In the Soviet time, the speech of news-readers on radio and TV was considered a standard of the proper Russian language. The spelling in the newpapers was the standard of written language. To support editors and proof-readers, special dictionaries were published, which covered the meaning, use, and spelling of words.

As far as I know, in the end of the Soviet time many mass media got rid of the proof-reading staff, and modern radio and TV in Russia exhibit anything but the proper language. Is there still a recognised "carrier" of good language in Russia?

  • I think it does not exist. But you could still refer to classical literature. Jun 19, 2012 at 11:51
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    I think there are two questions you could ask really. 1) Is Russian standardized/regulated by an academy? and 2) Is there a prestige dialect of Russian as "RP" has been in Britain or Egyptian is in the Arabic speaking world? Jun 19, 2012 at 15:45
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    Thanks for the term "RP"---I didn't know there was a name for this phenomenon. I don't think we have anything like that in Russian. We just can't: Moscow and St.-Petersburg will never ever agree on whose pronunciation is more correct. Also, pronunciation is not close to being of such importance in Russian as in English.
    – texnic
    Jun 21, 2012 at 22:54
  • I can very much attest to Russian television chucking proofreaders out the window. At least 10% of what they say doesn't even mean what they were trying to say.
    – kotekzot
    Jun 25, 2012 at 14:01
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    Perhaps the de facto "official" version could be considered that which is actually used, regardless of any officiating body. The Russian National Corpus might be of interest: ruscorpora.ru или ruscorpora.ru/en/index.html Jun 3, 2013 at 4:50

2 Answers 2


As far as I can tell, there hasn’t been any official body governing the Russian language since the demise of the Soviet Union. I can't find any references to it anywhere, at least :)

I stand corrected – there is The Russian Language Institute in Moscow. There's also a Russian version as well as their official website.

  • ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – Quassnoi
    Jun 19, 2012 at 14:38
  • This is interesting. I wonder how they perform their regulating functions. Anyway, thanks for the information, I didn't look in this direction.
    – texnic
    Jun 21, 2012 at 22:49
  • Just because they exist and proclaim to talk for all the russian speakers doesn't mean that it is so. It would be possible to create Swahili Language Institute in Moscow, and say that it will regulate how Swahili is spoken.
    – v010dya
    Jun 25, 2014 at 12:57

Both 'yes' and 'no'.

'Yes', because the mixture of Russian Empire канцелярит with calques from French and, especially, German has prevailed throughout the Soviet times, entering the legal and official language(s) of, for example, Estonia. Its modern variety has a great number of legal sovietisms these days.

Any dialect or slang, or pronunciation variety (with a single exception of Moscow pronunciation, perhaps) is considered to be 'unappropriate' at any official communication.

The division into three Lomonosov's 'styles', or registers, is also recognisable.

'No', because any 'official language' with a legal body governing its standards requires social appreciation of 'soft skills & power' like arts & humanities, which Russian society is deprived off. Actually, the Russia itsels lacks any decent social institutions per se.

The other thing is that Russian with its syntaxic flexibility adopts cognitive pattersns of other languages at perfect ease, so if someone reads a translated text its sourse language can be deduced to quite a high accuracy.

It can always be told in Russian whether a source text had been written in Chinese, Arabic, English or French, even without realia and/or any personal names mentioned.

  • "because any 'official language' with a legal body governing its standards requires social appreciation of 'soft skills & power' like arts & humanities, which Russian society is deprived off. ", what? Citation needed. Several.
    – Dan M.
    Oct 14, 2020 at 13:45

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