Russian is an Eastern Slavonic language closely related to
Ukrainian and Belarusian
with about 277 million speakers mainly in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus.
It is also spoken in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Finland, Mongolia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Israel,
Afghanistan, the USA, Canada and a number of countries.
The earliest known writing in Russia dates from the 10th century and
was found at Novgorod. The main languages written on them in an early
version of the Cyrillic alphabet were Old Russian and Old Church Slavonic.
There are also some texts in Finnish, Latin and Greek.
Russian started appearing in writing regularly during the reign of Peter
the Great (a.k.a. Peter I) (1672-1725) who introduced a revised alphabet
and encouraged authors to use a literary style closer to their spoken language.
The dialect of Moscow was used as the basis for written Russian.
Russian literature started to flower during the 19th century when
Tolstoi, Dostoyevskii, Gogol and Pushkin were active. During the
Soviet era knowledge of the Russian language was wide spread though
the subjects authors could write about were restricted.
Russian alphabet (русский алфавит)
The letters in blue had fallen out of use by the 1800 century.
The letters in red were eliminated in the 1918 reform.
Russian alphabet with Latin transliteration and IPA transcription
There are a number of transliteration schemes for Russian.
Further details can be found at:
Russian voiceover audio by Max.Bollinger@Gmail.com
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)