MOSCOW, June 6 (RIA Novosti) – UN Russian Language Day is observed annually June 6. The event established by the United Nations in 2010 was meant to coincide with the birthday of Alexander Pushkin, colloquially called the father of the modern Russian literary language.
The Russian language is one of the six official languages spoken at the UN, together with English, French, Chinese, Arabic and Spanish.
In 2011, then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree establishing June 6 as the Day of the Russian Language.
Alexander Pushkin, a 19th century poet and novelist, made a profound impact on Russia’s literary tradition. His contribution to Russian literature is often compared in scope to William Shakespeare’s influence on English and literature.
Pushkin spent several years in exile after he displeased the government over his political poems.
Pushkin died in 1837 from wounds that he received in a duel with the alleged lover of his wife, Natalya Goncharova. His most famous work, widely regarded as a masterpiece, is the novel-in-verse Eugene Onegin which later inspired the much-revered 1879 Tchaikovsky opera.
On Pushkin’s birthday, eight rare editions of his works were put on auction in Moscow. The main treasure of the auction is a rare edition of Pushkin’s poem The Gypsies with the starting price of $65,000.
Festivities marking Pushkin’s 215th birthday are being held in Moscow in the Alexander Pushkin State Museum, in Pushkin’s Memorial Apartment on Arbat Street and the Vasily Pushkin House Museum.
Russian Language Day was already celebrated in the Russian Cultural Center in Washington where a bust of Alexander Pushkin was unveiled Thursday.
The year of Russian language is kicking off in Germany this year with an opening ceremony in the Berlin State Library.
2014 will mark the Russia-Germany crossover year. The opening of the year of German language in Russia is scheduled for September 13 in the Moscow Hermitage Garden.
Special events to mark Russian Language Day are also planned in Switzerland.