Russia bans non-Cyrillic alphabets?

Johanna Laakso johanna.laakso at
Tue Nov 19 08:01:04 UTC 2002

Dear Uralists,

while forwarding a message from Michael Everson (<everson at>,
below) and sincerely sympathizing with his concern for the non-Cyrillic
languages of Russia, I may add some comforting clarifications that appeared
on the UGRIMUGRI and URAL-LISTA lists during the weekend: the new amendment
concerns "state languages", not "official/legally secured languages", and as
Karelian and Veps do not have a state language status, they will not be
affected. There also seems to be a lot of confusion as to how and where the
law will be enforced.

But, of course, it is difficult not to see this as an example of terrifying
national chauvinism and political silliness combined...

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Johanna Laakso
Institut für Finno-Ugristik der Universität Wien
Universitätscampus, Spitalg. 2-4 Hof 7, A-1090 Wien
Tel. +43 1 4277 43009 | Fax +43 1 4277 9430
johanna.laakso at |


This is pretty horrifying. Are Karelian and Veps expected to use
Cyrillic now? Of course it is unenforceable, and directed at Tatars
and Chechens. But it shows just how much silliness we can experience
when politicians think they can do anything about language....

"Duma outlaws Roman alphabet."
Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *

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