New Straits Times

Strengthen­ing Russian language for eternity

- The writer, writing from Russia, is a former lecturer at University Malaya

ALTHOUGH the use of the Russian language in Russia can be said to be quite satisfacto­ry, the government is taking steps to strengthen its status.

In 2000, the Russian Language Council, with the status of a government body, was establishe­d. And in 2003, the Law on Russian as the National Language was passed by Parliament.

According to the law on the use of Russian as the official language, government employees are prohibited from using abusive and swear words, as well as words from foreign languages, if a correspond­ing word exists in Russian.

The Russian Language Council also establishe­d an integrated programme for the Russian language, published the 20-volume

Russian Academic Dictionary, and improved the teaching of the Russian language and literature in schools and institutio­ns of higher education.

It disseminat­ed Russian abroad by strengthen­ing the status of Russian as one of the official languages of a former Soviet Union republic, and it is generally presented as a useful foreign language, including in Malaysia.

The integrated programme is in its implementa­tion stage.

A website that includes an online informatio­n service, visited daily by 10,000 people, and two magazines — Mir Russkogo Slova (World of Russian Words) and Russky Yazik Za Rubezom (Russian Abroad) — were published.

On the TV channel Culture, a programme called “In What Language Do We Speak?” has been introduced, while radio channel Ekho Moskvi (Echo of Moscow) introduced two programmes related to the Russian language, namely “How to Pronounce It Right?” and “We Speak Russian”. Another radio station, Radio Rossii (Radio Russia), introduced a programme called “From Russian to Russian”.

There is an opinion that the Russian language, with a rich history of literature, has long been challenged, and doubts arise about its ability to survive and preserve its identity without the interventi­on of the authoritie­s, as it continues to absorb foreign words.

Linguistic norms are always challenged in every language — eventually, in this way, the language evolves.

Critics of the decline of linguistic culture should not forget that more people can now speak in public compared with the Soviet era, and that may be more important than the decline of the culture of speech.

But, of course, it is also important that the main norms of the language are tightly controlled. We use language like breathing

air, without paying attention to it. And what we use every day, without which we cannot live, in joy or sorrow, should be respected, cherished and loved.

Finally, the attitude towards the national language is reflected in people’s patriotic attitude. The preservati­on of the purity of the national language strengthen­s national unity.

Consider the words of Russian poet Anna Akhmatova (18891966), which reads like an oath:

We know what is now on history’s scales,

What is, in the world, going now.

The hour of courage shew our clock’s hands.

Our courage will not bend its


None fears to die under the bullet’s siege,

None bitters to lose one’s home here, -As long as we could preserve you, O great Russian speech,

O Russian great word, we all bear,

We’ll carry you out, clear and free, as a wave,

Give you to our heirs, and from slavery save. Forever!

Based on this poem, may the national language survive for eternity. I think this is the way for every other national language, isn’t it?

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 ?? POGADAEV PIC BY DR VICTOR A. ?? Students studying Russian at Universiti Malaya during the writer’s lectures in 2015.
POGADAEV PIC BY DR VICTOR A. Students studying Russian at Universiti Malaya during the writer’s lectures in 2015.

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