Why Study Russian

The History of Russian Instruction in
North America Before WWII

The Russian language was first heard on North American shores in 1728, when Russian explorers landed in Alaska. Other expeditions followed, and by 1812 Russian trade and settlement stretched from Alaska through present-day British Columbia, and had reached California, near what is today San Francisco. In 1824, a treaty between Russian and the United States put a stop to further Russian expansion in the Western hemisphere; and in 1867 Russia gave up its last territory in North America with the sale of Alaska to the United States. All the same, there are still some communities in the Pacific northwest where Russian is the dominant cultural and linguistic tradition.
photo of the Brighton Beach Blvd Street SignThroughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, immigrants arrived from all parts of the old tsarist empire. Many Russian immigrants came to the United States after the revolution of 1917 and again after World War II. A large number of Soviet Jews immigrated to the United States during the 1970s. As of the 1990 census, there were some 470, 000 people in the United States who had been born in the Soviet Union. Since then at least another 400, 000 have arrived, making Russian one of the most frequently heard foreign languages on the streets of major American cities. This most recent wave of immigration has provided American students of Russian with myriad opportunities to use the language in the United States, as well as fueled a demand for trained social workers, lawyers, doctors and other professionals with Russian language skills.

There are many electronic publications available for those wanting to learn Russian. The Russian news agency Vesti publishes daily its news briefings, and even has web broadcasts. You can also read information from many Russian news agencies, including Izvestia, Interfax, and of course, Pravda

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