||This article does not have any sources. (June 2009)|
Slavs are the people who live in Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, Central Asia and North Asia. Present-day Slavic peoples are classified into West Slavs (mainly Poles, Czechs and Slovaks), East Slavs (mainly Russians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians), and South Slavs (mainly Serbs, Bulgarians, Croats, Bosniaks, Macedonians, Slovenes, and Montenegrins)
Albanians, Austrians,, Hungarians, Romanians, Lithuanians, and Latvians live near the Slavic nations, but they are not Slavs themselves. There are more Slavic peoples than any other ethnic group in Europe. Russians make up the most Slavs, followed by Poles and Ukrainians.
There are many small historic Slavic nations like Lusatia, Rusin, Kashubia and others. Russia is now the most powerful and populated Slavic country, but in the 10th century Serbs and Czechs were powerful, and in the 16th century Poland was the strongest nation in the area.
The Slavic languages are closely related. The largest similarities can be found within the same group (e.g. Polish and Slovak, both West Slavic languages), but similarities exist even between Slavic languages from other different subgroups (e.g. Bulgarian and Russian). However, the greatest similarities exist between Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian - these South Slavic languages are considered separate by the Bosnian and Croatian governments, but most linguists say they are one language called Serbo-Croatian. Slavic languages are spoken natively by 300 million people, and as second or third languages by many more people in countries as far apart as Germany and China.