LANGUAGES OF THE SLAVIC GROUP
This imposing group, extending from the shores of the Baltic and the Adriatic, across central and eastern Europe and all of northern Asia, to Kamchatka, Behring Strait and Vladivostok on the Pacific coast, comprises Russian, with its kindred East Slavic tongues, Ukrainian and White Russian; a Northwestern group that takes in Polish, Czech, Slovak, and a few minor languages (Wend or Lusatian, Kashub); and a Southern division which includes Serbo-Croatian, Slovenian and Bulgarian. The distinction among the three Slavic groups (eastern, northwestern and southern) is perhaps more geographical than linguistic.
Russian (or Great Russian) is the official and principal language of the Soviet Union, with its 130,000,000 inhabitants in Europe and 41,000,000 more in Asia. While not all of these 171,000,000 people speak Russian as a primary language, the majority of them can be reached with it. The actual number of Great Russian speakers is estimated at over 100,000,000. Ukrainian (also called Ruthenian or Carpatho-Russian in its westernmost varieties) is the tongue of some 35,000,000 more people located in southeastern Poland (formerly Galicia), the Carpathian section of Czechoslovakia, and the Russian Ukraine, as far east as the Kuban Valley and the Caucasus. About 8,000,000 more, situated in west central Russia and eastern Poland, speak White Russian. The remaining populations of the Soviet Union speak a multitude of tongues, mostly of the Ural-Altaic variety, but Russian has imposed itself as a colonizing tongue across all of Siberia, particularly along the