Russian Language Day

Russian Language Day - Thursday, June 6, 2024

Cultural Ethnic Russian


UN Russian Language Day coincides with the birthday of Aleksandr Pushkin on June 6, a Russian poet considered the father of modern Russian literature.

Russian is a Slavic language, whose closest relatives are Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Rusyn (Ukraine and Slovenia). In the 19th century, what we now classify as modern Russian was known as “Great Russian.” Belarusian was called “White Russian,” and Ukrainian was “Little Russian.” Today over 170 million people speak Russian.

UNESCO established this day in 2010.

“Complex, ironic, funny and beautiful” – it’s no wonder that some Russian learners talk about having a life-long love affair with the language.

With hundreds of millions of speakers worldwide, Russian is anything but endangered. However, to most of the rest of us, its alphabet makes it look too difficult to learn. To encourage us, Russian Language Day, proclaimed by the United Nations in 2010, provides a focus for cultural events, readings, plays and music.

It also coincides with the birthday of Alexsandr Pushkin (1799-1837), whose genius spanned novels, drama, poetry, and much more. This year, take a day to appreciate his work, or one of the other great Russian writers on your “to read” list. Why not suggest a novel in translation for your book club or see what your library can offer. Or sidestep the Cyrillic alphabet and search online for a spoken language course.

Learn about Russian Language Day

Russian Language Day was established in order to celebrate cultural diversity and multilingualism, as well as promoting equal use of all of the six official working languages of the UN throughout the organization. Aside from Russian, the other five working languages of the UN are Spanish, French, English, Chinese, and Arabic. 

Interesting Facts About the Russian Language

As is the case in a lot of languages across East Asia, stress patterns of Russian words can make a huge difference. In fact, they can change the meaning of the word entirely. For example, “я плáчу” means “I am crying”. However, with “я плачу” the stress is placed on the second syllable, rather than the first, and this would mean “I am paying.” Quite a bit of difference between the two meanings, right? 

Russian is the eighth most spoken language across the globe. Not only do 170 million Russian natives speak this language, but they’re also another 130 million people from former republics of the now-defunct Soviet Union that speak Russian. It is one of three Eastern Slavic languages. The other two being Ukrainian and Belarusian. There are also more than 100 minor languages spoken in Russian as well. This includes Mordvin, Bashir, Chuvash, Chechen, and Tartar. 

Russian is the language of space! If you have dreams of becoming an astronaut, you better start brushing up your Russian. This is because Russian is the language of space. Apart from NASA, the next biggest space agency in the world is Roscosmos. In order to get to the ISS, astronauts have to get onto the Soyuz docking craft, whereby half of the systems and components aboard are in Russian.

There are more expressions for different shades of blue in Russian that they are in any other language. There are descriptions for dark shades and descriptions for light shades too. This is interesting as in some languages there isn’t even differentiation between green or blue.

History of Russian Language Day

Russian Language Day was established by UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization – in 2010. As mentioned, the day was selected because it coincides with Aleksandr Pushkin’s birthday. Puskin is considered the father of contemporary Russian literature. His first poem was published when he was just 15-years-old. A lot of his works are considered masterpieces, including a tale of the fall of Don Juan, the drama The Stone Guest, and the poem The Bronze Horseman. In terms of the Russian language, his work is also considered critical because it combines all of the contemporaneous elements of Russian. 

How to Celebrate Russian Language Day

There are a number of different ways that you can observe Russian Language Day. Why not spend the day taking a look at some of the work that has been created by Aleksandr Pushkin? If you’re not competent in Russian, you will be pleased to know that a lot of his poems and other works have been translated into English, so you can enjoy them without having to take hundreds of lessons in Russian!

Nevertheless, Russian Language Day certainly presents you with the opportunity to learn the language. Of course, you’re not going to be able to master it in just one day, but you’ve got to start somewhere right? You can use Russian Language Day to take your first lesson. There are many benefits that are associated with learning Russian as well. Not only is it great to learn another language, but here are some reasons why learning Russian is a good idea…

In Russia, only around five percent of the population speaks English. So, if you take a trip to Russia, which is a truly beautiful country, you will definitely want to know a bit of their language. Plus, learning Russian can help you to learn other Slavic languages in the future. These are languages that use either the Modified Latin or Cyrillic alphabet, such as Slovak, Czech, Polish, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Belorussian, and Ukrainian. 

You can open yourself up to more job opportunities by learning to speak Russian. It always helps to have another language on your CV, and Russian is definitely an impressive and useful one to have. You can also improve your business opportunities by learning Russian.

Russia is one of the biggest producers of natural materials across the world. This includes diamonds, platinum, silver, gold, copper, petroleum, natural gas, and much more. In fact, oil reserves in Russia only fall second to Saudi Arabia. If you learn Russian, it can really help in a business sense. 

Learning Russian will help you to understand an amazing culture. This is something a lot of people do not realize. When you learn another language, you’re not simply learning words. You are getting true insight and appreciation for another culture. 

Another reason why you should consider learning Russian is that it is truly a beautiful language. In fact, Russian poetry is deemed some of the most beautiful across the globe. Also, learning Russian is not as difficult as you think. A lot of people assume that the language is incredibly challenging, but they are surprised to discover that they’re able to learn it with more ease than they imagined. 

You can also celebrate Russian Language Day by having a Russian-inspired party. This is the perfect opportunity for you to throw a fun celebration with all of your friends and family.

You can serve Russian-inspired food and you can get everyone to dress in traditional Russian attire. You can even play music from famous Russian artists as well. There are lots of tasty treats that come from Russia. This includes pirozhki, which is a little fried or baked type of puff pastry, which is packed with cheese, cabbage, meat, or potatoes.

They are popular all around Russia, and they make the perfect party food. You can also make Pelmeni, which is considered Russia’s national dish. These are dumplings that are made out of pastry that is filled with minced meat. They can be served on their own, covered in butter, and then with sour cream plopped on the top. Delicious!

Russian Language Day Activities

  1. Throw a Russian-themed dinner party

    While Russian cuisine may not be as celebrated as French or as ripe for entertainment as British, it has some gems. See if you can find a Russian cookbook, and then invite your friends for a night of food and fun — and vodka.

  2. Read some Russian literature

    Tolstoy and Dostoevsky stand out, of course, but also check out "Day of the Oprichnik" by Vladimir Sorokin, or "The Secret History of Moscow" by Ekaterina Sedia. As for movies, "Night Watch" is a modern fantasy thriller, while "The Diamond Arm" is an excellent comedy. (Yes, the Russians do know how to do comedy!)

  3. Learn Russian words...

    ...and try to get beyond "Moskovskaya Osobaya," — which is one of the oldest Russian vodka brands – going all the way back to the Russian Empire.

Why We Love Russian Language Day

  1. It’s arguably melodic

    Not everyone agrees on this, but there are those who think the Russian language is among the most beautiful in the world. It has a considerable impact on other languages — especially when it comes to political words. Kompromat, anyone?

  2. Russia has influence

    Russian speakers can affect change in the world. Russian Language Day gives us a chance to find common ground amid the political turmoil.

  3. Russian humor

    We don’t often think about it, but a lot of humor depends upon the language used to deliver it. And just like there are certain jokes that only work in English, there are certain jokes that only work in Russian.

Also on Thu Jun 6, 2024...

Yo-Yo Day
Jun 06
Trails Day
Jun 06