Moscow to Boost Russian Language in CIS and Baltic Countries

Moscow intends to boost Russian as an international language in former Soviet countries, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said at a session of the International and Economic Consultative Board that includes the Russian Federation constituent members under Russia's Foreign Ministry.

The session considered what assistance could be rendered to Russian compatriots in the CIS and Baltic countries.

The Russian Minister pointed to consistent efforts to bring the CIS legislation in line with international standards on the rights of transnational minorities.

Igor Ivanov said that Russia's policy was based on the notion that any state that adhered to principles of democracy and human rights should prevent language and ethnic discrimination, limitation of civil, social, economic and other rights of non-titular nations.

Igor Ivanov recalled that this year the federal budget had allocated 210 million roubles (about 7 million dollars) to finance assistance programmes. Moreover, in 2002 Russian-language schools were provided with about 1,000,000 books, videos and software through Russia's Embassies in the CIS and Baltic countries.

Igor Ivanov said that last year our CIS and Baltic compatriots who wanted to obtain higher education in Russia won 925 state scholarships, and the number is double this year.

The Russian Minister pointed out that great attention should be paid to the Kazakh president's proposal to set up a foundation within the CIS framework to boost the Russian language in the CIS countries.