President Zhaparov defends wider use of Kyrgyz language at home

President Sadyr Zhaparov (Kabar)

President Sadyr Zhaparov (Kabar)

BISHKEK: Kyrgyzstan President Sadyr Zhaparov has defended his country’s plans to “fully develop the Kyrgyz language,” turning down criticism by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

On July 17, Zhaparov signed the constitutional law that establishes the legal framework for the use of the Kyrgyz language and the government and private areas where it is to be mandatorily used.

It also lists the professionals who are required to speak and use Kyrgyz in their work.

The law obliges public and private television and radio companies of Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic until its independence in 1991, to broadcast at least 60 percent of their programs in the state language.

However, Lavrov last week reacted to the new law by stressing that “attempts have been made to infringe on the Russian language in a number of situations, not to mention what has been done in Ukraine, and what has been done in the Baltic states a long time ago.”

“Our experience in the peaceful coexistence of representatives of different nationalities, cultures, religions, while preserving all their national features and developing the Russian language as a unifying factor, is in great demand in the modern world,” he said at a meeting with the leaders of Russian non-profit organizations in Moscow.

“Efforts are much needed to provide objective information about the situation in our country, as well as efforts to promote the Russian language, culture, and national education abroad. “Difficult processes are underway, including in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In particular, certain laws are adopted in Central Asia. For example, the Kyrgyz Republic adopted the law on the state language,” he was quoted as saying.

According to Lavrov, “this is not quite democratic.”

“When this idea first appeared, we warned our Kyrgyz friends that it is not quite democratic. I mean to oblige all civil servants to know the Kyrgyz language and work in it,” the Russian foreign minister was quoted as saying by Kabar News Agency.

However, President Zhaparov responded by saying that “apparently, Sergey Lavrov has not studied the law in detail.”

“The law does not intend to discriminate against the Russian language. On the contrary, it states that Russian will be used as an official language. This norm is also laid in the Constitution. It will be preserved in the future. The law does not apply to teachers and doctors,” he said in an interview with Kabar.

“Let us consider the example of a Russian school teacher who teaches the Russian language. No one will dismiss him from his job because he does not know Kyrgyz. For us, the Russian language plays as important a role, because we build relations with the CIS countries through the Russian language. We also negotiate with China, and Arab and European countries in Russian.”

The emphasis here is different: and Kyrgyzstan wants to fully develop its language, he added.

“Government officials, deputies, as we notice, speak half in Russian and half in Kyrgyz. No one speaks pure Russian or pure Kyrgyz. It’s always a mix. So, we need to master both languages at the right level. Along with them, we should also study English, French, Chinese and other languages, because the more we know, the better,” Zhaparov said.

Search in Site