A Russophone (or russophone; Russian:русскоговорящий, русскоязычный,russkogovoryashchy, russkoyazychny, alsoRussian-speaking) is literally a speaker of theRussian language either natively or by preference. At the same time the term is used in a more specialized meaning to describe the category of people whose cultural background is associated with Russian language regardless of ethnic and territorial distinctions.
The largest and most populous Russophone country is Russia, where the language originates from. There are sizable Russophone communities in many neighbouring countries that were parts of the former Soviet Union, including Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Estonia and Latvia. Additionally, there are large Russophone immigrant communities in Israel and various parts of the United States, Canada and Australia.
There are an estimated 280 million Russophones worldwide.