Friday, May 3, 2024

Fewer than Nine Percent of Pupils in Mari El Now Studying in National Language

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Apr. 30 – Putin has sought to Russianize and thereby Russify the Finno-Ugric peoples of the Russian Federation with greater force than he has directed toward speakers of any other language community (

            And among the Finno-Ugric nations which still have their own national republics, none of the peoples in this category has been subject to greater pressure than the Mari of the Middle Volga ( and

            Just how far the Kremlin has gone is highlighted in a new report by government officials there which shows that only 8.6 percent of pupils in Mari El schools are now studying in Mari even though about 50 percent of republic residents speak Mari ( and

            That percentage is down from 16 percent last year and suggests that as the older generation dies out, the share of Mari El residents who speak their national language will fall precipitously and that, without that support of a national language, an increasing share of the republic’s population will reidentify as ethnic Russians.

            That will not only help Putin conceal the demographic decline of the ethnic Russians by adding people from other nations who have reidentified to their number but also and far sooner likely to be invoked by him to do away with non-Russian republics in a renewed amalgamation program (

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