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Wednesday, 10 January 2018 06:53

Moscow Finds Violations of Putin’s Language Policy in All Non-Russian Republics

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Paul Goble
        Every single one of the non-Russian republics is violating in one way or another Vladimir Putin’s insistence that the study of Russian be compulsory for all and that the study of non-Russian languages be voluntary in every case, according to a report the Procuracy General has prepared for the Presidential Administration.
            The four republics where the violations are greatest judged by the number of complaints from parents are Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Sakha and Chuvashia, according to Kommersant; but there are problems in this regard everywhere. And Moscow expects those responsible to be punished and the situation to be changed (kommersant.ru/doc/3482053).
            In short, this is not the limited “problem” that many in Moscow have talked about but one that affects more than a fifth of the population of the country and more than a fifth of the federal subjects, something that means it matters a great deal more than those within the ring road seem to recognize.
            On the one hand, this shows that the Kremlin really is committed to its Russianization and Russificaiton campaign and is willing to mobilize ethnic Russians in the non-Russian republics to get its way. But on the other, it shows that despite what many believe the non-Russians remain attached to their languages and will view this policy as an attack on their rights.
            Clearly, Putin is committed to this policy and is prepared to push it through even though it violates the Russian constitution and existing Russian law, although a Kommersant source in the Presidential Administration says that there is no need to change any law, an implicit acknowledgement that Putin’s views are now sufficient to override any legal provisions.
            The republic governments are expected to fall in line and to punish those in their education ministries and schools who have in the past violated what is now policy. Moscow is unhappy that this issue arose “before the federal elections” and will do everything it can to block education becoming a source of conflict in nationality policy.
            But in fact by overturning the constitution and laws in this area, the Kremlin has promoted what it says it objects to; and it would be well for its denizens to remember that those who view their rights as having been taken away often become more angry than those who never had these rights in the past. 
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