Staunton, November 20 – Russian complaints that officials in non-Russian republics are pushing parents to send their children to schools in the titular languages of these federal subjects have sparked calls in Moscow to strip republics of their powers and run schools directly as well as to change the definition of “native language” to disadvantage non-Russians,
The problem came to a head last week at the Federal Institute for the Development of Education following complaints by teachers in Bashkortostan that were entirely supported by Olga Artemenko, head of the Center for Nationality Problems of Education (mkset.ru/news/society/18-11-2019/eto-katastrofa-pedagog-iz-ufy-rasskazala-v-moskve-o-navyazyvanii-bashkirskogo-yazyka).
Artemenko’s intemperate attacks on the republics were so extreme that Tatar teachers and activists have demanded that she be investigated for extremism (idelreal.org/a/30284874.htmlfacebook.com/avraham.shmulevich/posts/10220265278843061
Valery Khatazhukhov of the Kabardino-Balkar Human Rights Defense Center says that Artemenko’s remarks should dispel any illusions people have as to what Moscow wants. “The republics must be destroyed” and they will have no purpose if they can’t support the languages of their titular nations.
And Irina Prokhorova, a literature specialist, speaks for all of them. “Russia is a multi-national and multi-confessional country and at the level of rhetoric we appear to recognize the multiplicity of cultural models but in practice we continue to follow a system of centralization and the unification of socio-cultural life.”
That has serious consequences for everyone: “By suppressing the initiatives of local communities, we promote the cultural and then the economic stagnation of the country.”