The 2nd International Online Olympiad in Russian as a foreign language held by St Petersburg University and the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation has set a new record for the number of participants. This year 9,500 people from 150 countries are dealing with its assignments. For comparison: last year there were 7,200 participants from 130 countries.

The online Olympiad is supported by the Ministry's grant, under the terms of which it is required that at least 7,000 people from 50 countries take part in it. Thus, the University have managed not only to boost last year’s figures, but also to move beyond the grant requirement.

The principal aim of the Olympiad is to preserve, stimulate and increase the interest of foreigners in the Russian language and Russian culture, as well as their creativity. It is also designed to create additional opportunities to support and develop Russian as a means of international communication. The event is also designed to promote the state testing system for Russian as a foreign language (TORFL).

Under present-day conditions, when people have more time for education, but opportunities to test their own knowledge have decreased, the online Olympiad fully corresponds with the needs of foreigners studying Russian. This statement is confirmed by the fact that the number of participants has increased by 30% compared with last year.

Dmitry Ptyushkin, Director of the St Petersburg Language Testing Centre

The intellectual contest is held for two age groups: 12–16 years old and 17–30 years old. At the qualification stage, contestants do tests with: closed-end tasks (with one or multiplechoice answers); open-end tasks, which require an extended answer; and creative tasks of advanced challenge. The designed tasks check awareness of Russian grammar, vocabulary and syntax.

At the final stage, participants are offered four subtests in: Writing; Reading; Listening; and Speaking. Both stages take place in the proctoring system, which monitors the process so that participants take online tests properly. The online format makes it possible for lovers of the Russian language to take part in the Olympiad. They are from Latvia, Ukraine, USA, Singapore, New Zealand, Ghana, Syria, Belarus, Greece, Italy, Venezuela and other countries.

The results of the 2nd International Online Olympiad in Russian as a Foreign Language at St Petersburg University will be announced at the end of December 2020.