There are 32 languages in Russia - did you know that?
Languages & Nationalities of Russia
August 1, 2021
"In days of doubt, in days when thoughts of my homeland's fate burden my heart, - you are my only support and foundation, oh the Russian language - you are great, all-powerful, truthful and free!.." –

Ivan Turgenev, the novelist of the Golden Age of Russian literature, said in 1882.
Without any doubt, the Russian language is powerful and unique, reach for vocabulary, word forms and grammar. However, it's not the only language that Russia can be proud of. Russia is a multinational state with over 190 ethnic groups living on its territory. Obviously, most of them (if not all!) have their own languages.
The second most frequently used language in the country after Russian is Tatar. Although most Russians will not understand a word in Tatar (it is spoken by only 3-4% of the population), it is widely spread in Russia's East-Central Republic of Tatarstan with the capital city of Kazan.

Who are the Tatars and why do they live in Russia? The Tatars became part of the Russian Empire in 1552, when the squads of the Moscow Prince (knyaz) took over Kazan. Their ancestors inhabited the Baikal region since the 6th century AD. Together with other Turkic peoples, the ancestors of modern Tatars participated in the Migration Period, created state formations.

Let's take «hi» as an example. In Russian it's привет [privet], while in Tatar it's сәлам [salam]. Even if you can't read in Russian, you will easily see that there's nothing similar between these two words, right?

Another minority nation's language – Chechen – is spoken in the Chechen Republic, the region in the North Caucasus where Chechens, the indigenous people of the region, live. Let's say hi in Chechen: маршалла [marshalla].
Bashkir and Chuvash are two other languages which are spoken by just 1% of the population, in the Republic of Bashkortostan (between the Volga and the Ural Mountains in Eastern Europe) and Chuvashia (the center of European Russia).

The Bashkirs joined the Russian Empire shortly after the Tatars, when Prince Ivan (IV) the Terrible appealed to the Bashkir people to voluntarily come under his citizenship. The Bashkirs responded and decided to go under the Moscow vassalage on the basis of an equal agreement with the tsar.


The annexation of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible also influenced the life of the Chuvash. The Chuvash, finding themselves "in the grip" between Moscow and Kazan, really wanted an end to the wars, did not want to fight with anyone, especially with the Russians who had a huge force. The Chuvash had no choice but to choose the least evil. Therefore, the Chuvash went to bow to the tsar, although the Tatar oppression was replaced by Russian, which was not at all weaker than the old one.
Each nation of Russia has its own history, its own path and, of course, its own language. Although the majority of Russians do not speak all these numerous languages, they still make Russian culture more diverse and richer.
Here you can watch a video about life in my grandmother's village in Bashkortostan region of Russia and my impressions about Russia after living in the US
In this video, I've visited Russian countryside, Perm and Moscow cities , and I talk about life in Russia that you probably haven't known about. After a long time abroad, everything in my home country seems so unusual to me, and I want to share it with you!
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