The Role of Russian Increasing

Times of Central Asia , Kyrgyzstan
March 12 2004

The Role of Russian Increasing

BISHKEK (TCA). Between March 4 and 6 Bishkek hosted the international
congress, “Russian language in the community of the CIS peoples.”
Organized at the initiative of Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev, the
forum gathered more than 400 specialists in Russian philology,
scholars, educators and public figures from Armenia, Azerbaijan,
Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Russia, Tajikistan, and
Ukraine. For the first time, a forum of this kind took place in a
Central Asian country. In the past, similar congresses were held in
Moscow, Warsaw, Berlin, and Prague.

“Each language is unique and thirsts for recognition,” Kyrgyz writer
Chingiz Aitmatov said in his welcome speech to the congress
participants. “But, following our traditions and developing our
language, we must never forget about the people and language that
have helped us to come out of medieval darkness. For this reason we
will save, protect, use, and cultivate Russian language as one of the
greatest values of the Kyrgyz nation.”

The development of the Russian language is not only an economic
priority, but also an important political task for Kyrgyzstan,
President Askar Akayev said at the opening ceremony for the congress.
In his words, the Russian language has never lost its position in
Kyrgyzstan and is protected by the Kyrgyz Constitution as an official
language. The President said that Kyrgyzstan lives in the information
space of the Russian language. Russian is the language of about 100
newspapers and several large television and radio channels in

“I wish to destroy the myths concerning the passing of the law on the
state language of the Kyrgyz Republic,” the head of state said. “The
role of Russian language is increasing in all spheres of cooperation
in the entire Eurasian space, and refusal from its use would be a
mistake and irreplaceable loss. We will never choose this way.”

Russian is the means of communication and preservation of close
spiritual relationships. Unfortunately, many people today have to
protect their natural right for the native language. This was stated
in the address of Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, to
the congress participants. The Patriarch thanked the Kyrgyz
government for the fact that the country “supports Russian language
at the highest level” and that Russian “has been given the status of
the official language while Kyrgyz is the state language.”

The Russian education minister announced an almost two-fold increase
of budget-paid quotas for students from the CIS countries wishing to
study in Russian high schools this year. For Kyrgyzstan the quota is
300, which is six times higher than before.

In 2004 the Russian budget has allocated US $6 million for the
program titled, “The support of integration processes in the sphere
of education and Russian language in the CIS countries.” This amount
significantly exceeds budget allocations in previous years.

The congress participants were unanimous in their opinions that
integration in the post-Soviet domain has become a reality.
Therefore, there is the increasing need for Russian as the
international communication language, which is regaining its role as
the linking, cementing component for the integration process.
“Russian language is one of our strategic, pivotal properties,”
Chingiz Aitmatov said.