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Opinions & Interviews

26 Sep 2019

Lukashenko: Belarus will not make Russian language apple of discord

Lukashenko: Belarus will not make Russian language apple of discord

MINSK, 26 September (BelTA) – The Belarusian and Russian languages have an equal status in Belarus, President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Ukrainian journalists on 26 September, BelTA has learned.

Addressing the Belarusian president, a Ukrainian journalist remarked that the Russian language has a preferential status in Belarus and even writings on state-run institutions are in Russian, not Belarusian.

“I am afraid of politicizing and giving too much attention to this matter,” the head of state said. He recalled that during a referendum people voted for an equal status of the two languages. The president noted: “We take it easy and do not see big apprehensions here. We do not want to make the Russian language an apple of discord,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The Belarusian president said that he is sometimes criticized for his stance on the language matter. “We have two official languages, an equal status of Belarusian and Russian. It was decided at the referendum,” he said. The decision on the state symbols were also made by Belarusians at the referendum. The president recalled that the country had had other state symbols before and these symbols were depicted on the president’s car. “It was a law and I abode by it,” he explained.

“Indeed, we tend to speak more Russian than Belarusian,” the president admitted. He emphasized that he does not see a big problem with it. He noted that nearly all people in Belarus know the Belarusian language. A lot has recently been done to promote it.

“It would be wrong to force people to speak the language the government wants them to  speak even if it makes some sense. It should take some time. We should tread cautiously,” the head of state noted.

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