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Russian ( )

Russian is an Eastern Slavonic language closely related

to Ukrainian and Belarusianwith about 277 million speakers mainly in Russia, Ukraine,
Kazakhstan and Belarus. It is also spoken in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, Finland, Mongolia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Israel,
Afghanistan, the USA, Canada and a number of countries.
The earliest known writing in Russia dates from the 10th century and was found at
Novgorod. The main languages written on them in an early version of the Cyrillic
alphabet were Old Russian and Old Church Slavonic. There are also some texts in
Finnish, Latin and Greek.
Russian started appearing in writing regularly during the reign of Peter the Great (a.k.a.
Peter I) (1672-1725) who introduced a revised alphabet and encouraged authors to
use a literary style closer to their spoken language. The dialect of Moscow was used as
the basis for written Russian.
Russian literature started to flower during the 19th century when Tolstoi, Dostoyevskii,
Gogol and Pushkin were active. During the Soviet era knowledge of the Russian
language was wide spread though the subjects authors could write about were

Russian alphabet ( )
1708 version
The letters in blue had fallen out of use by the 1800 century. The letters in red were
eliminated in the 1918 reform.
1918 version
Russian alphabet with Latin transliteration and IPA transcription

There are a number of transliteration schemes for Russian. Further details can be
found at:
Cursive Russian alphabet
This is a version of the cursive handwritten Russian alphabet. A few letters have quite
different shapes when written in this way.
Sample text in Russian

Cursive version

Vse ljudi rodajutsya svobodnymi i ravnymi v svoem dostoinstve i pravakh. Oni
nadeleny razumom i sovest'ju i dolny postupat' v otnoenii drug druga v dukhe