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Russian may become 2nd state language in most post-Soviet countries

November 14, 2011, 19:23 UTC+3
“If the authorities there give their peoples the right to choose freely, then I don’t have doubts many of their citizens would choose the Russian language,” Klimov believes
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MOSCOW, November 14 (Itar-Tass) — Encouraging results of South Ossetia’s referendum on recognizing Russian as a second state language of the young South Caucasian republic are quite logical and predictable, members of the foreign policy committee at the State Duma, the lower house of Russian parliament, said Monday.

According to the results of the referendum, which South Ossetia held Sunday simultaneously with the first presidential election, a total of 83.99% voters spoke out in favor of giving Russian the status of the second state language.

Deputy Chairman of the committee, Andrei Klimov, said the decision of the South Ossetian people is quite logical, “as we’re living in a single economic space and many South Ossetes have Russian passports.”

He believes the results of similar referendums would much be the same if they were held on other post-Soviet territories outside Russia.

“If the authorities there give their peoples the right to choose freely, then I don’t have doubts many of their citizens would choose the Russian language,” Klimov believes.

Leonid Slutsky, First Deputy Chairman of the same committee, shared Klimov’s viewpoint. “Russian has long turned into a language of inter-ethnic communications,” he said.

Slutsky, who is deputy chairman of the Russian delegation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, said he had seen many a time the parliamentarians – and not only the ones from the former Soviet republics – use Russian as a means of communications with other non-Russian MPs.

“The EU, too, might make Russian an official language, since big numbers of Russian-speaking people are living in the EU member-states,” he said.

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