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Who Speaks Russian Well? The Kostomarov Forum Knows

The weeklong forum on the Russian language opened in Moscow.

Pushkin Institute / Instagram

The Kostomarov Forum began its work this morning in a former Moscow city manor house that was filled with lilacs and some of the finest speakers and writers of Russian in the capital.

The Forum is a five-day online event dedicated to the Russian language, this year focusing on the language and how it functions — or doesn’t function — in the new world of information technology and the internet. It is being held by the Pushkin Institute and is named after Vitaly Kostomarov, the first rector of the Institute and a pioneer in the study of Russian and teaching it as a foreign language.  

At the opening ceremony, the current rector of the Pushkin Institute, Margarita Rusetskaya, asked Mikhail Osadchy, vice-rector of research and scholarship, to reveal the results of a poll of Russians about who, in their opinion, spoke Russian well. The respondents, who ranged in age from young children to pensioners, voted for six speakers: Alyona Doletskaya (former editor of Vogue, writer); Nikolai Tsiskaridze (ballet dancer, teacher and now rector of the Vaganova Academy); Yekaterina Shulman (a political scientist); Dmitry Bykov (writer of fiction and non-fiction); Leonid Parfyonov (television producer, writer and host); and the surprise winner: Danya Milokhin (blogger, rap musician and TikToker).  

Alyona Doletskaya and Nikolai Tsiskaridze were present to accept their awards in perfectly correct and very engaging Russian.  

The forum sessions will cover a wide range of topics connected with the Russian language, such as studies on Russian employers’ preferences for language competency among their employees, Russian as a second language, and “Finances and romances: the language of bankers and musicians.”

The forum runs all week. For more information about the events, registration and participation, see the site here

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