Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Feeling the Heat, Duma Committee Head Promises to ‘Fundamentally’ Revise Draft Language Law

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 6 – s criticism from non-Russian republics and nationalities, Duma Education Committee chairman Vyacheslav Nikonov says that the draft will be “reworked in a fundamental way” to clarify what he says are some of the misconceptions among many opponents about the measure.

            Many republics, he tells Kommersant, “mistakenly conceived the draft law as being about the exclusion of national languages from the obligatory part of state standards.” But that isn’t the case: those languages will be required for those who choose them ( and

                The latest draft specifies that “the republics will be able to establish the obligatory study of the native language, as long as the hours of Russian are not reduced, Andrey Isayev, first deputy chairman of the United Russia Duma fraction.  If parents choose a non-Russian language as native, their children will study it “on an equal basis with Russian.” 

            “If however parents are against their child studying the national language,” Isayev continues, “they will be able to choose Russian as their native one,” and thus have an open slot for other courses like English or science or mathematics.

            The next session of the Duma group working on revisions will take place on Friday, Kommersant says.  But the measure will not be taken up by the entire Duma until the fall.  Until that time, the debate will continue; but the promise of some changes may cause some now upset to avoid protests until after the World Cup or even the summer holiday season. 

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