Is Russian losing ground?
Since the break up of the Soveit Union, Russian has been losing ground in many of the former Soviet Republics, according to an article I found the other day. The “Year of the Russian Language”, which was officially opened in Paris in August, is an effort to address this trend by promoting the Russian language and culture outside Russia.
Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are the only former Soviet Republics where Russian is still has official status, alongside their own languages. Even in these countries Russian remains a contentious issue and there have been calls to make Belarusian to sole official language in Belarus. In Turkmenistan many Russian schools have been closed, and in Uzbekistan the number of Russian speakers has decreased significantly.
In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, English has replaced Russian as the most widely taught foreign language. The same is possibly true in other countries in Eastern Europe, though it has gained ground in Poland recently.