Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Russian becomes enemy language in former USSR

The Russian administration has decided to do everything possible to make Russian the official language in all countries of the former USSR (currently known as the Commonwealth of Independent States, CIS). However, the leaders of some of those countries are not eager to follow Russia at this point.

The idea to make the Russian language the official language on the post-Soviet space is not new. Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry started working on the subject in 2003.

“If a country decides to acknowledge Russia its official language then it is up to this country to elaborate necessary mechanisms for it,” a spokesman for the Institute of the CIS, Vladimir Zharikhin told

The specialist urged not to politicize the issue of the Russian language in post-Soviet states. “This is a humanitarian mission, first and foremost. Studying the Russian language and culture is one of the ways to become a part of world culture,” he said.

A spokesman for the Center of Strategic Research, Sergei Mikheyev, was more skeptic in his comments about the problem. “We remain on the declarative level of the Russian language status, as it was five years ago. The situation has only worsened during those years. Nationalist forces in some countries strive to distance themselves from Russia, its language and culture as much as possible. Like Viktor Yushchenko said – Russia ends where the Russian language ends,” Mikheyev told

Fore the time being, none of the countries of the former Soviet Union has agreed to acknowledge Russian its official language. In addition, nationalist movements in many of those countries try to get rid of the Russian language. People already start to forget it.

“Many young people do not speak and do not understand Russian. Russian can become an elite language in Georgia, which is a great misfortune,” the Russian Ambassador to Georgia, Vyacheslav Kovalenko said.

Speaking about Georgia, this country does not see any reason for its citizens to study Russian. Knowledge of Russia is not required for job seekers even at the companies owned by Russian entrepreneurs. However, it will be difficult for young Georgians to come to Russia or try to enter a Russian university.

If the situation continues to develop like that in the future, CIA organizations, Like GUAM for example, will have to acknowledge English its international communication language.

Armenia gradually forgets Russian too. Despite Armenia’s friendly ties with Russia, it was decided not to broadcast programs in the Russian language on Armenian TV channels.

As for Ukraine, about 50 percent of its population speaks Russian. The Ukrainian authorities have discussed the question of the Russian language on numerous occasions. However, President Yushchenko is not going to spend any funds to support the Russian language and culture in Ukraine.

Many guest workers from Central Asia, who come to Moscow or other cities of Russia for earnings, can hardly speak Russians. The governments of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are too busy with their economic problems to tackle the language problem.

It just so happens that studying Russian has become a person problem on the post-Soviet space. The number of Russian schools continues to decline, whereas the Russian-speaking population leaves. The former USSR seems to forget that language is a highly important part of the cultural code of a nation.

Ivan Shmelev

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov