On Wednesday the Federation Council (Upper House of the Russian Parliament) has approved amendments to the law "On the Languages of the Peoples of the Russian Federation," which recognise Cyrillic as a single alphabetic graphic base for Russia's official language and the official languages of its republics.
According to Federation Council First Deputy Chairman on the Federal Affairs and Regional Policy Valery Kadokhov, "the introduced bill fills in the gap in the legislation, preventing cases of non-coordination in the field of state governing, economy and information due to the difference in written languages." The law is called upon to register "the existing uniformity of print for writing official and business documents", Kadohov noted.
Heated debate accompanied the Federation Council hearings on the amendments to the law on the languages of the Russian peoples. Despite the fact that the Upper House ad hoc committee pronounced in favor of the bill, representative of Tatarstan Rafgat Altynbayev opposed the amendments. He believes that "the law contradicts the Constitution which states that the Republics are entitled to institute their own official language." Karelia's representative also spoke against the law saying that the Constitution of the Russian Federation grants the right to preserve and learn native languages. He added that Cyrillic lacks certain characters used by some Russian peoples. According to him, "the adoption of the law will destroy native languages." Utmurtiya's representative Victor Shudegov spoke in favor of the law. He believes that the law does not infringe upon the rights of the Russian peoples. Vice versa "it protects native languages constitutionally." He warned those who oppose the introduced bill that a whole generation which knows only the graphic basics of Cyrillic will have to re-learn, and, as a result, young people will not be able to write or read.
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