More than 7,000 schoolchildren and university students from all over the world tested their level of proficiency in Russian, but only 500 of them captured top prizes.  The award ceremony for the finalists was recently held at St Petersburg University.

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As prizes, they received commemorative gifts and study guides to help them take their language up to the next level, along with vouchers which will allow them to take the State Test of Russian as a Foreign Language free of charge, either at St Petersburg University or at one of the 80 partner centres throughout the world.

The International Online Olympiad in Russian as a Foreign Language is a joint project of St Petersburg University and the Ministry of Enlightenment of the Russian Federation, and it is supported by a grant from the government intended to promote the use and development of the Russian language.

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The Olympiad was held in two age categories:  13-17 years old (schoolchildren) and 18-30 years old (students).  At each stage, there is an on-line test that can be taken remotely.  This made it possible to achieve a true global reach during the first stage:  the participants included Russian language enthusiasts from 131 countries, among which were Ukraine and Latvia, Tanzania and Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and Syria.

When you are studying the Russian language, as in any learning process, it is very important to have a sense of how you are progressing.

 Dmitrii Ptiushkin, Acting Director of the St Petersburg University Language Testing Centre

This competition is an indispensable tool for teachers and students:  it motivates them to go further, and it helps them to understand what they have achieved so far.  Knowing this, they are able not only to take tests but also to take part in language competitions.  ‘St Petersburg University has worked hard to develop this whole area, and one of the results that we are proud of is the International Online Olympiad in Russian as a Foreign Language.  The finalists are special kids, and they have achieved a truly commendable level in their study of the Russian language,’ Mr Ptiushkin noted.   ‘It should be pointed out, however, that such a result would have been inconceivable without the attention and methodical efforts of their teachers.  I am especially glad that not only the finalists, along with their friends and family, but also their teachers have been able to attend this event.  The students’ success is, in large part, also to their mentors’ credit.’ 

Apart from the International Online Olympiad, the St Petersburg University Olympiad in Russian as a Foreign Language is held yearly at the University.  The certificate given to the winner or the runner up allows them to receive a substantial bonus if they enroll in one of the University’s academic programmes, including government-funded places.   

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You can find more detailed information about the Olympiads and other Russian language competitions for foreigners on the website of the International Russian Institute of SPbU.  If you would like to receive mailings about upcoming events in this connection, please send a request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..