Monday, December 21, 2015

Sakha Follows Tatarstan in Denouncing Moscow’s Language Policies as Threat to National Security

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 21 – As often happened at the end of Soviet times and the beginning of the 1990s, the Republic of Sakha has followed the position laid out first by the Republic of Tatarstan and accused Moscow of violating the Russian constitution and threatening the country’s national security by seeking to push out non-Russian languages from public schools.

            Several weeks ago, senior officials in Kazan denounced the new Russian concept paper on instruction in Russian and said in an open letter to Moscow that unless the Russian government changed course, its actions would spark protests among non-Russians across the country (

            Now, Ivan Shamayev, a deputy of the Sakha Republic’s state council, has said the same thing in equally sharp terms in n open letter to Sergey Naryshkin, the chairman of the Russian State Duma (

            According to the Sakha deputy, the draft concept paper “violates federal laws concerning education and languages and contradicts the direction of the [Russian Federation] Strategy for Nationality Policy.” If Moscow does not change direction, the measure will “detonate an explosion which will harm the federal arrangements of our state.”

            Shamayev argues that the new draft program has as its goal “the destruction” of the 4,000 non-Russian schools in the country. He concedes that non-Russians should learn Russian as well, but he insists that their right to study their own languages must not be abridged under any circumstances.

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