[lg policy] Armenian Minister Quells Fears of Russian Language Expansion

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Thu Sep 28 10:42:21 EDT 2017

 Armenian Minister Quells Fears of Russian Language Expansion
Sep 26, 2017 — 06:40
— Update: Sep. 26 2017 — 11:36
Alexanyan / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Following an uproar over the Culture Ministry’s decision to bolster Russian
language programs in Armenian schools, Armenia’s Education Minister said
that Russian will remain a foreign language in Armenia.

“The only official language in Armenia is and will remain the Armenian
language, since we are an independent, sovereign state,” Levon Mkrtchyan
told <http://tass.ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/4589152> the state-run TASS
news agency on Monday. “This is an axiomatic truth, all other languages are

Mkrtchyan’s comments came in the wake of an ongoing controversy after the
Armenian Culture Ministry published its plan on Sept. 11 to adopt a new
policy that would improve Russian-language education in Armenian schools.

The Ministry’s announcement was reportedly met with heavy criticism over
fears the policy would threaten the Armenian language’s status.

In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian service, Armenian activist David
Sanasaryan said <https://rus.azatutyun.am/a/28742787.html> that Russia has
always been clear in its intentions to spread Russian throughout
post-Soviet countries.

Armenian officials, the activists said, “speak about the indispensability
of the Armenian language, but [their actions] start to subvert, to weaken
the positions of the Armenian language.”

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the number of Russian speakers has
decreased by about 50 million, the chairman of Russia’s State Duma
Committee for Education and Science Vyacheslav Nikonov was cited
<http://www.interfax.ru/russia/576720> as saying by the Interfax news
agency on Aug. 28.
Russian Language on the Decline Thanks to English, Says Officia

To counter the decline, Nikonov called
<http://www.interfax.ru/russia/576720> for an expansion of the Eurasian
Economic Union (EEU) and an increase in educational programs abroad.
Armenia is one of five countries belonging to the EEU.

Despite the Russian language’s widespread use in Armenia, Russian “has not
had any official status so far,” Mkrtchyan added.

The minister stressed the importance of the measure by highlighting that
Russian is the most commonly-spoken language in Armenia, is the language
of the EEU, and the language of Armenia’s scientific institutions.


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