Sunday, July 8, 2018

Putin Creating Problem He Said He Faced: Non-Russian Hostility to Russian as Such

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 7 – Instead of winning over non-Russians to the use of Russian by highlighting the utility of knowing that lingua franca, Vladimir Putin, as a result of his frontal attack on non-Russian languages, has created something he and his supporters said they already faced: non-Russian hostility to the use of the Russian language as such.

            That increasing hostility was in evidence at the Second Conference of the Democratic Congress of the Peoples of Russia that was held via video last week; and at which, many participants said “there is too much Russian language in the republics, Radio Svoboda’s Ramazan Alpaut says (; cf.

            Amil Sarkarov, a Lezgin participant in the video conference, says that in his view, “a transformation in the activity of activists depending their linguistic rights is taking place,” and that this could lead to the formation of “a serious social force” that Moscow could not fail to take into account.

            “We must constantly fight for our rights since no laws guarantee that they will be observed,” the activist continued.  “We have frequently had occasion to be convinced that the actions of the authorities do not correspond to the legal code of the country. The language question is most clearly indicative of this.” 

            Consequently, Sarkarov says, “the creation of a powerful, legally formed public movement in support of the languages of the peoples of the Russian Federation is a necessary next step.”

            Other participants expressed similar thoughts and argued that requiring instruction in the non-Russian languages is essential to redress the imbalance between Russian and non-Russian that currently exists not only in schools but in the public spaces of the republics.

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