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Opinions & Interviews

1 Mar 2019

Belarus president in favor of supporting native language

Belarus president in favor of supporting native language

MINSK, 1 March (BelTA) – A native language makes a nation different from other nations. This is why it is necessary to support it. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko made the statement as he met with representatives of the general public and expert community, Belarusian and foreign mass media on 1 March, BelTA has learned.

“Our language is what makes us different from Russians and other ones, it is an attribute of every nation,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

“The Belarusian language is my native language for me. Just like the Russian language. The Russian language is also our language,” Alexander Lukashenko remarked. He made it clear he does not want to match the two languages against each other since Belarusian citizens speak both of them as a native language.

The president said that no other nation has made such a huge contribution to the development of the Russian language as Belarusians. As an example he mentioned a Russian language academic excellence competition in Russia where Belarusian participants won every nomination. In his opinion, this legacy should not be abandoned. “Yes, as it happens, we probably speak Russian better than we do Belarusian. And we speak it more frequently,” added the head of state.

The fact that these matters are being more and more actively discussed was attributed to the newly coined terms “Russian world”, “soft power”, and other ones.

“All talks like that in Russia must be stopped. What do you mean expansion of ‘the Russian world’ at the expense of Belarus?” wondered Alexander Lukashenko. “Our Metropolitan Pavel is a Russian man. And our people are fine with it.” The president went on saying: “We speak Russian, we think like Russians do. Why do you have to force some ‘Russian world’ on Belarus in order to stir up the people?”

Alexander Lukashenko stressed that the matter of the state language had been debated in Belarus and a compromise had been found. He also drew attention to the school curriculum of past years when it contained more English language lessons than Belarusian and Russian ones. “No opposition representative resented this fact. But once the Russian language gets involved, there is shouting all over the place. People should learn to speak English – it is a great drawback if our people don’t know this international language – but we shouldn’t humiliate ourselves,” he stated.

The president also responded to the proposal to issue legislation in two languages. “It would cost extra. And a lot,” Alexander Lukashenko said. “Everyone speaks and understands Russian in Belarus. Should we publish laws in two languages? It could be done but at an extra expense.”

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