This question is so commonly asked by the students of the Russian Language that it warrants its own blogpost.
Yes, everyone will agree that in the modern world we have a lot less opportunities to use handwriting than even 50 years ago. Everyone, even toddlers, use the “screens” and start typing at a very early age. In addition, in our computerized world we text, email, message each other more and more even if the person lives in our household. Why handwriting then?
I would say as with the reasons for learning Russian, there can be many "why"s. Here is what always gets my students:
1) Spelling and memorization. When we type we tend to use autocorrect (and a lot of times hate it when it turns our text messages into something completely different from what we intended it to be!), and we rely on it.
However autocorrect does not help us develop the proper spelling. And when you are learning a language, it is of great importance to be very careful with the spelling, to be aware of it.
You know that in Russian it is very easy to read but quite hard to write down the word correctly if you only heard it and never saw it written. However, with the repeated writing of the words byhand you are learning the spelling faster and it especially helps with the tricky words and aids in memorization.
2) Practicality. Russian still write by hand a lot. Some might say more than their Western counterparts.
Russians write letters, postcards, post-its, and notes to the family members, neighbours and friends, shopping lists, recipes, addresses, their contact information, and so much more!
If you can read the printed Russian letters and are planning to go to Russia you might find yourself at a disadvantage as you will encounter handwritten signs and even names of stores, stations, and other important things printed in the script that mimics the handwriting.
3) Understanding the Culture. Yes, you can type in Russian or any other language, but learning the cursive writing gives you an insight into the Russian way of doing it. Russians handwrite a lot. Any Russian who went to school will gladly reminisce about the school years when they used Propisi and learned how to handwrite correctly (some have fond memories while others remember rewriting those letters a million times until they are perfect), but everyone had that experience, it is part of the growing up process in Russia and it is an important step in the school life of every child.
4) For the art of it. You know the calligraphy? Learning the Russian handwriting is like that too! It can be soothing, artful, and therapeutic. It is a process, not a race. It requires the correct order of strokes, smoothness, and repetition. It is beautiful when it’s done right. Take the time to enjoy it.
I am sure there ae many more reasons why you should spend the time and effort and learn the Russian handwriting. It’s totally worth it!