TRANSCRIPT: “Joint meeting of the Council for Culture and Art and the Council on the Russian Language”

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Kremlin.ru – Dec. 2, 2016) Vladimir Putin is chairing a joint meeting of the Council for Culture and Art and the Council on the Russian Language in St Petersburg. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, We have gathered today in St Petersburg, which has a very concentrated cultural programme these days. The International Cultural Forum is taking place […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Russian Literature and Language Society

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(Kremlin.ru – May 26, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in the plenary session of the Russian Literature and Language Society’s Congress. The Russian Literature and Language Society was established in 2016 to consolidate the efforts of scholars, teachers, cultural figures and the global public to preserve the leading role of Russian language and literature in educating young people, strengthening the […]

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Obscenities an Inalienable Part of Russian Language and Life, Expert Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 22, 2016) Russians today have an “ambiguous” attitude toward obscenities, a specialist on the Russian language says. “On the one hand, there is an official prohibition of their use” in the media and even a fine for cursing in public. But on the other, many public figures and even more ordinary […]

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Obscenities an Inalienable Part of Russian Language and Life, Expert Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 22, 2016) Russians today have an “ambiguous” attitude toward obscenities, a specialist on the Russian language says. “On the one hand, there is an official prohibition of their use” in the media and even a fine for cursing in public. But on the other, many public figures and even more ordinary […]

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Seven powerful politicians from around the world that speak Russian

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

Russian is considered one of the most difficult languages to learn yet there are many influential politicians around the world that have taken it up. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NATALIA MASHINISTOVA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – January 12, 2016) [Videos with Michael McFaul and Condoleezza Rice here: rbth.com/arts/lifestyle/2016/01/12/7-powerful-politicians-from-around-the-world-that-speak-russian_558729] Most Russian-speaking politicians live in former Soviet republics and other […]

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100 Million Fewer People Speak Russian Now than Did 25 Years Ago

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia Staunton, December 26, 2015) The number of people who speak Russian has declined by 100 million since 1989 or 27 percent, according to Leonid Slutsky, the chairman of the Duma committee on compatriots and Eurasian integration. (In 1989, 370 million said they spoke Russian; now, 270 million do.) But instead of seeing this as […]

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But why Russia?

Snowy Night on Red Square with Old St. Basil's Lit Up

Recent arrival in Moscow, Fraser Young, delves into the myths and legends that help give his adoptive new home such a mysterious allure. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – FRASER YOUNG , SPECIAL TO RBTH – October 27, 2015) Fraser Young is a recent graduate of Leeds University, where he studied History and Russian Language; he is an avid […]

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Crowdfunding Support for a Grassroots Organization [The American Home in Vladimir]

American Home in Vladimir, Logo; Adapted from Image © Serendipity-Russia American Home

Subject: Crowdfunding Support for a Grassroots Organization Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2015 02:15:13 -0500 From: Ron Pope <ron42.pope@gmail.com> THE ISSUE: The American Home in Vladimir has encountered an unusual obstacle. After years of cooperative relations with our organization, the current Vladimir City Administration has decided to invoke what we thought was an outdated clause in the 1992 contract governing the […]

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NEWSWATCH: How the Ukrainian Diaspora Sees the Homeland

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

[“Ukrainian Politics Abroad: How the Ukrainian Diaspora Sees the Homeland” – Foreign Affairs – foreignaffairs.com – Olena Lennon – March 17, 2015] Professor Olena Lennon, from the University of New Haven, writes on the experiences and attitudes of those of Ukrainian origin or heritage in the United States. Points of interest include perspectives on history, Russia, Europe, and the Russian and Ukrainian languages. The diaspora is distinctive in several […]

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The tricks of the trade: Helping students understand the Russian language

Russian Folk Singers file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Gleb Fedorov, RBTH – November 5, 2014) RBTH has surveyed the best Russian language teachers abroad about how they teach their students the language. They compare nouns to cats, infinitives to flour and even take their students to the bathhouse to drink mead – all in order for the Russian language not to […]

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RIA Novosti: The Ukrainian president will prevent the country’s split on the linguistic issue.

Ukraine Map and Flag

KIEV, November 9 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has stated on his Facebook page Sunday, he will not allow the division of the country on linguistic grounds, though he still intends to keep the Ukrainian language as the only state language. “After what we all have gone through and are going through this year, no one will ever […]

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Kyivans Now Speaking Ukrainian, Underlining Russia’s Loss of Ukraine, Mirsky Says

Maidan Square file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 2, 2014) In 1991, Ukrainians separated themselves “not from Russia but from Moscow,” as shown by the continuing willingness of most to speak Russian, historian Georgy Mirsky says. Indeed, at that time, “no one except Bandera supporters separated themselves off from Russia or from the Russian people.” But now, the Russian […]

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Harvard Study Shows Russian-speaking Ukrainians Backing Kyiv

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Voice of America – Doug Bernard – October 8, 2014) [Study here http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2501761. “Russia, Ukraine, and the West: Social Media Sentiment in the Euromaidan Protests”] A new study conducted at Harvard University suggests that Russian-speaking Ukrainians may be significantly more supportive of Kyiv’s standoff against Moscow and the pro-Russian separatists than has previously been reported. The study, authored by researcher […]

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Why study Russian? It’s not all politics

Russian Folk Singers file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Ivan Savvine, special to RBTH – September 10, 2014) Ivan Savvine is an art historian and writer as well as a teacher. He was raised in St. Petersburg. There is a popular belief that in the United States, interest in all things Russian and in particular Russian language peaks at times of crisis […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Why linguistic nuance is often the first casualty of media reporting

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Sergei Tseytlin, special to RBTH – September 8, 2014) Sergei Tseytlin is a freelance translator who also works for RBTH. Sergei Tseitlin was born in Moscow and grew up in New York. He has been living in Italy for last 16 years – first in Milan, then in Venice, and now he lives […]

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The collapse of the Soviet Union: What was it — the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century or simply a major disaster?

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

Subject: The collapse of the Soviet Union: What was it — the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century or simply a major disaster? [Adomeit’s second note] Date: Sun, 03 Aug 2014 From: Hannes Adomeit (hannes.adomeit@t-online.de) The collapse of the Soviet Union: What was it — the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century or simply a major disaster? Hannes […]

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AW: 2014-#166-Johnson’s Russia List [Adomeit’s first note][re: editorial policies, Putin, Soviet collapse, translation]

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Subject: AW: 2014-#166-Johnson’s Russia List [Adomeit’s first note] Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 From: Hannes Adomeit (hannes.adomeit@t-online.de) From a senior German Russia expert: I completely agree with the observation expressed in yesterday’s issue of the senior U.S. official and the senior U.S. academic about JRL’s loss of impartiality. The bias is also amply reflected in the inclusion of those poisonous […]

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language, again [re: Putin and Soviet collapse, translation]

Vladimir Putin file photo

Subject: language, again Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 From: Harley D. Balzer <balzerh@georgetown.edu> Patrick Armstrong issued a major attack on Aslund’s characterization of Putin’s comment about the destruction of the Soviet Union. He states: So it is now perhaps time to see what it was that Putin actually said. Here it is: first in Russian, “Прежде всего следует признать, что […]

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[Patrick Armstrong: re: Putin, Soviet Geopolitical Disaster:] DEADLY QUOTATIONS PART 2

Vladimir Putin file photo

From: Patrick Armstrong (gpa@magma.ca) Sent: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 Subject: DEADLY QUOTATIONS PART 2 A number of people have challenged my (and the official Kremlin translators’) choice of “a major” for “krupneyshey” in Putin’s famous sentence “Above all, we should acknowledge that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster of the century.” I stand by what I said: he did […]

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[Anders Åslund: re: Putin, Soviet Geopolitical Disaster:] RE: 2014-#166-Johnson’s Russia List/Patrick Armstrong

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

Subject: RE: 2014-#166-Johnson’s Russia List/Patrick Armstrong Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 19:31:4 From: Anders Aslund <AAslund@PIIE.COM> Dear David, Absurdly, Patrick Armstrong attacks me (JRL 166 #6) for translating Putin’s words “крушение Советского Союза было крупнейшей геополитической катастрофой века” with the words “the collapse of the Soviet Union was the biggest geopolitical disaster of the century.” Well, that is how it […]

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Poroshenko: Ukrainian will remain sole state language in Ukraine

Maidan Square file photo

(Interfax – July 3, 2014) Proposed constitutional amendments stipulate that Ukrainian will remain the sole state language in Ukraine, the country’s President Petro Poroshenko said in parliament on Thursday. “We have delivered on our promise to give additional powers in language issues to local authorities. Article 10 of the Constitution remains unchanged – Ukrainian is the one-and-only state language in […]

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The Russian language in Ukraine: Cultural bridge or divide

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yulia Kudinova, special to RBTH – April 24, 2014) As Ukraine is tearing itself apart, it is also facing an artificially fuelled competition between Russian and Ukrainian, two languages that are nevertheless linguistically very similar. Benjamin Franklin once wrote: “Tongue double brings trouble”. That saying might have resonated with the members of Ukraine’s […]

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Language and Culture Not History ‘Main Unifying Factors’ for Russians, Valdai Club Says

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 24, 2014) The Russian language and Russian culture are today “the main unifying factor[s]” for the citizens of the Russian Federation, unlike history which continues to be a source of divisions given that different groups have different understandings of past events, according to the Valdai International Discussion Club. The Moscow Higher […]

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New Law Requires Knowledge of Russian For Residency

Migrant Workers file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 22, 2014) President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill that requires foreigners to prove their ability to speak Russian while also giving his seal of approval to a separate bill that will make it easier to grant citizenship to Russian-speakers in former Soviet states. The new immigration rules for foreign citizens, published […]

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RIA Novosti: Kiev Regime Backs Up on Russian Language Ban

Maidan Square file photo

KIEV, April 17 (RIA Novosti) – Ukrainian authorities are open to discussing granting Russian the status of an official language in the country’s southeastern regions, the acting head of the ruling political party in parliament said Thursday. “We will regulate this issue in a law that will stipulate the right of regions with a large proportion of a minority population […]

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Ukraine PM says authorities against abolishing language law

Maidan Square file photo

DONETSK. April 11 (Interfax) – Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has said that the country’s new authorities have no plans to abolish the July 3, 2012 law that regulates Ukraine’s language policy. “No one is going to abolish the Kolesnychenko-Kyvalov law,” Yatsenyuk said during a visit to the Donetsk region on Friday. “It is a law that advocates the interests […]

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Ukraine abolishes law on languages of minorities, including Russian

(Interfax – February 23, 2014) Ukraine’s Verkhovna has abolished the law on the foundations of the state language policy adopted on July 3, 2012, by 232 out of 334 votes. In July 2012 Verkhovna Rada passed the law initiated by the Party of Regions. In August Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych signed it into law and bound the Cabinet to set […]

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The 10 most well-known Russian words

Map of Russia

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexey Mikheev, special to RBTH  – January 30, 2014) Words like vodka and Kalashnikov are know around the world. But how many people realize that they come from the Russian language? Russian actively borrows words from other languages, mainly English. But there are also Russian words that travel in the opposite direction and […]

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Ten more well-known Russian words

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexey Mikheev, special to RBTH – February 20, 2014) Following the publication of my earlier piece “The 10 most well-known Russian words”, readers have responded with suggestions of more Russian words that have become known and used internationally. So in response to these requests I have written about them too. Babushka In Russian, […]

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Translation challenges the brightest minds

Leo Tolstoy file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Phoebe Taplin, special to RBTH – January 14, 2014) Top translators of Tolstoy and Pelevin talk to RBTH about misunderstandings, cultural differences and how not to get lost in translation.   Each year scores of books are translated from Russian to English. This year has seen publications in a range of genres, from […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian Language Losing Popularity Abroad – Official

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

MOSCOW, December 14 (RIA Novosti) ­ The number of Russian speakers worldwide has declined by about 120 million people in the past 20 years, a senior Russian government official said Friday. Measures to boost the popularity of Russian have been insufficient to reverse this decline, according to Benjamin Kaganov, deputy minister of education and science. He told a conference in […]

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Interfax: Most migrants come to Russia in visa-free travel regime, many don’t speak Russian

Migrant Workers file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 20 (Interfax) – A third of migrant workers do not speak Russian, Federal Migration Service head Konstantin Romodanovsky said. “We are witnessing a surge in the arrivals of migrants from CIS member countries. As of now, 11.1 million foreigners are staying in Russia, and almost three-quarters of them enjoy the visa-free travel regime,” he told a roundtable in […]

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Bishop: ethnic Russians discriminated against in south Russia

Church Domes with Crosses file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 31 (Interfax) – A senior Russian Orthodox bishop has claimed that Russian speakers “often suffer ethnic and religious discrimination” in regions in Russia’s North Caucasus where they are in the minority. “We are used to thinking that it is only smaller ethnic groups that need protection. That is not true. In many of the republics (of Russia), Russians […]

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RIA Novosti: Bribery, Arrests Among Language Topics in Textbook for Migrants

Migrant Workers file photo

MOSCOW, October 30 (RIA Novosti) ­ “Why are you arresting me?” “Isn’t it just easier to give money to the policeman?” “What do you do if the police beat you?” Practice conversations in a special Russian language-learning textbook ­ handed out at an experimental new cultural integration center for migrants ­ focus on topics considered most relevant to guest workers […]

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Over Half of Ukrainians Oppose Russian as State Language – Poll

File Photo of Ukrainians with Ukrainian Flag in Public Square Near Tower with Golden Dome

(RIA Novosti – KIEV, October 16, 2013) ­ More than a half of Ukrainians are against the idea of making Russian the country’s second state language, according to a survey released by an independent Ukrainian pollster on Wednesday. Sociological Group “Rating” said 43 percent of respondents are in favor of the idea, while 51 percent are against. Five percent said […]

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Roofs and bottle caps: Deciphering Russian slang

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexey Mikheev, special to RBTH – September 19, 2013) Matryoshka, kolhkoz, sputnik, perestroika­all of these original and untranslatable words have been borrowed in other languages from Russian at one time in history or another. This happened recently with another Russian word­krysha­in English. The word krysha itself is not new and simply means “roof.” […]

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Is Russian as difficult to learn as they say?

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexandra Kulikova, special to RBTH – September 17, 2013) Renowned polyglot, interpreter, psycholinguist and TV host Dmitry Petrov talks about the incentives for learning the Russian language. RBTH: What is the role of psychology in foreign language learning? Dmitry Petrov (D.P.): Learning a new language is about both psychology and mathematics. A range […]

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Russia’s Soft-Power Agency Is Allocated More Funds.

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

(RIA Novosti- MOSCOW, July 24, 2013) Russia has allocated significant spending power to Rossotrudnichestvo, Moscow’s vehicle for promoting its influence abroad, as part of an apparent drive to improve the country’s image, according to a decree published on the government’s website Wednesday. Federal money has been redirected from the Foreign Ministry, formerly responsible for the financial support of Russians living […]

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Facilitating Learning Russian

Russian Folk Singers file photo

Date: Sun, 21 Jul 2013 Subject: Facilitating Learning Russian From: Ron Pope <ron42.pope@gmail.com> The current (July 29) issue of Time magazine has an article entitled “The Power of the Bilingual Brain” that presents a powerful case for encouraging every child with a connection to Russia — the children of emigres and adopted Russians – -to learn what could have been […]

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Russian Language Second Most Popular on the Internet

File Photo of Little Russian Girl at Laptop Next to Globe

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 25, 2013) Russian became the second most frequently used language on the Internet in 2013, having passed Germany by a narrow margin, according to a report by analytical company W3 Techs. The company counted the number of sites in each language regardless of the number of hits the sites get, Vedomosti reported Friday. The […]

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136 National Languages Now at Risk in Russia, UNESCO Says

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, March 22, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/03/window-on-eurasia-136-national.html) Some 136 national languages of the Russian Federation are at or already beyond “the edge of extinction,” according to UNESCO. Many of these languages are subgroups of others, but the danger of disappearance exists for groups as large as Avars, Bashkirs and Chechens. According to the United […]

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Russia’s indigenous languages at risk of dying out

Map of Russia

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – March 17, 2013) Around 250 languages are spoken in Russia, including Russian, which is spoken by some 150 million people. Russian, along with several Turkic-based languages, is doing fine. However, the linguistic situation for many lost tribes and Small Indigenous People in Russia is far more  Dmitry Sukhodolsky, special to RBTH Russia’s many […]

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Putin’s Nationality Policy Won’t Work as He Intends

Migrant Workers file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, February 20, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/02/window-on-eurasia-putins-nationality.html) Both the five specific planks of his nationality policy that Vladimir Putin outlined yesterday and problems underlying his entire approach to this issue guarantee that the Russian president will offend both Russians and non-Russians and produce the very outcome he says he is trying to avoid ­ […]

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Diaspora Youths Sold on Russian, but not Russia

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Lena Smirnova – Dec. 14, 2012) Members of the diaspora who gathered in Moscow on Thursday for the Forum of Russian Compatriots welcomed President Vladimir Putin’s recent edict to support remote Russian language-learning amid efforts in their home countries to limit the status of their mother tongue. However, attendees also voiced doubts that the language […]

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