Sunday, September 22, 2019

Tishkov Must be Held Legally Accountable for Advocating Linguistic Discrimination, Tatar Activist Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 18 – Almas Imamov, a Tatar activist from Naberezhnye Chelny, has called on the procuracy of the Republic of Tatarstan to bring charges against Academician Valery Tishkov for promoting the superiority of Russian and discrimination against non-Russian languages (

            The activist filed this appeal with prosecutors after Tishkov published his article in Izvestiya on September 12 in response to Udmurt scholar and activist Albert Razin’s self-immolation to protest the destruction of non-Russian languages and peoples. (On that article, see

            Specifically, Imamov said that in the Izvestiya article, Tishkov had called for giving the Russian language “anti-constitutional advantages” and justified discrimination against the non-Russian nations and their languages in violation of both the Russian Federation’s constitution and Russian laws.

            And the academician’s words were especially offensive, Imamov says, because he used “insulting” language to make comparison between those who study their native language and the mentally ill.  If anyone had done with same with regard to those studying Russian, the Tatar activist implies, the Russian judicial system would quickly move against him. 

            This is nt the first time the Tatar activist has attempted to bring a Russian leader to justice for discrimination against non-Russian languages. Last  December, he asked prosecutors to bring charges against Sberbank’s German Gref for refusing to provide loan information in Tatar and other non-Russian languages (

            The Tatarstan procuracy ignored Imamov’s appeal then, and it is almost certain to ignore it now. But the Tatar activist’s effort is another indication of just how raw tensions are about the Kremlin’s language policy in the wake of Razin’s suicide and also of the increasing readiness of non-Russians to demand equal treatment not only in the schools but in the courts as well. 

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