Russian Language Day was established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2010. The day is celebrated on June 6, which coincides with the birthday of Aleksandr Pushkin (1799-1837), a Russian poet considered the father of modern Russian literature.

Russian is the world’s 8th most spoken language. It is the native language for over 150 million people, and spoken by millions more as a second language. With a rich literary and cultural heritage, Russian is also a strategically important language for many fields, including aero-astro, information technology, nuclear science and engineering, security studies, and more.

Russian studies subjects offered at MIT include not only Russian I-IV, but also 21G.077j/21L.490j Introduction to the Classics of Russian Literature (taught in English with a Russian Language Option), and a new subject, 21G.615 Russian V: Russian for STEM. Students at MIT interested in Russian Studies can complete a concentration in Russian language or in Russian and Eurasian Studies, and pursue a minor in Russian and Eurasian Studies.

MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives offer internship programs: MIT-Russia and MIT-Kazakhstan. MIT-Russia’s Global Teaching Labs offer a unique opportunity for MIT students to learn by teaching.

In celebration of Russian Language Day, enjoy this recitation of  “Я вас любил” (“I loved you”), a 1829 poem by Aleksandr Pushkin. The poem is read by MIT student Richard Colwell for his participation in the New England Olympiada of Spoken Russian, which took place on April 11, 2021 (via Zoom). Richard received a 3rd place prize in the 1st year poetry contest.

I loved you
Aleksandr Pushkin

I loved you; and perhaps I love you still,
The flame, perhaps, is not extinguished; yet
It burns so quietly within my soul,
No longer should you feel distressed by it.

Silently and hopelessly I loved you,
At times too jealous and at times too shy.
God grant you find another who will love you
As tenderly and truthfully as I.

Since Pushkin, poetry has been a beloved form of literature addressing a variety of topics. Tyrone Davis reads a 20-century poem by Rooman Sef, called “Goluboi Meteorit” (Blue Meteorite) devoted to travel, geological expeditions, and interest in space exploration.” This recording was done for his participation in the New England Olympiada of Spoken Russian, which took place on April 11, 2021 (via Zoom). Tyrone received a 3rd place prize in the 3rd year poetry contest.