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Putin expresses concern over situation with national languages in some countries

May 19, 2015, 15:15 UTC+3
Russia's republics have the right to establish their state languages and use them in the work of state government bodies and local governments along with the state language of Russia
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Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Klimentyev

MOSCOW, May 19./TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed concern over the situation with preservation of national languages in some countries.

"We know examples when the right of major ethnicities to use their language is ignored or restricted in some countries, when a tough and aggressive policy of language and cultural assimilation is pursued," the president said at a session of the councils for ethnic relations and the Russian language.

"We can see the consequences of this - the division of the society into full-fledged and inferior people, into citizens and non-citizens, or even direct and tragic internal conflicts," he said.

Pointing to a different language situation in Russia, he said "the Russian Constitution directly guarantees the right of all nations to preserve their mother-tongue, conditions for studying and developing it."

Putin said "the republics have the right to establish their state languages and use them in the work of state government bodies and local governments along with the state language of Russia," citing the example of Crimea, which has three equal languages - Russian, Ukrainian and the language of the Crimean Tatars.

Putin said Russia has 193 nationalities speaking almost 300 languages and dialects, adding that 50 nationalities got their written languages in the Soviet times, between 1920 and 1940.

Speaking about the language policy, Putin said it remained among the priorities "for Russia with its ethnical and cultural diversity and complex national and state structure".

Russian President said the regional authorities must ensure a free choice of a language of instruction at schools for their children. "Children and their parents have a right guaranteed by the Constitution to a free choice of a language of instruction. I emphasize that school administrations and regional authorities must ensure this right," Putin said. 

Putin recalled that to develop the languages of Russia’s peoples it was necessary to support electronic and print media, publish literature in the national languages and pay special attention to schooling. The president noted that Russian schools used a total of 89 languages of Russia’s peoples, among them 30 using it as a language of instruction and 59 - as a subject of study.

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