Friday, December 1, 2017

One Russian Citizen in Three Opposes Putin’s Language Policies

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 30 – Thirty-three percent of Russians, some 48 million people, say they support obligatory instruction in non-Russian languages in the non-Russian republics, according to a new VTsIOM poll, thus positioning themselves in opposition to Kremlin policy (

            That share is significant because it constitutes more than the total percentage of non-Russians in the population and thus suggests that many Russian speakers believe that instruction in non-Russian languages is something they support either on principle or out of concern that dropping that requirement could harm the country.

            At least some of these people, one could expect, will express their opposition to Vladimir Putin’s policies in this area by participating in demonstrations, pressuring officials or even voting against him in the March 2018 elections. But there is no evidence that the Kremlin leader is going to be dissuaded from his present course of Russianization anytime soon.

            Moscow has forced Tatarstan to back down on this issue, and a prosecutor’s report that there are violations of federal law regarding Russian language instruction in non-Russian republics suggests that the central government will press hard against non-Russian languages everywhere (

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