Exclusion of Non-Russian Languages from Schools Would Destroy the Country, Experts Say
Staunton, August 7 – Vladimir
Putin’s new law making the study of non-Russian languages voluntary while
keeping the study of Russian obligatory has radicalized many non-Russians, but
the debates about it in the Federal Assembly suggest that its impact on Russian
nationalists may be even greater and certainly more dangerous.
During the discussion of the law –
it has now been adopted and signed by Putin – two senators made proposals that
follow Putin’s logic but go beyond what he has said so far. Boris Nevzorov from
Kamchatka argued that all basic subjects should be taught in one language, and
Maksim Kavdzharadze of Lipetsk said tat one language should be Russian.
Otherwise, he insisted, the
territorial integrity of the country would be put at risk. But experts with
whom Ramazan Alpaut of Radio Svoboda’s IdelReal portal has spoken, suggest that
Kavdzharadze has it exactly backwards: the senator’s ideas are the ones that
threaten to lead to the disintegration of Russia (idelreal.org/a/29405219.html).
The most prominent of these authorities,Konstantin Borovoy, a former Duma member and current commentator, says
that the Putin law itself already violates the rights of the peoples of Russia
and must be seen as a clear case of discrimination, of “discrimination which
will undermine the Federation” by violating the Constitution.
“The Kremlin is trying to transform
Russia into a unitary state,” he continues. “That is, it has already
transformed it, of course. And the instrument of language is the most
important. That which it is doing with language now is what Stalin did at one
time. Language is becoming a repressive instrument which will suppress or could
suppress any national self-consciousness.”
According to Borovoy, “this is a
crime against the laws of the Russian Federation.” Moscow, he argues, “is
trying to reconstruct Russia as an empire. Such an imperial policy, militarism,
and expansionism are signs not only of the Soviet Union. These arise at the
time of the disintegration of any empire.”
“Russia is a multi-national state.
The question of language is a political question” because “overcoming the
influence of national elites,” something the Kremlin considers very dangerous,
is the goal of Russia’s rulers.And like
the Soviets, they will do everything to “preserve the influence of the center:
with the first secretary a local person and the second a Russian.”