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Number of Russian speakers worldwide down by 50 million in 25 years — expert

November 03, 2017, 21:17 UTC+3 NIZHNY NOVGOROD

Vyacheslav Nikonov explains it by the fact that the older Russian-speaking generation in the former Soviet republics has practically gone

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© Vitaly Timkiv/TASS

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, November 3. /TASS/. The number of people speaking Russian has decreased by 50 million in the past 25 years, especially in the former Soviet republics and former socialist countries, Vyacheslav Nikonov, chairman of the education and science committee of the Russian State Duma lower parliament house and chairman of the board of the Russian World foundation, said on Friday at the 11th Russian World Assembly.

"The older Russian-speaking generation in the former Soviet republics and former socialist countries, where Russian was taught at school, has practically gone over the past 25 years. The younger generation in these countries does not speak Russian, and this is a serious problem," he said.

However, in his words, the Russian language is regaining its positions, especially in the countries of the former Soviet Union, as the knowledge of Russian opens good opportunities, including in terms of employment. The interest to the Russian language is growing in foreign countries too. "Serious interest to the Russian language is seen in China, with more and more people studying it. And China is the world’s biggest nation," he said. "We are doing our best to ensure possibility of studying Russian everywhere, even in those countries where it has never been studied, such as Indonesia or Nicaragua. Now Russian classes are offered there too."

He noted that the Russian World foundation sets up its center in various parts of the globe. By now, there are 115 such centers, with the latest one opened recently in Syria’s Damascus. Notably, it is planned to teach Russian in Syrian secondary schools.

"We have a program of Russian language classes. These are small Russian centers operating in more than 160 educational establishments worldwide. We have a large-scale scholarship program, with ten to fifteen events conducted every day in various corners of the world," Nikonov said.

The 11th Russian World Assembly is held in Nizhny Novgorod on November 2 through 4. It is attended by delegates from 73 countries and all Russian regions.

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