"The number of Russian speakers in the world has decreased by 50 million, in the past 25 years and the trend continues", according to Vyacheslav Nikonov, chairman of the education and science committee of the Russian State Duma. "In the former Soviet Union, the entire population spoke Russian. In the past 25 years, the elder generation has gone and the younger generation is not all-round Russian-speaking. Moreover, the Russian language used to be a compulsory school subject in Eastern Europe, now it is not," according to the Russian lawmaker
Nikonov said that this tendency is irreversible, since the Russian language is spoken only where it is part of the educational system. He noted however that more people speak Russian outside Russia than inside it. "At least, these are commensurate figures," he said.
"It all depends on us. We must expand the geography of our Eurasian Union. We must exert efforts where possible. For instance, there are countries with high demands for the Russian language, such as Tajikistan, Moldova, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan," he noted.
According to the Duma education and science committee, as many as 350 million people spoke Russian before the collapse of the former Soviet Union.
source: commonspace.eu with TASS news agency