The Record of Communist Language Policy

Ronald Kephart rkephart at
Tue Oct 7 23:44:08 UTC 2008

On 10/7/08 2:07 PM, "Harold Schiffman" <hfsclpp at> wrote:

> First of all, the USSR was the first country on Earth to set a standard for a
> nationalities policy. The policy called for linguistic and cultural autonomy
> for all USSR nationalities.

I studied Russian in the late 1960s and I remember learning about this. As I
recall, Russian was taught to everyone, but actual education, especially at
the primary level, was carried out in the local languages. When I traveled
to Europe in the summer of 1968 I managed to communicate with people from
Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia using Russian, which they had all
studied. The response I usually got was something like "nobody would expect
you to study Czech, but at least you have the gumption to study a Salvic
language; good for you!"


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