By Paul Goble
Despite Vladimir Putin’s assertion that Russia must do everything possible to ensure the preservation and study of native languages, the Federal Agency for Nationality Affairs has now liquidated the Foundation for the Preservation and Study of Native Languages earlier created by Putin to do just that.
The foundation, which even the Federal Agency that took this step says has been doing a good job, will cease to exist and its functions will be transferred to bureaucracies within the Agency and the educational ministries (infocus.press/fond-izucheniya-rodnyh-yazykov-budet-likvidirovan-zayavlyayut-v-fadn/ and nazaccent.ru/content/36925-fond-sohraneniya-i-izucheniya-rodnyh-yazykov.html).
That will allow the government to save money, to “optimize” nationality policy, the Federal Agency says in taking this step. But it will simultaneously lower the priority given to saving non-Russian languages and ensure even greater bureaucratic control over all issues having to do with native language media and instruction.
As such, this action follows the same pattern the Kremlin has been using more broadly: blaming bureaucratic changes which have powerful political consequences on the need to save money, and proclaiming in the past and again now that the bureaucracy alone will do everything that is necessary. It doesn’t need cooperation with the population but only obedience.