The Russian Language is Declining, Because of Putin

In a rambling, grievance-laced speech on Feb. 21, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin cited the alleged oppression of Russian audio system as a pretext for his invasion of Ukraine. Greater than two years on, few themes have featured as prominently in Kremlin propaganda because the supposed persecution of Russian audio system. It’s ironic, then, that Putin—who imagines himself among the many pantheon of nice Russian rulers—has performed extra hurt to the language’s standing than maybe every other chief in not less than a century. Throughout the post-Soviet world, Putin’s invasion has dramatically accelerated the decline of Russian.

Nowhere is that this decline extra obvious than in Ukraine, which counts extra native Russian audio system than any nation exterior of Russia itself. The invasion has accelerated the language’s decline in two distinct, however reinforcing, methods. First is the truth that the warfare has most affected Ukraine’s Russophone South and East, decimating and depopulating the identical Russophone communities that Putin promised to avoid wasting. It’s laborious to think about Russian ever regaining its pre-war power in cities like Avdiivka or Bakhmut, for instance, in gentle of the morbid truth they’ve been flattened.

What’s extra, the depth of combating throughout Ukraine’s South and East has meant a considerable share of the 14 million displaced Ukrainians (together with 6 million who fled the nation altogether) are Russophone. These refugees at the moment are being assimilated into populations that talk overseas languages overseas and Ukrainian throughout the nation’s comparatively safer Heart and West, the place Russian is uncommon. Whether or not in London or Lyiv, using Russian amongst this large diaspora is fading, and its transmission to the subsequent technology in critical doubt.

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