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Languages of Soviet Union
RegionalArmenian, Azerbaijani, Belarusian, Estonian, Georgian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Latvian, Lithuanian, Moldovan (Romanian), Tajik, Turkmen, Ukrainian, Uzbek
MinoritySeveral minority languages. See distribution and status section for a full list.
ForeignEnglish, German

The languages of the Soviet Union consist of hundreds of different languages and dialects from several different language groups.

In 1922, it was decreed that all nationalities in the Soviet Union had the right to education in their own language. The new orthography used the Cyrillic, Latin, or Arabic alphabet, depending on geography and culture. After 1937, all languages that had received new alphabets after 1917 began using the Cyrillic alphabet. This way, it would be easier for linguistic minorities to learn to write both Russian and their native language. In 1960, the school educational laws were changed and teaching became more dominated by Russian.[citation needed] Moreover, the Armenian and Georgian, as well as the Baltic Soviet Socialist Republics were the only Soviet republics to maintain their writing systems (Armenian, Georgian and Latin alphabets respectively).

Language policy


Before the Bolshevik Revolution, Russian was the official language for the Russian Empire, with the exception of a few permitted languages in autonomous regions as Poland, Finland, and the Baltic provinces. Regional languages were discouraged or forbidden, as was the case of Ukrainian between 1876 and 1905. There was no explicit plan to enable non-Russians to learn Russian, and there was no possibility for other ethnic groups to develop their own culture and language.

In this period, some individual efforts developed written forms for some of these languages, but they had limited effect and they were focused on missionary activities. In the case of languages with written tradition, as Armenian, Georgian, Turkic languages of Central Asia, and Tajik, their writing system continued being used, but mainly in connection with religious education.

Soviet language policy

In 1914 Vladimir Lenin was opposed to the idea of a compulsory or official state language.[1] Equality of all peoples and of all languages was a commitment made by Lenin and his associates before and after the October Revolution.[2] As a result no single language was designated for official use in the Soviet Union and the existence of the spoken languages of the national minorities was guaranteed. Everyone had the right to use their own language, both in private and public, as well as in correspondence with officials and while giving testimony in court.[2] The USSR was a multilingual state, with around 130 languages spoken natively.[2] Discrimination on the basis of language was illegal under the Soviet Constitution, though the status of its languages differed.

However, the Soviet Union faced the problem of unifying the country, and for that reason, Russian was selected as the common language to facilitate communication between members of different ethnic groups.[2]

In 1975, Brezhnev said "under developed socialism, when the economies in our country have melted together in a coherent economic complex; when there is a new historical concept—the Soviet people—it is an objective growth in the Russian language's role as the language of international communications when one builds Communism, in the education of the new man! Together with one's own mother tongue one will speak fluent Russian, which the Soviet people have voluntarily accepted as a common historical heritage and contributes to a further stabilization of the political, economic and spiritual unity of the Soviet people."[This quote needs a citation]

Developing writing systems

Few of the languages of the Soviet state had written forms. One of the first priorities of the Soviet state was the creation of writing systems and the development of literacy programs. New or modified writing systems were adopted for over half of the languages spoken in the territory during the early Post-revolutionary years.[2] In some particular cases, preparatory work was required before the creation of an orthography due to the lack of previous linguistic analysis, as in the case of languages of the Far North.

When a language already had a writing system, there were attempts for making it easier to learn and accessible. As part of this policy, in 1918 Russian orthography was simplified removing orthographic distinctions without phonetic counterpart.[3] Phonemic or close to phonemic orthographies weren't modified, such as Armenian, Georgian, or Chuvash.[2]

Writing systems based on the Arabic script caused major problems because they were poorly adapted to indicate phonemic differences that are found in Turkic languages or North-East Caucasian languages. A first attempt tried to create a simplified form of Arabic script. However, the task was abandoned. Instead, the Latin alphabet was used for all languages of the Soviet Union without a traditional alphabetical writing system, avoiding the impression that the policy was a Russification attempt.[2]

Written forms were developed for several languages with a very small number of speakers, such as the Finno-Ugric languages Karelian, Veps, and Sámi. However, many of these writing systems had a short life. In the case of Itelmen, never was put into practical use. Other languages that received their writing systems during the 1920s and early 1930s kept using them, such as Nanai, Nivkh, Koryak, Chuckchi, Khanty, and Mansi.[2]

Distribution and status

A 1947 (1957 issue) one-ruble bill, with the denomination marked in 15 languages: Один рубль (Russian), Один карбованець (Ukrainian), Адзін рубель (Belarusian), Бир сўм/Bir so‘m (Uzbek), Бiр сом (Kazakh), ერთი მანეთი /Erti maneti/ (Georgian), Бир Манат/Bir Manat (Azeri), Vienas rublis (Lithuanian), О рублэ/O rublă (Moldovan), Viens rublis (Latvian), Бир Сом (Kyrgyz), Як сўм (Tajik), Մեկ ռուբլի/Mek rrubli/ (Armenian), Бир Манат/Bir Manat (Turkmen), Üks rubla (Estonian)

East Slavic languages (Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian) dominated in the European part of the Soviet Union, the Baltic languages Lithuanian and Latvian, and the Finnic language Estonian were used next to Russian in the Baltic region, while Moldovan (the only Romance language in the union) was used in the southwest region. In the Caucasus alongside Russian there were Armenian, Azeri and Georgian. In the Russian far north, there were several minority groups who spoke different Uralic languages; most of the languages in Central Asia were Turkic with the exception of Tajik, which is an Iranian language.

Although the USSR did not have de jure an official language over most of its history, until 1990,[4] and Russian was merely defined as the language of interethnic communication (Russian: язык межнационального общения), it assumed de facto the role of official language.[5] For its role and influence in the USSR, see Russification.

On a second level were the languages of the other 14 Union Republics. In line with their de jure status in a federal state, they had a small formal role at the Union level (being e.g. present in the Coat of arms of the USSR and its banknotes) and as the main language of its republic. Their effective weight, however, varied with the republic (from strong in places like in Armenia to weak in places like in Byelorussia), or even inside it.[citation needed]

Of these fourteen languages, two are often considered varieties of other languages: Tajik of Persian, and Moldovan of Romanian. Strongly promoted use of Cyrillic in many republics however, combined with lack of contact, led to the separate development of the literary languages. Some of the former Soviet republics, now independent states, continue to use the Cyrillic alphabet at present (such as Kyrgyzstan), while others have opted to use the Latin alphabet instead (such as Turkmenistan and Moldova – although the unrecognized Transnistria officially uses the Cyrillic alphabet).

The Autonomous republics of the Soviet Union and other subdivision of the USSR lacked even this de jure autonomy, and their languages had virtually no presence at the national level (and often, not even in the urban areas of the republic itself). They were, however, present in education (although often only at lower grades).[citation needed]

Some smaller languages with very dwindling small communities, like Livonian, were neglected, and weren't present either in education or in publishing.[citation needed]

Several languages of non-titular nations, like German, Korean or Polish, although having sizable communities in the USSR, and in some cases being present in education and in publishing, were not considered to be Soviet languages. On the other hand, Finnish, although not generally considered a language of the USSR, was an official language of the Karelia and its predecessor as a Soviet republic.[citation needed] Also Yiddish and Romani were considered Soviet languages.[citation needed]

Languages by family, distribution and status
Language Family Language Distribution Official in Status[6]
Indo-European > Slavic > East Slavic Russian Russian Soviet Socialist Republic, and all other Republics  Soviet Union

 Russian SFSR

Ukrainian Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Russian SSR, Belarusian SSR, Estonian SSR, Moldavian SSR, Georgian SSR  Ukrainian SSR Safe
Belarusian Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Russian SSR, Ukrainian SSR, Latvian SSR, Lithuanian SSR  Byelorussian SSR Potentially Vulnerable
Rusyn Ukrainian SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Indo-European > Slavic > West Slavic Polish Ukrainian SSR, Belarusian SSR, Estonian SSR
Slovak Ukrainian SSR, Belarusian SSR, Georgian SSR Potentially Vulnerable
Indo-European > Slavic > South Slavic Bulgarian Ukrainian SSR, Moldavian SSR Potentially Vulnerable
Indo-European > Baltic Latvian Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic  Latvian SSR Safe
Latgalian Latvian SSR Potentially Vulnerable
Lithuanian Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic  Lithuanian SSR Safe
Indo-European > Germanic > North Germanic Norwegian Russian SSR
Swedish Estonian SSR, Ukrainian SSR (Estonian Swedish) Critically Endangered
Indo-European > Germanic > West Germanic German Russian SSR, Ukrainian SSR, Estonian SSR Kazakh SSR Volga German ASSR
Indo-European > Germanic > West Germanic > High German Yiddish Russian SSR, Ukrainian SSR, Belarusian SSR  Jewish AO Potentially Vulnerable
Indo-European > Germanic > West Germanic > North Sea Germanic Plautdietsch Kazakh SSR
Indo-European > Romance > Romanian Moldovan (Romanian) Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic, Ukrainian SSR Moldavian ASSR

 Moldavian SSR

Indo-European > Romance > Italo-Western Italian Ukrainian SSR
Indo-European > Albanian Albanian Ukrainian SSR
Indo-European > Hellenic > Attic-Ionic Pontic Greek Russian SSR, Ukrainian SSR, Georgian SSR, Armenian SSR, Kazakh SSR Definitely Endangered
Indo-European > Armenian Eastern Armenian Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic  Armenian SSR

Nagorno-Karabakh AO

Western Armenian Armenian SSR Potentially Vulnerable
Indo-European > Armenian & Romani Lomavren Armenian SSR Critically Endangered
Indo-European > Indo-Aryan > Romani Baltic Romani Russian SSR, Belarusian SSR, Ukrainian SSR, Estonian SSR, Latvian SSR, Lithuanian SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Sinte Romani Kazakh SSR
Northern Vlax Romani Ukrainian SSR, Moldovian SSR Potentially Vulnerable
Northern Balkan Romani Ukrainian SSR, Moldovian SSR Potentially Vulnerable
Southern Central Romani Ukrainian SSR Potentially Vulnerable
Indo-European > Indo-Aryan Parya Tajik SSR, Uzbek SSR Definitely Endangered
Indo-European > Iranian > West Iranian Tajik Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic  Tajik SSR Potentially Vulnerable
Bukharian Dialect (Judeo-Tajik) Tajik SSR, Uzbek SSR Definitely Endangered

(Northern Kurdish)

Azerbaijan SSR, Russian SSR, Armenian SSR, Georgian SSR, Definitely Endangered
Tat Azerbaijan SSR, Russian SSR Dagestan ASSR Severely Endangered


Azerbaijan SSR, Russian SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Talysh Azerbaijan SSR Potentially Vulnerable
Indo-European > Iranian > East Iranian > Scythian Ossetian Georgian SSR, Russian SSR North Ossetian ASSR

South Ossetian AO

Yaghnobi Tajik SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Indo-European > Iranian > East Iranian > Scythian/Pamiri Wakhi Tajik SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Indo-European > Iranian > East Iranian > Pamiri Rushani Tajik SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Shughni Tajik SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Yazghulami Tajik SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Bartangi Tajik SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Ishkashimi Tajik SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Khufi Tajik SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Sanglechi Tajik SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Kartvelian Georgian Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic  Georgian SSR Safe
Kivruli/Gruzinic Dialect


Georgian SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Svan Georgian SSR, Russian SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Mingrelian Georgian SSR, Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Laz Georgian SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Northwest Caucasian Abkhaz Georgian SSR  Abkhaz ASSR Potentially Vulnerable
Abaza Russian SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Kabardian Russian SSR Kabardino-Balkarian ASSR

Karachay-Cherkess AO

Potentially Vulnerable
Adyghe (West Circassian) Russian SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Ubykh Russian SSR Extinct
Northeast Caucasian > Nakh Chechen Russian SSR, Azerbaijan SSR, Ukrainian SSR, Kyrgyz SSR, Kazakh SSR, Georgian SSR Checheno-Ingush ASSR

Dagestan ASSR

Potentially Vulnerable
Ingush Russian SSR, Kazakh SSR, Uzbek SSR, Turkmen SSR Checheno-Ingush ASSR Potentially Vulnerable
Bats Georgian SSR Severely Endangered
Northeast Caucasian > Avar-Andic Avar Russian SSR, Ukrainian SSR, Georgian SSR, Azerbaijan SSR, Kazakh SSR Dagestan ASSR Potentially Vulnerable
Andi Russian SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Tindi Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Bagvalal Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Akhvakh Russian SSR, Azerbaijan SSR Definitely Endangered
Karata-Tukita Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Botlikh Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Godoberi Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Chamalal Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Northeast Caucasian > Dargin Dargwa Russian SSR Dagestan ASSR Potentially Vulnerable
Kaitag Russian SSR
Kubachi Russian SSR
Itsari Russian SSR
Chirag Russian SSR Severely Endangered
Northeast Caucasian > Khinalug Khinalug Azerbaijan SSR Definitely Endangered
Northeast Caucasian > Lak Lak Russian SSR Dagestan ASSR Potentially Vulnerable
Northeast Caucasian > Lezgic Archi Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Lezgian Russian SSR, Azerbaijan SSR Dagestan ASSR Potentially Vulnerable
Tabasaran Russian SSR, Ukrainian SSR Dagestan ASSR Potentially Vulnerable
Aghul Russian SSR, Azerbaijan SSR Definitely Endangered
Rutul Russian SSR, Azerbaijan SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Tsakhur Russian SSR, Azerbaijan SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Udi Russian SSR, Azerbaijan SSR, Georgian SSR Definitely Endangered
Kryts Azerbaijan SSR
Jek Azerbaijan SSR
Budukh Azerbaijan SSR Definitely Endangered
Northeast Caucasian > Tsezic Tsez Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Bezhta Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Hunzib Russian SSR, Georgian SSR Definitely Endangered
Khwarshi Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Hinuq Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Uralic > Balto-Finnic Estonian Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic  Estonian SSR Safe
Võro Estonian SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Seto Dialect Estonian SSR
Karelian Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic  Karelo-Finnish SSR Definitely Endangered
Finnish Russian SSR  Karelo-Finnish SSR Safe
Ingrian Russian SSR, Belarusian SSR, Ukrainian SSR, Estonian SSR, Kazakh SSR Severely Endangered
Ludic Russian SSR
Votic Russian SSR Critically Endangered
Livonian Latvian SSR Critically Endangered
Veps Russian SSR Severely Endangered
Uralic > Sámi Kildin Sámi Russian SSR Severely Endangered
Ter Sámi Russian SSR Critically Endangered
Skolt Sámi Russian SSR Critically Endangered
Akkala Sámi Russian SSR Extinct
Uralic > Permic Komi-Zyrian Komi Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic Komi ASSR Potentially Vulnerable
Komi-Permyak Komi-Permyak Autonomous Okrug Endangered/Unsafe
Komi-Yazva Russian SSR Severely Endangered
Udmurt Russian SSR, Ukrainian SSR, Estonian SSR, Latvian SSR, Kazakh SSR Udmurt ASSR Definitely Endangered
Mari Russian SSR Mari ASSR Potentially Vulnerable
Uralic > Mordvinic Erzya Russian SSR Mordovian ASSR Definitely Endangered
Moksha Russian SSR Mordovian ASSR Endangered/Unsafe
Uralic > Samoyedic Tundra Nenets Russian SSR Nenets AO

Yamalo-Nenets AO

Definitely Endangered
Forrest Nenets Russian SSR Severely Endangered
Enets Russian SSR Critically Endangered
Selkup Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Nganasan Russian SSR Severely Endangered
Kamassian Russian SSR Extinct
Uralic > Ugric > Khanty Salekhard (Northern) Khanty Russian SSR Severely Endangered
Surgut(Eastern) Khanty Russian SSR Critically Endangered
Southern Khanty Russian SSR Extinct
Uralic > Ugric > Mansi Central Mansi Russian SSR Severely Endangered
Northern Mansi Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Southern Mansi Russian SSR Extinct
Uralic > Ugric Hungarian Ukrainian SSR Safe
Turkic > Oghuric Chuvash Chuvash Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic Chuvash ASSR Potentially Vulnerable
Turkic > Kipchak Kazakh Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic  Kazakh SSR Potentially Vulnerable
Kyrgyz Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic  Kirghiz SSR
Tatar Russian SSR, Belarusian SSR, Ukrainian SSR, Kazakh SSR, Kyrgyz SSR  Tatar ASSR Potentially Vulnerable
Crimean Tatar Russian SSR, Belarusian SSR, Ukrainian SSR, Lithuanian SSR, Uzbek SSR, Kyrgyz SSR  Crimean ASSR Severely Endangered
Dobrujan Tatar Ukrainian SSR, Moldavian SSR
Siberian Tatar Russian SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Bashkir Russian SSR  Bashkir ASSR Potentially Vulnerable
Urum Ukrainian SSR, Georgian SSR Definitely Endangered
Krymchak Russian SSR, Ukrainian SSR Critically Endangered
Karaim Russian SSR, Ukrainian SSR, Lithuanian SSR Critically Endangered
Nogai Russian SSR, Ukrainian SSR, Kazakh SSR, Uzbek SSR Dagestan ASSR

Karachay-Cherkess AO

Definitely Endangered
Kumyk Russian SSR, Ukrainian SSR,

Belarusian SSR, Latvian SSR, Kazakh SSR, Uzbek SSR

Dagestan ASSR Potentially Vulnerable
Karachay-Balkar Russian SSR Kabardino-Balkarian ASSR

Karachay-Cherkess AO

Potentially Vulnerable
Karakalpak Kazakh SSR, Uzbek SSR, Turkmen SSR  Karakalpak ASSR Potentially Vulnerable
Southern Altai Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Fergana Uzbek SSR, Kyrgyz SSR, Tajik SSR Extinct
Turkic > Karluk Uzbek Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic  Uzbek SSR Safe
Uighur Uzbek SSR, Kyrgyz SSR, Tajik SSR Potentially Vulnerable
Ili Turki Kazakh SSR Critically Endangered
Turkic > Oghuz Turkmen Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic  Turkmen SSR Potentially Vulnerable
Azerbaijani Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic Dagestan ASSR Potentially Vulnerable
Meskhetian Dialect


Russian SSR, Ukrainian SSR, Georgian SSR, Azerbaijan SSR, Kazakh SSR, Uzbek SSR, Kyrgyz SSR
Gagauz Moldavian SSR, Ukrainian SSR Potentially Vulnerable
Turkic > Siberian Turkic Northern Altai Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Khakas Russian SSR Khakas AO Definitely Endangered
Tuvan Russian SSR  Tuvan ASSR
Shor Russian SSR Severely Endangered
Yakut Russian SSR Yakut ASSR
Dolgan Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Chulym Russian SSR Severely Endangered
Tofa Russian SSR
Soyot Russian SSR
Afro-Asiatic > Semitic Central Asian Arabic Uzbek SSR, Tajik SSR Definitely Endangered
Neo-Aramaic Armenian SSR, Georgian SSR, Azerbaijan SSR Safe
Mongolic Buryat Russian SSR  Buryat ASSR
Kalmyk Russian SSR  Kalmyk ASSR Definitely Endangered
Oirat Kyrgyz SSR
Khamnigan Mongol Russian SSR
Mongolian Russian SSR Potentially Vulnerable
Tungusic Evenki Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Even Russian SSR Severely Endangered
Nanai Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Negidal Russian SSR Severely Endangered
Kili Russian SSR Severely Endangered
Oroch Russian SSR Severely Endangered
Udege Russian SSR
Uilta Russian SSR
Ulch Russian SSR Critically Endangered
Chukotko-Kamchatkan Chukchi Russian SSR Chukotka AO Definitely Endangered
Koryak Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Alyutor Russian SSR Critically Endangered
Kerek Russian SSR Extinct
Itelmen Russian SSR Severely Endangered
Language Isolate Nivkh Russian SSR Severely Endangered
Yukaghir Tundra Yukaghir Russian SSR Critically Endangered
Southern Yukaghir Russian SSR Critically Endangered
Inuit-Aleut Siberian Yupik Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Aleut Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Naukan Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Old Sirenik Russian SSR Extinct
Yeniseian Ket Russian SSR Definitely Endangered
Language Isolate Ainu Russian SSR Extinct in Russia, Critically Endangered in Japan
Sino-Tibetan Dungan Russian SSR, Kazakh SSR, Uzbek SSR Endangered/Unsafe
Taz Dialect (Mandarin) Russian SSR Extinct
Koreanic Koryo-Mar

Distribution of Russian in 1989

The Russian language by ethnic group in the USSR in 1989[7]
Ethnic group Total
(in thousands)
Speakers (in thousands) Percentage
L1 L2 Total L1 L2 Total
Russians 145,155 144,836 219 145,155 99.8 0.2 100
Non-Russian 140,587 18,743 68,791 87,533 13.3 48.9 62.3
Ukrainians 44,186 8,309 24,820 33,128 18.8 56.2 75.0
Uzbeks 16,698 120 3,981 4,100 0.7 23.8 24.6
Belarusians 10,036 2,862 5,487 8,349 28.5 54.7 83.2
Kazakhs 8,136 183 4,917 5,100 2.2 60.4 62.7
Azerbaijanis 6,770 113 2,325 2,439 1.7 34.3 36.0
Tatars 6,649 1,068 4,706 5,774 16.1 70.8 86.8
Armenians 4,623 352 2,178 2,530 7.6 47.1 54.7
Tajiks 4,215 35 1,166 1,200 0.8 27.7 28.5
Georgians 3,981 66 1,316 1,382 1.7 33.1 34.7
Moldovans 3,352 249 1,805 2,054 7.4 53.8 61.3
Lithuanians 3,067 55 1,163 1,218 1.8 37.9 39.7
Turkmens 2,729 27 757 783 1.0 27.7 28.7
Kyrgyz 2,529 15 890 905 0.6 35.2 35.8
Germans 2,039 1,035 918 1,953 50.8 45.0 95.8
Chuvash 1,842 429 1,199 1,628 23.3 65.1 88.4
Latvians 1,459 73 940 1,013 5.0 64.4 69.4
Bashkirs 1,449 162 1,041 1,203 11.2 71.8 83.0
Jews 1,378 1,194 140 1,334 86.6 10.1 96.7
Mordvins 1,154 377 722 1,099 32.7 62.5 95.2
Poles 1,126 323 495 817 28.6 43.9 72.6
Estonians 1,027 45 348 393 4.4 33.9 38.2
Others 12,140 1,651 7,479 9,130 13.6 61.6 75.2
Total 285,743 163,898 68,791 232,689 57.4 24.1 81.4

See also


  1. ^ Lenin, Vladimir. "Lenin: Is a Compulsory Official Language Needed?". Retrieved 2020-12-11.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Comrie, Bernard (1981). The Languages of the Soviet Union. Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ Comrie, B., & Stone, G. (1978). The Russian language since the revolution. Oxford [Eng.]: Clarendon Press.
  4. ^ In early 20th century, there had been a discussion over the need to introduce Russian as the official language of Russian Empire. The dominant view among Bolsheviks at that time was that there is no need for state language. See: "Нужен ли обязательный государственный язык?" by Lenin (1914). Staying with the Lenin's view, not state language was declared in the Soviet state.
    In 1990 the Russian language was declared as the official language of USSR and the constituent republics had rights to declare additional state languages within their jurisdictions. See Article 4 of the Law on Languages of Nations of USSR. Archived 2016-05-08 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  5. ^ Bernard Comrie, The Languages of the Soviet Union, page 31, the Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, 1981. ISBN 0-521-23230-9
  6. ^ "UNESCO World Atlas of Languages".
  7. ^ "All-Soviet Census 1989. Population by ethnic group and language". Demoscope Weekly (in Russian).


Further reading