Russian is a language born in Eastern Europe. It is the largest of the East Slavic Languages and the official language of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Although not an official language of the Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia it is widely spoken.
It also holds the record for the largest spoken language with 260 million native speakers. The language uses the Cyrillic writing system, also known as the Russian alphabet. The standard Russian that is spoken today is generally called the Modern Russian Literary Language. It came into being at the beginning of the 18th century under the ruler Peter the Great. In 1755 Mikhail Lomonosov compiled the first normalizing grammar book and the first explanatory Russian dictionary appeared in 1783.
Despite holding the record for largest spoken language, Russian is widely regarded to be one of the hardest languages to learn. With 3 different Russian dialects spoken in Russia alone, split into Northern, middle and Southern respectively and 14 other dialects spoken in the surrounding countries, it is easy to see why.