Azerbaijan ’s Administration Mai ntains Russian Language’s Level

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Thu May 24 13:53:30 UTC 2007

Azerbaijan's Administration Maintains Russian Language's Level
  23-05-2007 15:09:04
Russia, Moscow / corr Trend R.Agayeva /
During a press conference in Moscow at the press centre of the RussianForeign Ministry, Alexander Chepurin, head of the Department on Workwith Compatriots Residing Abroad at the Russian Foreign Ministryreported to the Trend correspondent that Azerbaijan has manynewspapers published in Russian which is not impeded by anyone, theeducation of the Russian in schools and colleges is on a good leveland the administration of the country supports this trend. We do nothave any problems in this connection, in fact we are pleased and thistotally meets the interests of Russia.
He noted that the population of Azerbaijan comprises about 9mlnpeople, with 180,000 (1.5-2%) of them being Russian orRussian-speaking (non-ethnic Azerbaijani). Chepurin mentioned thatdespite the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijan very graciouslyagreed to hold a conference of regional compatriots in theTranscaucasia attended by Armenian representatives as well. The event,in his opinion, was held on the highest level. "Mr. Aliyev received usa week ago on the occasion of the conference and during 40 minutesinformed us of the situation with the Russian language in Azerbaijan.Then he defined our nationalities by the accent," Chepurin said.
With regards to the obligatory teaching of Russian to migrants,Chepurin noted that the matter was on the agenda, but it was ratherspecific and is considered mainly by the Russian Federal MigrationService. "It is too late to speak of the plans regarding itsimplementation," Chepurin stated. Chepurin reported that the onlycountry where Russian was considered a state language was Belarus, andin Latvia, for instance, it is regarded as a foreign language.According to the statistics quoted by him, 17-18 mln Russians andRussian-speaking people reside in the 'near abroad' (former Sovietcountries), and 10-11 mln reside in 'far abroad' ( Germany, Israel,France etc.). The Russian population in those countries mentioned havegradually decreased due to them returning to Russia. Thus, over 30% ofthe population in Kazakhstan and Ukraine is Russian, 3% in Estonia andLatvia, 5-10% in Uzbekistan and Lithuania, 10% in Kyrgyzstan, Moldovaand Belarus, 1% in Tajikistan, 0,5% in Armenia and Turkmeni!
 stan. TwoCIS countries, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, have one Russian schooleach.
"We are concerned about the policy pursued by several 'near abroad'countries to reduce the Russian language, the Russian-languageeducation and record-keeping in the language," Chepurin said. He addedthat Russian businesses either do not support, or inefficientlysupports the idea of the Russian language. "There area many Russiansand Russian-speaking affluent people in Baltic countries andKazakhstan. But I have not heard any of them organizing a concert orany other cultural event. Apparently, we do not provide for moralpromotion," Chepurin stressed.
The Russian President announced that 2007 will be a Russian LanguageYear. The policy intended assist in the language is carried out by thecorresponding Department at the Foreign Ministry of the country incompliance with three main programs. The activities are carried out ona regional level as well. "The Russian Abroad Centre, Houses ofRussia, cultural centres and other organizations function abroad. Weare going to issue an encyclopaedia with about 300 most famouspersonalities, to publish books in Russian in all countries, showdocumentaries and feature films, establish 200 Russian libraries indifferent countries and so on. All this is financed by special stateprograms," he stressed.
He noted that Russia was interested in drawing back the compatriotsfrom abroad. However, this cannot be compulsory. "At present theRussian Embassies are engaged in the registration of those who wish tomove to Russia. That is mainly Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, andTurkmenistan. They can, however, only move into 12 of the regions,"Chepurin said. A large conference on the status of the Russianlanguage in 'near and far abroad' countries will be held in Moscow on29-30 May with the participation of corresponding officials andexperts. The conference will be opened by the Chairman of thegovernmental commission, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov.
On 4 June, 2007 "К- 3", Media-Holding and the AzerRos companies willhold the 'Russian Migration Service: Application, Trends andProspects' international conference under the auspices of the RussianFederal Migration Service's Moscow and Moscow Region Department.
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