Russian: Maybe Difficult, Definitely Useful!   Leave a comment

russian_01Russian is the official language of the Russian Federation. In addition, it also one of the official languages of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. It is also spoken widely in Ukraine, and to varying extents in many of the former Soviet republics, particularly Moldova, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

Russian has the reputation of being a “difficult” language. What this really means is that it is quite different from English in many ways, some quite significant. A good knowledge of Russian will help in learning any other Slavic language, such as Czech or Polish, and the similarlties between the Slavic languages can make it possible to at least read certain things. Anyone knowing Russian, for example, will have no problem at all in knowing that the Czech sign “VYCHOD” is the exit!

A knowledge of Russian is essnential for conducting due diligence. The Moscow Metro has very nice signage, but it is all in Russian! Even though many professionals speak some English, most business and socializing is conducted in Russian, and this goes well beyond Moscow, into the majority of the former Soviet Republics.

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