Moscow Disbands Foundation For Preservation Of Native Languages – OpEd


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 ( and

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.

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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