||As face-threatening speech acts, requests are of particular interest to second language acquisition scholars. They affect the interlocutors' public self-images, and thus require a careful consideration of the social distance between the interlocutors, their status, and the level of the imposition, factors that are weighed differently in different cultures. Studies have revealed that while use of direct and conventionally indirect strategies to perform requests seems to be a universal property of language, languages differ with respect to the choice of linguistic means employed in these two types of strategies. Even though nonnative speakers' perceptions of politeness in requests correlate with those of native, differences in performance exist. Findings from former studies suggest that second language learners' sociolinguistic competence is not native like. To date, however, most studies on performance of requests have focused on English as a second or foreign language. The present study broadens current research by examining requests written by native and nonnative speakers of Russian. The second focus of this study is electronic communication. As a relatively new means of communication, the sociolinguistic dynamics of email is not adequately understood. However, its use for daily communication is increasing in all domains of life, including communication between university students and professors. Former research suggests that inappropriately formulated emails can affect how professors perceive students. As with requests in general, however, most studies to date on email have been iv conducted on English data. Using the Discourse Completion Task (DCT) as the elicitation method, the present study examined electronic messages written by native and nonnative speakers of Russian. The messages were rated by three native speakers on three scales: clarity, social appropriateness, and politeness. One-way ANOVA revealed significant differences between the groups on all three scales. In addition, head acts, alerters, supportive moves, and internal modifications were analyzed using the Cross- Cultural Speech Act Realization Project (CCSARP) coding manual. The strategy analysis revealed interesting similarities and differences between the groups. The study concluded that while Russian learners have approximated native sociolinguistic competence on some levels, significant gaps between native and nonnative formulation of electronic requests remain.