Language Problems as Viewed by Russians: Actualization and New Contexts
Keywords:language policy, language conflict, all-Russian identity, education, Russian republics
The article analyzes the modern problems related to the recent language policies and practices in Russia. The study is based on the data from a nationwide survey of a representative sample conducted by VCIOM and commissioned by the Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs, as well as materials of sociological studies carried out by the Center for the Study of Inter-Ethnic Relations (Russian Academy of Sciences) in Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and Sakha (Yakutiya). The paper actualizes the issues related to the status of the ethnic Russians and the Russian language in social and political context and shows that in terms of all-Russian civic identity the Russian language is crucial to almost half of Russians, being second only to the state in general. The author concludes that the Russian language as an essential part of the all-Russian civic identity is more important to the ethnic Russians than to people of other ethnicities, and strengthening its positions within the legal framework can have an unsettling impact on interethnic accord. In terms of language contradictions in education the article reveals that voluntary study of a republic’s state languages is a dominant setting in the views of Russian citizens, and it was examined for the first time using a Russian nationwide sample.
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