Staunton, January 30 – Speaking in Kazan at the ceremonial opening of Tatarstan’s Year of Native Languages, Vladimir Zorin, former Russian Federation nationalities minister and currently a senior member of the country’s Social Chamber, said that “we cannot deny that the are of use of native languages of large and small peoples is contracting.”
That trend is continuing despite efforts by the Russian government to defend these languages, he added, a claim that many in his audience would dispute given Moscow’s assault on the earlier requirement that all children in the non-Russian republics study and thus become familiar with the titular languages there (business-gazeta.ru/article/497431).
Also addressing the meeting was Farid Mukhametshin, head of Tatarstan’s State Council and a leading advocate of the use of Tatar and other non-Russian languages. He noted that today in his republic, there are 871 schools where Russian is the language of instruction and 657 where Tatar is that.
In addition, there are 132 schools with portions of the curriculum in other languages, including 88 with a Chuvash segment, 24 with an Udmurt, 16 with a Mari, three with a Mordvin, and one with Hebrew section. There are also 22 Sunday schools which offer instruction in the language and culture of 19 other nationalities.