MOSCOW, August 31. /TASS/. The position of the Russian language over the past 30 years has been weakening in the countries of the post-Soviet space, particularly in the Central Asian region from where the "bulk of labor migrants" arrive in Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a meeting with the representatives of national and cultural unions.
"Over the past 30 years, unfortunately, the Russian language began to lose its position very quickly. In many countries the emphasis was made on promoting the national language which is absolutely natural for the countries that recently gained sovereignty and want to preserve their culture," he said. "Yet simultaneously, in a whole number of cases the Russian language lost its position sharply. And our neighbors now understand this, including the Central Asian countries who supply the bulk of labor migrants," he added.
According to the foreign minister, currently the Russian side, together with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as with Kyrgyzstan where "the [Russian] language is the official one and is rather well protected," although "the quality of proficiency in this language" is decreasing, is developing an entire program "on the issues of creating universities and schools." "This is one of the initiatives that was actively supported by the Federation Council," the foreign minister continued. "[Federation Council Speaker] Valentina Matviyenko personally showed this initiative together with [Tajik] President Emomali Rahmon in Tajikistan during one of the visits. It is already being implemented and other states display interest in it. And we will actively spread it," he explained.
According to the Russian top diplomat, Moscow hopes that the neighbors will come to "comprehend the necessity of preserving the Russian language not because Russia wants it but because it substantially expands career and employment opportunities. "This is the track we will follow," he concluded.