Serbian mass media report today that deputies of the parliament have submitted a draft “Declaration on the Cyrillic alphabet protection” for consideration of Skupstine. The initiative was caused by the fact that Roman letters are more frequently used in Serbia and Montenegro, which actively forces out the original Serbian written language, the Cyrillic alphabet.
Radio Jugoslavija reports, renunciation of the original written language means reluctance of the society “to preserve its cultural values and national identity.” Deputies who initiated the declaration think it is a mistake to believe that the Serbian nation will be closer to other nations when it loses its face. Even if Serbs are not Serbs any more, this doesn’t mean at all that they will be welcomed by the West.
Professor Risto Trajkovic, one of the authors of the declaration says: “Nations are defined by their traditions, written and spoken languages. Serbian national traditions and customs are getting more and more obsolete and archaic for us. The language borrows more and more foreign words, Serbian literature and written language are dying away. Together with them, the nation itself is disappearing from the historical scene. Switching of our alphabet to the Roman letters is consequence of a common tendency, the universal globalization.”
Belgrade’s newspaper, Borba, reminds that in accordance with the Serbian Constitution, the Cyrillic alphabet is to be officially used in the country, while it is equal in rights with the Roman alphabet in Montenegro. Despite this fact, the Roman alphabet predominates in different spheres: in the administration, in names of companies and brands, road signs, in school textbooks, not to mention the Serbian media.
At the same time, the Serbian government, Academy of Sciences and mass media take no measures to protect the Cyrillic alphabet. The Declaration is designed to remind the governmental authorities that the Constitution should be observed in the country, it is to draw attention of the people, the youth first of all, to the problem of the Serbian language’s dying-out. Authors of the Declaration advance a slogan: “Restitution of the Cyrillic alphabet is return to our origins.”
Russian magazine Echo of the Planet published in its fourth issue this year: “The Serbian language is currently Europe’s only that equally uses two alphabets. Book and newspapers, textbooks and hand-books, maps and inscriptions on cans are in both languages. The Cyrillic alphabet is older, the Roman alphabet came to the Balkans later, however, it is actively advancing. Unfortunately, Serbs are not so much interested now in study of the Russian cultural heritage, Russian language. Young people dream of making career in the West and study English, German, Italian, not Russian.”
Since break-up of the Soviet Republic of Yugoslavia, and further of Milosevic’s Republic of Yugoslavia, Serbs set their main hopes on the West, not Russia. At the same time, it is painful for Russia to see what is going on in Yugoslavia because the same negative tendencies are currently obvious in this country as well.