Languages of Russia
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Russian was the sole official language of the Russian Empire which existed until 1917. During the Soviet period, the policy toward the languages of the various other ethnic groups fluctuated in practice. The state helped develop alphabets and grammarfor various languages across the country that had previously been lacking a written form. Though each of the constituent republics had its own official language, the unifying role and superior status was reserved for Russian.
Russian lost its status in many of the new republics that arose following the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union. In Russia, however, the dominating status of the Russian language continued. Today, 97% of the public school students of Russia receive their education only or mostly in Russian, even though Russia is made up of approximately 80% ethnic Russians.
Although Russian is the only federally official language of the Russian Federation, there are several other officially-recognized languages within Russia's various constituencies. This is a list of languages that are official only in certain parts of Russia (the language family in which the language belongs is given in parentheses).
- Abaza (Northwest Caucasian; in the Karachay-Cherkess Republic)
- Adyghe (Northwest Caucasian; in the Republic of Adygea)
- Altay (Turkic; in the Altai Republic)
- Avar (Northeast Caucasian; in the Republic of Dagestan)
- Bashkir (Turkic; in the Republic of Bashkortostan)
- Buryat (Mongolic; in Agin-Buryat Okrug and the Buryat Republic)
- Chechen (Northeast Caucasian; in the Chechen Republic)
- Chukchi (Chukotko-Kamchatkan; in Chukotka Autonomous Okrug)
- Chuvash (Turkic; in the Chuvash Republic)
- Erzya (Uralic; in the Republic of Mordovia)
- Ingush (Northeast Caucasian; in the Republic of Ingushetia)
- Kabardian (Northwest Caucasian; in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic and Karachay-Cherkess Republic)
- Kalmyk (Mongolic; in the Republic of Kalmykia)
- Karachay-Balkar (Turkic; in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic and Karachay-Cherkess Republic)
- Khakas (Turkic; in the Republic of Khakassia)
- Khanty (Uralic; in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug)
- Komi-Zyrian (Uralic; in the Komi Republic)
- Mansi (Uralic; in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug)
- Mari (Uralic; in the Mari El Republic)
- Moksha (Uralic; in the Republic of Mordovia)
- Nenets (Uralic; in Nenets Autonomous Okrug)
- Nogai (Turkic; in the Karachay-Cherkess Republic)
- Ossetic (Indo-European; in the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania)
- Tatar (Turkic; in the Republic of Tatarstan)
- Tuvаn (Turkic; in the Tuva Republic)
- Udmurt (Uralic; in the Udmurt Republic)
- Yakut (Turkic; in the Sakha Republic)
Endangered languages in Russia
There are many endangered languages in Russia. Some are considered to be near extinction and put on the list of endangered languages, and some may have gone extinct since data was last reported. On the other hand, some languages may survive even with few speakers.
Some languages have doubtful data, like Serbian whose information in the Ethnologue is based on the 1959 census.
Languages near extinction
Most numbers are according to Michael Krauss, 1995. Given the time that has passed, languages with extremely few speakers might be extinct today. As of 1997, Kerek and Yugh have now become extinct.
- Ainu (15)
- Enets (70)
- Karagas (25 – 30)
- Mednyy (10) (an Aleut-Russian creole language)
- Orok (30 – 82)
- Sami, Akkala (extinct since 2003)
- Sami, Ter (2)
- Udege (100)
- Vod (25)
- Yukaghir, Northern (30 – 150)
- Yukaghir, Southern (1 – 50)
Other endangered languages