Perizat RISBEK KIZI
During his visit to Tajikistan, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Overchuk said that Russia would allocate $ 150 million for the construction of five Russian-language schools in the republic. According to him, it is expected that the main staff will consist of Russian teachers. “Of course, the curriculum will be adapted to the needs of Tajikistan, but it will be a Russian program and Russian teachers,” the Deputy Prime Minister explained.
The construction of five schools in Tajikistan, operating according to Russian standards, and their equipping with the necessary technological equipment is planned to be completed by September 2022. Schools will be built in five cities: Dushanbe, Kulyab, Khujand, Bokhtar and Tursunzade. Each of them will be able to accept at least 1200 students.
Earlier, in May, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that there was not enough support for the study of the Russian language in the CIS countries and that it was important to take additional measures. “What is being done today is clearly not enough,” Putin said. Moreover, the President of Russia said that it is necessary to submit proposals to intensify the teaching of the Russian language in Tajikistan. In August, at a meeting with representatives of national and cultural associations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the position of the Russian language has been weakening over the past 30 years in the countries of the post-Soviet space, in particular in the Central Asian region.
Russian language in Tajikistan
Vladimir Putin and other officials especially emphasized Tajikistan for a reason. In the past 20 years, the situation with the study of the Russian language in Tajikistan is not entirely optimistic for Russia. Thus, in April 2020, a law was passed in Tajikistan according to which ethnic Tajiks cannot use Russian names when choosing a name for a newborn child and when obtaining a new identity card.
A little later, in December 2020, the State Institute of the Russian Language presented the study “The Index of the Position of the Russian Language in the World.” The following indicators were taken as a basis: the status of the Russian language in the constitution, the presence of Russian-language sites / versions of the official sites of the highest bodies of state power and the presence of a Russian-language version of the portal of public services. For these indicators, Tajikistan received 1 point for the presence of Russian-language versions / pages of official sites, for the other two indicators 0 points.
Against this background, there are different opinions regarding the language policy of Russia in Tajikistan and in Central Asia as a whole.
Thus, Oksana Yakubova, a primary school teacher at school No. 8 in Dushanbe, believes that Russian as a foreign language is very important for Tajikistan. According to her, the point is not only in migrants leaving for work, but in general in the knowledge of one foreign language. She notes that, it would be a mistake to think that that the Russian language is not needed.
In this context, the Ministry of Education of Tajikistan notes that the construction of schools and the involvement of Russian teachers are associated with the demand of the Tajik population. In addition, it is believed that the increase in demand for Russian education is largely the result of increased migration of Tajiks for temporary residence in Russia or complete relocation to it.
However, some experts believe that this situation only plays into the hands of Moscow, which wants to gain a foothold in the post-Soviet space. Thus, an expert from Tashkent, Anvar Nazirov, believes that Russia is using the factor of the Russian language to strengthen its influence and show its population that the country is strengthening its position in Central Asia through the spread and strengthening of the Russian language. According to the expert, being engaged only in military construction and the seizure of foreign territories, Russia did not actually do anything to strengthen its position as an economic or scientific power, and as a result, the Russian language is losing its potential in the countries of the region.