Thursday, August 2, 2018

Moscow Moves Quickly to Ensure Even Greater Dominance of Russian Language in Non-Russian Schools

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 2 – Less than a week after the Duma approved the law making the study of non-Russian languages voluntary while keeping the study of Russian mandatory, Russian education officials have taken steps that show that all the fears of the non-Russian opponents of this Putin program are rapidly proving to be true.

            In Daghestan, a North Caucasus republic in which fewer than one in 25 people is an ethnic Russian and in which there are no ethnic Russians at all in many of the regions outside the cities, the republic education ministry this past week forwarded to local school administrators a Moscow-approved plan for a textbook on Russian as a native language.

            In doing so, the authorities made no reference to the much-ballyhooed promises in the law passed on July 25 for the creation of special foundations to support non-Russian language instruction. In short, Moscow was ready to promote Russian well in advance; but it isn’t ready to help the non-Russians (

                Local activists are furious. They feel they’ve been betrayed not only by their own officials who failed to stand up to Moscow but also by that government which has made promises to be more supportive of non-Russian languages. Those promises, designed to quiet dissent, have now been shown to be as worthless as many others the Kremlin has made.

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