Not only has a large part of the older generation which was compelled to learn Russian in Soviet times in the former republics and Warsaw Pact countries passed away with younger people choosing not to learn Russian but rather English and other languages, they say, but Russia no longer offers the kind of ideological attractions that caused some to learn Russian in the past.
And Stanislav Byshok, an analyst with the CIS-EMO monitoring group, adds the following which may go a long way to explaining what Putin intends as far as the non-Russian languages inside the Russian Federation, a factor that “is no less important” than the falling away of people speaking Russian abroad.
“The primary bearers of Russian are ethnic Russians and peoples tied to them,” the political analyst says. “Consequently, in the frameworks of Russia, the study of Russia must not be limited by anything, including the imposed need to study ‘national’ languages.”
And he adds: “In Russia we are united not by a kaleidoscope of mutually unintelligible languages, dialects and archaic traditions but by the Russian language and Russian, primarily literary, culture.”
Such reflections go a long way to explain the passion Putin brings to this idea and the fears many non-Russians have about how their languages will be treated now that the Kremlin leader has focused his attention on this issue.