Russian Language

Map of the world that shows the countries where Russian is spoken

More about Russian speakers

  • Russian is the official language of Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.
  • Russian is the unofficial lingua franca in Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
  • There are substantial numbers of Russian-speakers in Cyprus, Finland, Hungary, Mongolia, Poland, China, the U.S., and Israel.

Russian as a critical language

Russian has been designated a critical language by the United States government. Critical languages are those that are considered crucial for national security and economic prosperity but are not spoken by enough Americans.

According to the Critical Language Scholarship program, “Russian continues to be one of the most in-demand languages among employers in both the public and private sectors due to its international relevance and unique versatility.”

Russian at IU

With over 70 years of Russian language training experience, IU features extraordinary opportunities in the study of Russian language, literature, and culture, including area studies courses taught by over 30 full-time faculty members in over 15 different departments and schools.

Students can take language and content courses in the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures, such as:

  • Introduction to Russian Culture
  • Russian and Soviet Film
  • Russian Literature: Tolstoy To Solzhenitsyn
  • Russian for the Social Sciences
  • Russian Mass Media
  • Business Russian
  • Political Russian

Students are also welcome to take area studies courses offered by our partners and colleagues in other departments including the Russian and East European Institute, the Department of International Studies, the Department of Central Eurasian Studies, and the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering. In these departments, students can take classes such as:

  • Eastern Europe: 1995-Present
  • Travelers and Explorers in Central Asia
  • Contemporary Security Issues in Europe
  • Central Asia Under Russian Rule
  • Russia and Soviet Foreign Policy
  • Tech Foundations of Cybersecurity
  • Environmental Issues (taught in Russian)

IU Language Workshop

Students of Russian at IU can take advantage of the world-renowned IU Language Workshop located right on the campus of Indiana University. Teaching over 25 foreign languages, including six levels of Russian, the IU Language Workshop is one of the nation's largest summer intensive language programs and offers students an opportunity to complete a full language level in only eight weeks. As part of the Language Workshop, the Russian program is an NSEP-approved training site for all students participating in Russian Flagship programs across the U.S.

All students attending the IU Language Workshop pay in-state tuition, and Flagship students are eligible for Flagship scholarships to help with the cost of the workshop.