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Is Russian Useful for Business?

Updated: Feb 13


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Date of publication: 14/07/2023





It is an undeniable truth that Russian is one of the most beautiful, captivating, and richest languages worldwide. There are different reasons that convince someone to learn how to say their first "hello" in the Russian language. Or start writing using the Russian alphabet. That’s because every person has their own personal aspirations and ambitions. Especially, when making their first steps to acquire a foreign language. Some are drawn to mastering this language to enhance their travel experiences in Moscow or Saint Petersburg. Some others read Dostoevsky's and Chekhov's masterpieces in the original. While others have fallen in love with a person from Russia and desire a deeper immersion into the country's culture.

russian language

However, the terrible invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing war have thrust Russia into the global spotlight, capturing the attention of World News. These events have left many companies, employers, and employees questioning the significance of learning the Russian language. Is the Russian language in demand? Will it continue to be considered the language of the future and business?


In this article, we will delve into the practicality of the Russian language in the business world. Despite the current geopolitical dynamics and societal changes, we will highlight the advantages it offers. This way, we will shed light on the new opportunities it can unlock. So, by exploring its usefulness, we aim to provide insights into why the Russian language remains relevant for professionals. Of course, we are talking about those who seek growth and success despite ongoing global developments.


The Russian Language is Prevalent and Widely Spoken


Russian, with its geographic reach spanning across Eurasia, holds significant linguistic prominence. In particular, it is spoken by over 265 million individuals as their mother tongue, making it one of the most widely spoken languages globally. Actually, it is the 7th most spoken language after English, Mandarin, Hindi, Spanish, French, and Arabic.


Notably, Russian holds the distinction of being one of the six official and active languages within the United Nations. Its influence extends beyond its native regions. It is frequently taught as a second language in Former Soviet Union countries. These countries include Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and others. It is also taught in Eastern European countries like Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, etc. Additionally, it is taught in the Baltic countries such as Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. In other words, it is the lingua franca across the majority of post-Soviet states. Moreover, owing to historical ties, Russian-speaking communities can be found dispersed across various corners of the world. These communities can be in numerous European countries, parts of Asia, and the United States.


Russia: A Global Superpower and a Leader in Many Industries


Russia has emerged as a formidable force in the global economy, driven by its vast reserves of natural resources. It is the largest producer of natural gas, the 3rd largest producer of oil, and the 4th largest coal producer globally. With significant oil, natural gas, lumber, and gold reserves, Russia plays a major role in the world economy. Moreover, the Russian market offers growth opportunities in industries like aerospace, tourism, finance, and governmental departments. Additionally, Russia has made groundbreaking advancements in science, technology, education, retail, and real estate. These contributions make it a compelling market for foreign businesses. Russian entrepreneurs exhibit a strong understanding of international economics and establish partnerships with foreign counterparts. So, by leveraging the Russian language, you can navigate the market and forge new business connections. Proficiency in the Russian language is imperative for individuals seeking employment with prominent U.S. agencies. These agencies include the C.I.A., F.B.I., N.A.S.A., or the National Virtual Translation Center.


Russia's Geographical Significance


Russia, with its vast geographical expanse, holds a strategic position as the largest country in the world. Spanning both the Asian and European continents, Russia enjoys a unique location and even shares a maritime boundary with North America through the Pacific Ocean. Its extensive landmass encompasses 9 time zones, borders 16 countries, and covers approximately 1/6 of the world's land area.

What’s more, Russia is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union and the World Trade Organization. As a result, it offers opportunities for business expansion into Asian markets and provides a favorable trade environment with other WTO members. Therefore, it’s important to highlight that Russia offers enticing incentives for foreign businesses to establish their presence. It features one of the most competitive corporate tax rates in Europe. As a result, it makes it an appealing destination for foreign investors seeking to optimize their tax savings.


Not Many Russians Speak English Fluently


While Russia has a robust economy and significant international influence, a small percentage of its population possesses strong English language skills. In fact, only around 3% of Russians are fluent in English. When engaging with potential clients, customers, and business associates in Russia, speaking their native language can demonstrate respect. It can also help overcome language barriers and break down potential cultural hurdles. People, especially Russians, deeply appreciate it when you try to speak to them in their native language.

Furthermore, Russian people prefer consuming content in their language. In order to target the Russian market, it is vital to speak Russian. For entrepreneurs expanding internationally, localizing content into Russian is essential to effectively reach and connect with the Russian market. It's not just about translating content. It’s about capturing all the cultural nuances that resonate with the target audience. So, in the context of online presence, translating your content into Russian can have a significant impact on your search engine visibility.


Unlock More Job Openings


If you are a candidate looking for a job and speak Russian, don't miss the opportunity to differentiate yourself and open doors to new career opportunities. Showcase your knowledge of the Russian language on your resume. Having a good command of English and Russian will make you stand out and claim your dream job. The scarcity of highly qualified personnel poses a challenge for companies in Russia. It creates favorable conditions for skilled professionals, especially in sectors like IT, manufacturing, and agriculture, to step in and fill this void. As the talent gap persists, foreign professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge can find opportunities to make a meaningful impact in these fields. They can contribute to the growth and development of companies in Russia.


The Fascinating Russian Pop Culture


The creative industries in Russia (music, film, fashion, etc.) are developing dynamically, giving rise to talented mega-stars and numerous hits. Notably, Russia boasts the most extensive market for video games. Besides, the thriving film industry has garnered international attention. Streaming giants like Netflix have acquired Russian TV series such as "To the Lake" and "Better than Us". Amazon Prime offers a selection of Russian TV shows ("The Red Queen", "Gogol", "Detective Anna", etc.). Likewise, for professionals in the entertainment or publishing sector, investing in the Russian language can yield significant benefits. The vibrant world of contemporary Russian literary works holds immense potential and warrants the attention of foreign publishers. Within its pages lie captivating narratives and hidden gems by noteworthy voices. Some of them are Viktor Pelevin, Vera Polozkova, Ludmila Ulitskaya, Dmitry Glukhovsky, Tatyana Tolstaya, and the list goes on endlessly.


Conclusion


To summarize, Russia is a unique country with its own culture, past, history, and customs. Correspondingly, the Russian language is one of the most charming and interesting languages to learn. It indeed offers enormous potential and numerous opportunities. By learning it you unlock a whole new world…you get a new pair of eyes. We must not forget that language is a living organism and the most important means of communication and expression of thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Therefore, it should never be condemned, denigrated, or confused with political beliefs. We can judge the dictatorial government of a country, and we can protest against political events and go to demonstrations, but we should never touch the language.


Nowadays, the landscape of business has transcended national boundaries. Modern businesses operate on an international scale. Thus, they collaborate with colleagues scattered across different continents, and seek clients in diverse corners of the globe. Consequently, we can't rely anymore on our mother tongue or English. To thrive in the international marketplace, embracing linguistic diversity is essential. It is imperative to recognize the value of communicating in languages beyond our comfort zone. So, fellow entrepreneurs, continue attending your language courses and mastering your Russian business vocabulary. As for the question of whether the Russian language is important and useful for business, my response remains steadfast: it was, is, and will continue to be.


 

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