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In some cases, both the East Slavic and the Church Slavonic forms are in use, with many different meanings.

For details, see Russian phonology and History of the Russian language.

Significant Russian-speaking groups also exist in Western Europe.

These have been fed by several waves of immigrants since the beginning of the 20th century, each with its own flavor of language.

Despite the formalization of Standard Russian, some nonstandard dialectal features (such as fricative In 2010, there were 259.8 million speakers of Russian in the world: in Russia – 137.5 million, in the CIS and Baltic countries – 93.7 million, in Eastern Europe – 12.9 million, Western Europe – 7.3 million, Asia – 2.7 million, Middle East and North Africa – 1.3 million, Sub-Saharan Africa – 0.1 million, Latin America – 0.2 million, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – 4.1 million speakers.

Therefore, the Russian language is the 7th largest in the world by number of speakers, after English, Mandarin, Hindi, Urdu, Spanish and Arabic.

In China, Russian has no official status, but it is spoken by the small Russian communities in the Northeastern Heilongjiang province.

In Georgia, Russian has no official status, but it is recognized as a minority language under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

In many places in eastern and southern Ukraine and throughout Belarus, these languages are spoken interchangeably, and in certain areas traditional bilingualism resulted in language mixtures such as Surzhyk in eastern Ukraine and Trasianka in Belarus.

An East Slavic Old Novgorod dialect, although vanished during the 15th or 16th century, is sometimes considered to have played a significant role in the formation of modern Russian.

Over the course of centuries, the vocabulary and literary style of Russian have also been influenced by Western and Central European languages such as Greek, Latin, Polish, Dutch, German, French, Italian and English, According to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, Russian is classified as a level III language in terms of learning difficulty for native English speakers, requiring approximately 1,100 hours of immersion instruction to achieve intermediate fluency.).

It arose in the beginning of the 18th century with the modernization reforms of the Russian state under the rule of Peter the Great, and developed from the Moscow (Middle or Central Russian) dialect substratum under the influence of some of the previous century's Russian chancellery language.

Russian is the eighth most spoken language in the world by number of native speakers and the seventh by total number of speakers.

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