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Historical mistake

Decision of the National Counsel regarding Ukrainian radio and television broadcast of programs only on the national language (Ukrainian) has been widely criticized in Russia.

Despite the fact that such decision has been made a week ago, Russian officials continue to comment the event.

Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov has stated Tuesday that Russia still counts on the fact that Ukraine will not completely ban broadcasting in Russian language; Russia also intends to reach mutual understanding in this matter with Ukrainian colleagues.

Chairman of the Federation Counsel Sergey Mironov in turn, considers the decision of the National Counsel a “historical mistake.” “I am sure Ukraine will cancel this decision in the nearest future,” stated Mironov.

On Wednesday, Russian State Duma passed a new bill of address to Ukrainian High Rada in which the Counsel's decision is referred to as “an attempt of the administrative expulsion and an official ban of Russian language in Ukraine,” which “ignores the fact of historical bilingual tradition of Ukrainian-Russian languages and violate human rights of Ukrainians themselves.”

The problem of exclusion of the Russian language from countries of the CIS appears to be rather critical nowadays. Authorities of the post Soviet era almost always tend to use such methods. They either totally restrict tele/radio broadcasting (as well as education) in Russian, or come up with new ways to limit the language use.

According to the information of the “RosBusinessConsulting” agency, a number of Russian schools is rapidly decreasing. For instance, only 29 of them are left in Azerbaijan and 463 in Moldavia. Ukrainian authorities  decided to leave only 1900 Russian schools of 40 000, Kirgiz authorities—138 of 2000, Georgian—59 of 171, Uzbek—159 from 760, Tajik—only 3 from 1500.

At this point, it would be reasonable to pose a logical question: what is Russia doing to stop the process? Does it attempt to change the situation for the better? Emotional proposals alone would not do any good.

Basically, Russia is also partially to blame for the existing crisis. For instance, there is a deficit of Russian textbooks in many countries of the CIS (only 10% of kids are equipped). Up until recently, “Cultural Initiative” fund sponsored by George Soros has been supplying libraries with Russian books. Perhaps due to the lack of finances or lack of interest, or both, but government officials were practically not involved at all.

However, it would be incorrect to claim that countries of the CIS completely lack financial means to support Russian language. The newly established federal program currently possesses $6 million USD. According to the ex-Minister of Education Vladimir Filippov, this will “enable us to create well-equipped language centers.” Overall, according to Filippov, Russian language along with Russian education is becoming more prestigious among the countries of the Commonwealth. Such statement was made in early March in Kirgiz capital Bishkek. Three weeks later, the country's parliament has passed a law “of the National language,” which basically banned the use of Russian as the country’s official second language.

One of the Kirgiz politicians stated the following in regards to the subject matter: “Do not threaten us that Russian-speaking people will leave. Let them leave!”
Well, perhaps those government officials who continue to “hope for the best” perceive the situation differently.

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