Why Study Russian?

Russian is spoken:

  • by millions of people from Eastern Europe to the Pacific Ocean;
  • by those interested in international affairs and business opportunities in the East;
  • by those interested in science and mathematics where Russia still leads;
  • by those wanting to explore the Russian heritage in this country, particularly in Brooklyn and the neighbourhood of Brighton Beach.

Top Ten Reasons to Study Russia & Russian

  1. Russia is the world’s largest country. Stretching across two continents, it is almost double the size of either the United States or China. Found within that huge land mass is a wide diversity of peoples, religions, climatic and geographic conditions.
  2. There are an estimated 279 million speakers (native plus nonnative) of Russian. That puts Russian in fifth place on the list of languages spoken by the most people, trailing only Mandarin, English, Hindi, and Spanish. (Source: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 1998).
  3. Russia is home to some of the worldâs best composers such as Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, etc.
  4. Russia is currently engaged in a grand experiment in political, social, and economic transformation. How it fares will help determine the character of the 21st century not only for Russia but for the world as a whole.
  5. Lots of Americans have seen the Eiffel Tower, visited Buckingham Palace, and toured the Vatican. A lot fewer have strolled within the Kremlin walls, experienced the “white nights” of St. Petersburg, or spent an afternoon sampling the treasures of the Hermitage. Studying Russia will not only give you the excuse and opportunity to engage in such adventures, but will insure that you more fully understand and appreciate them when you do.
  6. Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Rasputin, Lenin, Stalin, Gorbachev, Yeltsin, etc. Can you think of a more intriguing set of historical characters?
  7. Russia is in economic crisis. Yet its vast resources and highly educated population suggest that it is a country of great economic potential. Boom or bust, the size of Russia alone suggests that its economic course will have global repercussions.
  8. Since the end of the Cold War, the number of people studying Russian in the US has declined. That may mean less competition in the job market for those who do study and master the language– especially if the economic revitalization that some expect to see in Russia does in fact materialize.
  9. Russia remains a nuclear superpower armed with thousands of weapons of mass destruction. For this reason alone, the character of the Russian government and its ability to exercise command and control over its nuclear arsenal is a primary concern (perhaps the primary concern) of US national security policy.
  10. Some of the world’s most famous authors are Russian: Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Gogol, Pushkin, Solzhenitsyn, Nabokov, Pasternak, etc. Need one say more?

Other Useful Links

Click here for a web site put together by teachers of Russian that will give you more information on the benefits of learning Russian.