The starting point for the paper is the famous article by Ju.N. Karaulov from 1991 «On the state of the Russian language of our days», where a classifi cation of the forms and spheres of existence of Russian was launched. The purpose of the present paper is to try to update the ideas expressed by Karaulov by taking into account the developments which have taken place in the Russian language and research on it during the last 20 years. In the new classifi cation attention is paid, among others, to the following parameters: who, with respect to the Russian language, is the speaker (native/non-native, dialect speaker, etc.); what kind of characteristics the speech situation has; to what extent the variety differs from others; and how widespread it is in the society.