Lomonosov consistently calls Russian language "российский" in his works:

Is there a reason why he does not use "русский язык," which is the proper name of Russian language in Russian?

  • According to this: new.gramota.ru/spravka/trudnosti?layout=item&id=36_186 русский is used since 19 century, before that российский was used in all these cases.
    – Artemix
    May 30, 2016 at 11:57
  • @Artemix The same article says that Karamzin "resurrects" the use of "русский" ("возрождается народная форма прилагательного руской"). To me, this suggests that the name "русский язык" was used before and after Lomonosov's times. May 30, 2016 at 12:04
  • IIRC, before Lomonosov there were no "written russian", only Church Slavonic was used in literature. So, even if "folk" form existed before Lomonosov it had no written usage.
    – Artemix
    May 30, 2016 at 12:15
  • 2
    @Artemix: Russian and its direct predecessors (as opposed to Church Slavonic) had been in continuous written usage since XI century.
    – Quassnoi
    May 30, 2016 at 13:05

1 Answer 1


Россия is a hellenized form of the native Russian word Русь.

It was first attested in XIV century and had since been for some time a part of grand style rhetoric (высокий штиль), the one Lomonosov used in his scientific writings.

At the time, it was just a fancy way to say "Russian".

In the modern language, российский means something pertaining to the Russian state (российские законы, российская армия) while русский is something pertaining to the Russian people (русский язык, русский народ).

Same distinction holds for several other nations (германский / немецкий, латвийский / латышский etc.).

  • 1
    +1. In Ukrainian, "російський" means 'Russian' in both senses, "русский" and "российский", while "руський" means 'Ukrainian'.
    – Yellow Sky
    May 30, 2016 at 13:41
  • 4
    @YellowSky, this is not true. "руський" - this word is used by some perverted ones, and stems from a political and historical concept, which tries to explain why wasn't such a great nation with 100000000 years history able to create its own state ever. So they invented the stupidest theory that Rus with its political center in Kiev was "ukrainian" and therefore "руський" = Ukrainian. This is not widely used even in the Ukraine. Serious historians simply laugh at this. So, please do not misguide other users.
    – d.k
    May 31, 2016 at 17:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.