June 6, the birthday of the great Russian poet A.S. Pushkin, Russia celebrates Russian Language Day. More than 260 million inhabitants of the planet speak Russian, its significance for world culture is really invaluable. But the Russian language also has problems today, especially in the former republics of the USSR.
Russian language and political influence of Russia
The spread of the Russian language in Eurasia was carried out after the political expansion of the Russian state. The inclusion of vast territories in Russia in the Volga region and in the Urals, Siberia and the Far East, Central Asia and the Caucasus led to the transformation of the Russian language into the true language of interethnic communication in a significant part of the entire Eurasian space.
However, the Russian language also faced numerous obstacles, including those actively stimulated from outside: the enemies of the Russian state in the West and East rightly saw in the spread of the Russian language the strengthening of Russia's political influence and did everything possible to “tear” entire regions from the world of Russian culture.
A great opportunity for de-Russification came after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The linguistic issue has acquired even more acute political significance, as local nationalist elites in the former Soviet republics began to do everything possible to erase the “Russian trace” in stories their new states. Of course, the most important cultural influence was not in the monuments, not in the names of streets and cities, but in the massive use of the Russian language. Almost all the former union republics have embarked on a path of de-Russification to one degree or another.
At present, the official status of the official language of the Russian language is preserved, in addition to the Russian Federation, only in Belarus (along with the Belarusian language), as well as in the partially recognized Republic of South Ossetia (along with the Ossetian language), in the unrecognized Transnistrian Moldavian Republic (along with the Moldavian and in Ukrainian), in the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (along with the Ukrainian language). Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Abkhazia retained the status of the official language of state institutions in the Russian language, and Tajikistan - the status of the language of interethnic communication.
Derusification as an attempt to free oneself from Russian heritage
The refusal to use the Russian language as an official language for most post-Soviet republics meant only one thing - a gradual break with the world of Russian culture and Russian history. Especially glaring is the attempt to abandon the Russian language in Ukraine, where more than half of the country's population speaks it in everyday life. But the position of the Central Asian republics is also interesting.
For example, in Uzbekistan, where Russian is now only one of the foreign languages, firstly, a significant part of the national wealth consists of translations of migrant workers working in Russia, and secondly, Russian remains the real language of everyday communication of the non-Uzbek part of the population.
For residents of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and a number of other post-Soviet republics, the level of proficiency in the Russian language is largely decisive for employment in Russia. It is no coincidence that the prestige of the few already Russian-speaking schools in Uzbekistan or Tajikistan is so high: nationalist demagogy does not prevent local elites from giving their children to these schools.
Unfortunately, for a long time, the Russian government has removed itself from solving the problems of the Russian language outside of Russia. Even now, despite the more active foreign policy of Moscow, the Russian language in the post-Soviet space is losing its position. Portraying loyalty to Moscow, the same Emomali Rahmon set the tone for rejecting Russian endings of surnames. And recently, the lower house of the Tajik parliament banned Russian suffixes in the middle names. Now they will not be entered in birth certificates. There is no logical explanation for this decision, except terry nationalism: in Russia, for example, non-Russian citizens of the country are not forced to Russify the endings of last names or patronymic names (how many Azerbaijani patronymics are “-gly” or “-kizi, for example).
The big problem was attempts to Latinize national languages, abandoning the Cyrillic alphabet that came with the Russian language. As a result, in Uzbekistan, the Uzbek language now exists in Latin and Cyrillic versions, which completely confuses the very same Uzbek youth in learning it.
In the once fraternal Ukraine, the use of the Russian language meets an equally fierce reaction of nationalists. Moreover, in Ukraine, the attitude to the language issue is even more attentive, since it is the language factor that plays an important role in the construction of the Ukrainian political nation: it is necessary to force the “Russian” Ukrainians to abandon the Russian language, and then self-consciousness will leave with one or two generations.
The Ukrainian scenario in a milder version will sooner or later begin to run in Belarus. Now, while Alexander Lukashenko is in power, the Russian language retains the status of the second state language, but what will happen next, especially if the political vector of Minsk is shifted? After all, Ukraine easily forgot about the tens of millions of Russian-speaking citizens of the country, which, incidentally, are not only Russians, but also the same Ukrainians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Jews, Tatars and others, and launched a campaign against the Russian language. Unfortunately, Moscow’s reaction to what is happening with the Russian language outside of Russia leaves much to be desired.