Moscow Drops Plans for Foreign Language Requirement for Secondary School Graduation

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, Jan. 4, 2021)

To graduate from secondary schools, Russians will still have to pass tests in Russian; but they will not be required to do so in foreign languages like English, German, French, Spanish and Chinese, the education ministry has announced (

That change effectively ends the effort of former education minister, Olga Vasiliyeva, in 2017 to include them beginning in 2022, an effort that was opposed by the National Parents Committee, the All-Russian Peoples Front, and a number of deputies form the ruling United Russia Party (

These groups objected to the introduction of this requirement because they said it imposed undue burdens on children and distracted them from studying other, more fundamental subjects like mathematics and the sciences. At the very least, ending the requirement is likely to lead to a decline in the number of pupils studying languages.

Some commentators, however, suggest that the latest move is part of the Kremlin’s effort to isolate Russians from the rest of the world and most immediately to stem the exodus of educated young people from the country (

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