I can´t help but think that Russian is going to become less and less important.
I think this has been happening since the fall of the Soviet union but current events will probably speed up the process. Russophone-ish countries like Ukraine, the Baltic countries, Georgia etc. are probably going to start pushing their national languages and English harder than ever before.
With businesses leaving Russia the job opportunities for Russian speakers will become less numerous etc. Less travel, less cultural exchange…you get the idea.
What do you guys think? Has your motivation to learn Russian been fluctuating? Will Russian become less important?
Comparing to English, Spanish or Chinese, the Russian language was always kind of regional, just because of the ultimate number of people speaking it. So nothing new. Russian in itself borrowing a lot of English words, because the scientific and buisness communities speak English.
For me, the people who are learning Russian always seemed as the heroes of a genuine curiosity, because what other purposes could propel them, other than maybe diplomatic ones (and dating with russian girls
Just hope Putin does not include Germany in his USSR. I am not in the mood of learning Russian I mean German is already giving me enough headaches. LOL.
As far as my honest opinion is concerned, Russian is a beautiful language and people learn languages due to various reasons. Russian literature is top-notch even translated into English.
I mean, if war and human casualties are the main criteria then no one should learn English. Its usefulness has never declined. You can verify the number of human losses which were occurred in wars and drone attacks initiated by the USA. That number had clearly surpassed what Putin is currently capable of. The war is brutal. Human losses happen by the nature of its ugliness. Yet Putin did not go for carpet bombing from day 1. I do not know what ugly is, the western-style democracy or Putin-style dictatorship. Innocent human lives suffered in both cases.
Given a choice, I will learn Russian or even any other foreign language because I learn it for my own self-satisfaction. I keep politics and emotions aside when learning a foreign language.
The last one is the one for me, but I already married her 6 years ago. I guess I am behind schedule.
Who knows, it seems now it’s the time when the Russian dating market is also low so one can get fiancées in bulk that will become wives over time.
I think that communication becomes more important in times of war. If we don’t want to see humanity obliterated in a nuclear holocaust, we had better find a way to convince putin and/or the russian people to work with the West.
I would also add that there was a large diaspora of russians after the collapse of the USSR and surely there will be a new wave of expatriates in the near future. And like others have already mentioned, many of these people are going to be russian beauties.
I am learning Kswahili and I feel it falls on the line of genuine language curiosity.
I remember an interview with American teachers of Russian, who said that the number of people interested in Russian grows higher in the times of political turmoil. The worse are the US-Russian relations, the more profitable knowledge of Russian becomes
Besides, when looking from inside of the Russian culture, I don’t think that its importance is so ephemeral that one crazy president can destroy it. After all, English didn’t become any less important after another crazy president Russian literature and history are good enough to be interesting no matter what’s going on around. IMHO
I started learning Russian in the midst of the Cold War. Not primary but still present in the back of my 14-yo mind was the idea, “know your enemy.” :-\ Of course I found so much more than that.
Back then access to Russian material was very difficult. Of course there was no Internet. If I recall correctly, there was a single outfit in New York that acted as an agent for Soviet magazines, and I would scrounge the odd Russian book at used book fairs. It became so much easier to engage with Russian with the fall of the Iron Curtain and the advent of the Internet.
A prime facet of my adult Russian focus has been Russian-language YouTube. That’s already suffered a great setback because of the demonetization by YT of content from Russia. (I’m not sure why they’re doing that, stifling the independent voices, unless it’s driven by the currency restrictions.) The final nail there will be if Russia itself outright bans YT, if they haven’t already; I haven’t checked this morning yet. I’ve been a great customer of litres.ru for electronic books. I haven’t checked lately, but I don’t see how I can place an order now if they cannot accept my dollars.
I have noticed more Ukrainian used by some of the Russian-language YT channels I follow there, particularly those politically oriented and focused on a domestic audience. That’s perfectly understandable. I won’t venture to predict, but I would not be at all surprised to see more and more “Ukrainization” there driven by the people themselves following the trauma inflicted on them by the RF.
No one knows how this will end, but if a miracle of some sort occurs the RF could some day end up with a non-imperialistic government more focused on the good of its own people. In that case, after the fall of the second Iron Curtain, there could be great opportunity for rebuilding the Russian economy and restoring cultural ties, making the language more relevant than ever. A pipe dream?
In the mean time, with Russian-language YT and Telegram I have a view into current events not available to those around me without knowledge of the Russian language. I’ve subtitled a few videos in order to share them with my wife, but that takes too long and there’s too much content to share but a fraction of it.
There are many people from Ukraine who speak only Russian and the same with countries from former USSR. Russian is not the problem. Putin is.
Let me know if you need something from litres, we’ll arrange something.
BTW, did you check out flibusta.is?
Language for Life: Professional Opportunities in National Security and Intelligence
46:10 “Russian is a critical language. Always has been, always will be. Wonderful language.”
very interesting video ty
Russian is the second biggest language on the internet.
Between English, Spanish, French and Russian I got 80% of the entire internet covered.
Next up mandarin.
Ukrainian writer Andrey Kurkov has an article in The New Yorker relevant to this thread, though more specifically about the future of the Russian language in Ukraine, not the world. An excerpt:
My motivation to learn Russian is just as high as I started it. I am hoping to use it in my next assignment.
It’s quite sad that language is tied to politics a lot. If we are honest with ourselves, we know it shouldn’t be, and if we were true to our word, the world would not speak a lot of languages. I mean, as an American, most of us speak the language of the enemy.
Jump ahead to World War I, the government and the newspapers said it was unpatriotic to speak German, so the decline in German literacy and America being passively bilingual took a massive dive.
During the Cold War, my Oma (grandma) was on the East side of Germany; quite naturally you had to know Russian.
Nowadays, I look at the war between Russia and Ukraine, I bet the remaining love for anything Russian has deteriorated. The first time I went to Ukraine, Russian to Ukrainian was being spoken 70/30 in Kyiv. I returned again next year and it was more like 40/60.
I plan on continuing to learn Russian and will likely get serious in learning Ukrainian as well.
The language I learn at the moment is tied to my job. While working with NATO, I was learning Polish. Nowadays, I bet Russian is put back on the critical language list for the Department of Defense.
The first episode of mixed Russian-Ukrainian podcast about the current state and the future of Russian and Ukrainian languages and their links with other Slavic languages. A bit superficial, as the authors themselves admit, but still very interesting.
Join the chat to read more: Telegram: Contact @glagolnya_glagoli
The American city in which I live has a large German heritage, and prior to the first world war there were dozens of German-language newspapers. Those mostly disappeared because of the war. I know of a town with a German name that changed it, temporarily, to “Liberty” because of that war. My great-grandmother, born in the US to German parents, knew German but never used it (except occasionally to tell me what the German soldiers were shouting in reruns of the old TV show “Combat”, placed in WWII).
The sad thing is all these sanctions are just effecting the small businesses and individuals. The best example you brought up is YouTube. I start to wonder if these businesses are doing it, because everyone else and their brothers are doing it.
Meanwhile, my local liquor store decided to throw out all the Stolichnaya vodka, despite the stuff sold in the U.S. is made in Latvia, Disney decides to cut ties with Russia (that’s right, show that 7 year old Russian girl that watches your movies that you mean business!) despite supporting a government that supports Uyghar imprisonment, and YouTube cutting ties (let’s be real, small channels get effected more than state owned media like Russia Today).
Keep in mind also that Russia has been cut-off from the international banking system (meaning getting money out of Russia is practically impossible), the rouble has tanked in value and unemployment soaring (meaning Russian domestic demand is going to fall off a cliff) , and the Russian economy was already tiny before they began invading Ukraine (smaller than Italy and most of that is oil and gas exports). In that context, even ignoring moral matters, cutting ties with Russia to avoid bad publicity in other markets is a non-brainer business decision!