Countries With the Most Russian Speakers

Name the countries where the most people speak Russian as their native language.
According to this page
Check out the German version as well
Quiz by Aaron197
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Last updated: June 3, 2021
First submittedDecember 11, 2018
Times taken17,704
Rating4.92
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# Speakers
%
Country
118,581,514
85.7
Russia
14,273,670
29.6
Ukraine
6,672,964
70.2
Belarus
3,793,800
21.2
Kazakhstan
2,257,000
2.80
Germany
1,155,960
15.0
Israel
900,205
0.30
United States
698,757
33.8
Latvia
# Speakers
%
Country
482,200
8.90
Kyrgyzstan
383,118
29.6
Estonia
305,802
5.40
Turkmenistan
264,162
9.70
Moldova
218,383
7.20
Lithuania
122,449
1.40
Azerbaijan
112,150
0.30
Canada
77,177
1.40
Finland
+3
Level 67
May 21, 2019
Excellent!
+3
Level 54
Oct 23, 2020
Interesting
+40
Level 42
Nov 1, 2020
I was not expecting Israel. It makes sense in hindsight but I was only thinking of nearby countries!
+7
Level 37
Jul 23, 2021
Israel was a bit random I would have thought it would be a eastern European country like Poland or Romania
+6
Level 54
Aug 2, 2021
Yeah I think Poland and Romania aren't on there because their own languages are way more common than Russian despite similarities
+24
Level 65
Oct 12, 2021
Romania is not at all related to Russian
+2
Level 79
Oct 13, 2021
That is true, but Romanian has been influenced quite strongly by Russian, especially with vocabulary, but also in early stages by syntax and things. It's said that it's had as much Slavic influence as French has had Germanic.
+8
Level 75
Oct 12, 2021
Jewish people who were born in Russia claiming the right-of-return to Israel.
+22
Level 82
Oct 6, 2021
Israel isn't random at all if you know the history behind it. Tons of Jewish people fled persecution in Russia and the USSR before, during, and after WW2, or made Aaliyah after the creation of the Israeli state. Ben-Gurion himself was born in the part of Poland then controlled by the Russian Empire. (though his first language was probably Yiddish)
+1
Level 66
Oct 7, 2021
Particularly in the 1970s, hence the reason why many aren't practicing Jews.
+2
Level 62
Oct 12, 2021
Actually the USSR had a very restrictive migration policy for Jews. The big emigration wave came in the years after the collapse of soviet communism in 1991.
+1
Level 82
Oct 18, 2021
There were several large waves of Jewish immigration from the Russian Empire, Soviet Union, and former Soviet Union to Israel/Palestine. Just because the one in the early 90s was the biggest doesn't mean that the ones before that weren't big, too. And skold is right: at various points restrictive emigration policies of the USSR made making Aaliyah very difficult. From 1960-1970 only 4000 left the USSR. Following a relaxing of some of these restrictions, from 1970-1980 this number increased to a quarter million. But there were many factors both limiting and encouraging emigration/immigration at various times.
+3
Level 51
Oct 7, 2021
I was stunned by that statistic. Cheers for the historical explanation.
+1
Level 82
Oct 13, 2021
yw! Always happy to elucidate. Jewish persecution in the Russian empire was terrible. "Pogrom" is a Russian word- that should tell you something. A lot of people don't know about that. On the other hand, if the Nazis weren't even worse than the Russians were, then there may today be as many or more German, Polish, Hungarian, Romanian, or Yiddish-speaking Israelis as Russian-speaking ones. Horrible persecution still not quite as bad as wholesale industrial-scale genocide. And the former often leads to large population displacements while the latter just leads to... less population.

On a (third?) hand... if Europeans countries had been nicer to Jewish people then there might not even be an Israel, or it might be smaller in area and population, or it might be majority Sephardic or at any rate not so full of recent immigrants and their descendants. You can play the "what if?" game forever.

+2
Level 59
Oct 6, 2021
Where's Uzbekistan and Tajikistan?! I was expecting they would be here. :-(
+4
Level 83
Oct 6, 2021
I think Uzbekistan is an omission. On wikipedia, it states that there are about one million native russian speakers there: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Uzbekistan
+2
Level 75
Oct 7, 2021
On the page wikipedia page linked under the title, it has Uzbekistan with 650,000 Russian speakers. Tajikistan is also there, they are both listed much further down the page because the "native" status of the Russian speakers is unclear.
+1
Level 71
Oct 7, 2021
Georgia is missing too. In the larger cities of Uzbekistan I was always greeted in Russian first, everyone I spoke to could speak Russian.

These Wikipedia articles are woefully inaccurate. Apparently Italy has a higher percent of total English speakers then South Africa. But when on the ground it's hard to find a South African that doesn't speak english, while in Italy it's hard to find someone who speaks englsh.

+2
Level 75
Oct 8, 2021
Maybe it's about the "native" part? I mean, people in Georgia offered Russian to me, but with each other, they went local every time.

What comes to Italy, it's the new France (if you know what I mean).

+1
Level 75
Oct 12, 2021
My suggestion is that the quiz would be improved by including the missing ex-USSR nations where the "native" status of Russian speakers is potentially unclear as pre-filled "grey" answers.
+8
Level 75
Oct 7, 2021
Интересная викторина
+2
Level 47
Oct 12, 2021
I have the strong impression that the source mixes numbers about native Russian speakers for some countries, and just any Russian speakers for other countries. I highly doubt there are two and half million native Russian speakers in Germany. That would make them by far the second largest minority after the Turks. And they are not. But if the number for Germany includes second language speakers, then it is surprising there isn't any other Eastern European country without a large Russian minority on the list (for instance, Poland).
+4
Level 47
Oct 12, 2021
In Germany we have a lot of people from Russia.

Most of them are descendants of germans wo emigrated to russia in the 18th and early 19th century.

In the 20th century, especially after the russian revolution and even more after WW2, they faced hostility and presecution in Russia, not unalike what jewish russians experienced that time.

So most of the people with german ancestors left Russia and most of them came to Germany, that offered a lot of practical and financial help for the "Spätaussiedler".

This was - and still is - not without problems, but it seems that the russians do much better in the matter of integration than many other emigrants, they don't look very different and cultural differences are also smaller compared to emigrants from the Arabic world or Africa.

Nevertheless, although statistics say there are about 2.5 million people with russian ancestors in Germany, I doubt that all of them can be counted as native russian speakers.

+1
Level 46
Oct 12, 2021
The number for Finland seemed kinda large as I was under the impression of Finland having ~50k Russian speakers. But now that I checked the national statistics service, the number 77 177 presented here is actually the number from December 2017, and it has since increased. In the end of 2020 it was 84 190 which corresponds to 1,50% of Finnish population. Even more than I expected
+1
Level 61
Oct 12, 2021
TIL a ton of people in Israel speak Russian. Makes sense when I think about it I suppose, but never in a million years would have guessed!