as высо́кий стиль — "high style") in favor what was in use in the spoken language. The spelling reform of 1918, alongside Soviet accomplishments, raised the Russian language to the worldwide prestige it maintains today. Russia has a multitude of dialects, which are typically divided into Northern Russian, Central Russian, and Southern Russian. The dialects often show distinct and non-standard features of pronunciation and intonation, vocabulary, and grammar.