Russian Language Day

June 6, 2010 the United Nations marks its first Russian Language Day. The event is part of UN efforts to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and to ensure that all of its six official languages; Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish, enjoy equal status.
Symbolically, the UN Russian Language Day coincides with the birth date of the famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. Tatyana Bokova, the Vice President of the Russian World Foundation, remarks: "This date is very important for Russia, for it is the day when the world-famous Russian poet, who made an enormous contribution to Russian poetry and to the Russian language in general, was born".
In the former Soviet Union, 90% of the country’s population spoke Russian. It was the language of interethnic communications in Soviet republics. Things changed abruptly in the early 90s. The newly-independent post-Soviet states, pushed by their desire to dissociate themselves from Moscow, did all they could to restrict the use of Russian. As a result, you would hardly find anyone younger than 35 in rural districts, for example in Moldova or Uzbekistan, who could speak even a little bit of Russian. However, as economic and trade ties between former Soviet partners grew larger and deeper, it became clear there was no better means of communication than Russian.