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Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses the Cyrillic alphabet. The Ukrainian language traces its origins to the Old Slavic language of the early medieval state of Kievan Rus'. In its earlier stages it was known as Ruthenian. Ukrainian is a lineal descendant of the colloquial language used in Kievan Rus (10th–13th century). The language has persisted despite several periods of bans, discouragement or both throughout centuries as it has always maintained a sufficient base among the people of Ukraine, its folklore songs, itinerant musicians, and prominent authors.