The Russian Language, Challenged by Globalisation
The chapter offers a broad overview of the Russian language in the context of globalisation and outlines the main challenges for the Russian language and its speakers that occurred after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Russian language has been used as the lingua franca for interethnic communication for centuries. Since 1991 however the global distribution of the Russian language changed beyond expectations. It shifted from being the principal language of one state to the language spoken, apart from the Russian metropolis, by sizeable groups of speakers in fourteen successor states. In addition, the lifting of the Iron Curtain has engendered a high level of outward migration from the Russian Federation, forming the ‘fourth wave’ of Russian speaking migrants in the Western world. The chapter dwells on the disintegrative and integrative sides of these processes and the recent trends in the globalisation of Russian including commodification, pluricentricity and the emergence of Russian language global media and the internet.
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