Russian is not only the language of Russia. It is also the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia and the official language of many other countries associated with the former Soviet Union. Russian is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations.
The Russian Program at Clemson:
Russian is widely used in many countries outside Russia. Over a quarter of the world's scientific literature is published in Russian. It is also applied as a means of coding and storage of universal knowledge: 60–70 percent of all world information is published in English and Russian languages. Russian is a necessary accessory of world communications systems (broadcasts, air- and space communication, etc).
Russian is classified as a level III language in terms of learning difficulty for native English speakers. It is also regarded by the United States Intelligence Community as a "hard target" language, due to both its difficulty to master for English speakers as well as due to its critical role in American world policy.
Russia is in political social and economic transformation. It has vast natural resources and highly educated peoples. It remains a nuclear superpower and is a strategic and cultural force of tremendous influence.
Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Nabokov, ... need one say more?