Desire to learn Russian heating up again
By Michael Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 1, 2010; B01
Russian used to be hot, the must-learn language of ambitious Americans looking to talk to their rivals. But the end of the Cold War put the language in a deep freeze -- one from which it's just beginning to emerge.
Students now see Russia as a place to make money, and, with the highly charged rhetoric of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the country appears to be a bit of a rival again. Russian programs in high schools, which had been shrinking since the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1991, may have stabilized, educators say.
"The worse it gets as far as our relations are concerned, the better it is for our enrollments," said John Schillinger, a professor emeritus at American University who has been tracking Russian class enrollments nationwide since 1984. "That's kind of what's going on now."