Why many Ukrainians speak Russian as their first language

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationNewspaper


The issue of the Ukrainian language and who speaks it has become highly politicised during the Russian invasion. Vladimir Putin has even used it as a cover to annex some occupied areas of Ukraine with large numbers of Russian speakers.

Based on the 2001 census, about 14.3 million Ukrainian people (29% of the population) speak Russian as a first language, although by some estimates it is higher. The reasons for this lie in the history of the spread of the Ukrainian language and the formation of the borders of modern Ukraine.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Ievgeniia Ivanova does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


Dive into the research topics of 'Why many Ukrainians speak Russian as their first language'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this