[lg policy] Russia: New Council to Promote Russian Language Abroad

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Thu Nov 7 15:24:51 UTC 2013


New Council to Promote Russian Language Abroad
07 November 2013 | Issue 5250
The Moscow Times

The Cabinet has formed a new council to promote the Russian language
abroad, allocating a 1.5 billion ruble ($46 million) budget to fund
the opening of linguistic centers in dozens of countries around the world.

Prime Minister Dmitry
Medvedev<http://www.themoscowtimes.com/mt_profile/dmitry_medvedev/433765.html>
signed
an order on Tuesday establishing the council to "help fulfill
the government's policy aimed at popularizing the Russian language,
supporting and developing it," the Cabinet said on its website.

Among the council's tasks will be the opening of Pushkin Institute
linguistic centers in about 50 countries, including former Soviet
republics, Europe, the U.S., China, Japan, Syria, Iraq and several other
Middle Eastern nations, news reports said.

The new council will be headed by social policy chief Olga
Golodets<http://www.themoscowtimes.com/mt_profile/olga_golodets/459422.html>,
her spokesman Alexei Levchenko said.

The spokesman said some of the Russian language centers overseas may be
free, while some may charge tuition, and one of the first centers to open
under the project will be based in Paris, Izvestia reported.

Levchenko added that popularizing the Russian language is "one of the
instruments of promoting the country through soft power, as opposed
to rockets and weapons," Kommersant said.

Russian language councils existed in the country in the 1990s to the
mid-2000s, mostly to help Russians speak and write their native language
properly.

The last Cabinet council, established by then-Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin in 1997, called for "popularizing knowledge about the Russian
language through the media."

One of its major accomplishments was the creation of the literacy website
Gramota.ru in 2000, to explain both the basics and many of the trickiest
issues of the language's arcane spelling and punctuation rules.

A member of the Kremlin's international relations council, Vladimir Zorin,
said that the language council was part of President Vladimir
Putin<http://www.themoscowtimes.com/mt_profile/vladimir_putin/432538.html>'s
national development strategy through 2025.

"If people know more about the Russian language, culture, our mentality,
this by itself would help improve the image of our country abroad," Zorin
told newspaper Vzglyad.

Vyacheslav Nikonov, head of the Russian World foundation and the State
Duma's educational committee, said that the number of Russian speakers
around the world has shrunk by 50 million people in recent years,
and though the creation of a council was a good idea, its budget of 1.5
billion rubles was insufficient.

"That's less than the budget of Rossotrudnichestvo" collaboration agency,
Nikonov said, according to Izvestia. "And this certainly doesn't match
the scope of the problems that need to be solved."


Read more:
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/new-council-to-promote-russian-language-abroad/489058.html#ixzz2jyQxnb9q

The Moscow Times

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