La Rivista per l'insegnamento e l'apprendimento delle lingue


Russian in the post-Soviet sphere or: why some languages are more equal than others

Recent events in Ukraine have once again shown the need to recognize language minorities, highlighting the deficits of post-Soviet nation building and the simplified image of local Russian speakers as politically backward impersonations of a failed empire. The initiative adopted by the Ukrainian parliament to repeal the official status of Russian and other local minority languages in regions with at least ten percent of speakers in February this year came as no surprise, yet it contributed to the disintegration of the country and the alienation of the Russian-speaking population. Although policymakers in Kiev realized that this was no smart move at all and did not implement it, it shows the conflicting nature of the equation of national languages and cultural identity in societies that are in fact multilingual. Multilingualism and Russian in particular did not come by chance to most former Soviet Republics and those who speak it often do so because they or their ancestors migrated from other parts of the former USSR. […]

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