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Abstract

To truly understand a society’s culture, study their language. The history of how the Russian language developed mirrors how Russian society evolved and changed. The written record of how the orthography changed and what influenced it sheds light on milestones within the language and, thus, its cultural as well. This paper takes a historical analysis of the Russian language from the early beginnings of the Glagolitic alphabet to modern Russian Cyrillic. This paper shows that Russian leadership in the past not only knew that language was key to a unified society, but manipulated it in such a way that would prevent any diversion from their attempts to control orthographic development and thus control an increasingly literate society. The paper will conclude with the most recent official changes to the modern Russian alphabet, but with a greater understanding and appreciation for how it was forged into Russian society.

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