Russian is the official language of 148 million people in the Russian Federation. It is also an invaluable tool for anyone interested in the newly independent countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union: Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tadzhikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The demise of the USSR has brought the 380 million citizens of the former Soviet Union into a wider world of politics, culture, economics, business, and commerce. A knowledge of Russian can be a valuable asset to students in virtually any major. Never have the Russians themselves been more open and eager to communicate with people from other countries who can speak their language.