(All Population Figures Are Approximate)
Russian is the chief language of the Soviet Union, with a population of 171,000,000 (131,000,000 in Europe, 40,000,000 in Asia). Russian proper (or Great Russian) is spoken as a primary language by about 100,000,000, and if its kindred tongues, Ukrainian and White Russian, are included, by over 130,000,000. It is spoken as a secondary language by over half of the remaining population of the Soviet Union, and by large numbers of people in territories once subject to Russia ( Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Bessarabia).
The liberal linguistic and cultural policy of the Soviet Union has made many lesser tongues of the Union co-official with Russian (Ukrainian, White Russian, Georgian, Armenian, etc.). Russian settlers have, however, spread the use of Russian throughout Asiatic Russia, particularly along central Siberia, to the far eastern provinces and Vladivostok. The number of nationalities in the Soviet Union is listed at 49 basic ones (over 20,000 members), and 100 smaller ones (less than 20,000). Ukranian speakers account for some 28,000,000; White Russian speakers are about 5,000,000. Both these languages are at least partly comprehensible to Russian speakers. The number of Russian speakers outside of Europe and Asia is not considerable, though some millions of people of Russian origin have settled in the Western Hemisphere (they come, however, largely from territories where Great Russian is not the primary tongue).