Russian is the official language of the Russian Federation; 153 million people list it as their mother tongue. The Russian language, together with Ukrainian and Belorussian, makes up the Eastern branch of the Slavic family of languages that belongs to the large Indo-European group of languages.
Russian derives from the Old East Slavic, which was spoken in the times of Kievan Rus. The current writing system emerged with the invention of the Cyrillic alphabet in the ninth century by two brothers, monks Cyril and Methodius, who translated the Bible from Greek into Old Slavic, and the introduction of Christianity in the tenth century. Throughout its history, the Russian language has incorporated various features of other languages (Polish, German, Greek, Dutch, French, English, Latin etc.). Today, modern Russian is a prominent language in both political and non-political circles. It is also one of the official languages of the United Nations organization.