150 языков и политика. 1917 - 2000. Соц-лингвистические проблемы СССР и постсоветского пространства. - Алпагов В.М.
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The need of communication is more important at the industrial stage of society: industrialization, united' market, urbanization, regular army, common system of education etc. presuppose the communication of citizens of the same state irrespective of their native languages. There is an official language in every state with rare exceptions. The native speakers of the official language do not know any languages except their native one and maybe some foreign languages. The native speakers of other languages must know the official language if they do not want to live in ghetto. The fate of languages of minorities comes to three possibilities. The best possibility is the role of regional languages. The worse possibility is the use of a language only as a language of everyday life. The worst possibility is the extinction of a language.
The language policy in Russia before the October revolution was not the same in different territories and in different epochs but it corresponded to this scheme on the whole. Russian was a native language of the majority of the population and it was the official language. The status of the other languages was not privileged. The official policy of the tsar administration was cnticized not only by the intelligentsia from the minorities but by all the Russian liberal and radical opposition. V.I.Lenin wrote: The necessary thing is the absence of an obligatory official language with the guarantee of schools with the teaching of all the local languages for the population".
There was an attempt to realize such dreams after the revolution. It was a part of the common plan to change the society on rational principle, to liquidate any inequality of people and nations. In 1921 the IOth Congress of the Communist Party put the task of the transiti-
on of all the administration, court, economic organizations, newspapers, theatres and so on to local languages for all the nationalities of the country. So the need of identification was to be settled in the centre of the language policy. The nissification and the Russian chauvinism were considered as the main evil.
However the realization of the new language policy was resisted by two factors which did not permit to put an end to that policy. Only one of two factors was recognized at that time. This factor was the uneven development of the languages. The intensive work for overcoming this situation spread in the twenties and thirties. The name of the work was language building Many best Soviet scholars took part in it. They created more than seventy alphabets for the languages of the USSR. Since the end of the twenties the new alphabets became Roman. This script was international and had not any undesirable associations.
However there was another factor in the process of language building: it was the need of mutual understanding. It was not taken into account after the revolution. The only means of communication in the whole state was Russian. It was more advantageous for educated non-Russian people to learn Russian than to master the world culture in their native languages. The process developed spontaneously and contradicted the official policy of the twenties and the early thirties.
The previous language policy went on till the middle of the thirties. Then it was changed. Since 1935 to 1937 it was decided to transfer all the Soviet languages with Roman alphabets to Cyrillic ones. In 1938 the obligatory study of Russian was introduced in all the schools of the national republics and regions from the first or second form. The propagandistic literature went on to write about the "eduality of languages" but the main theme of it became the glory of the "great" and "mighty" Russian language.
That policy lasted to the time of perestroika inclusive. The degree of russification was greater that before the revolution since (he need of mutual understanding was stronger. Industrialization, general military services, migrations of the population brought together people of different nationalities. It become difficult to live without speaking Russian (the rural population of the Central Asia was the only exception). The policy of russification was rude but rather effective. Many people considered this policy natural. Russian people did not take notice, of the problem at all. Other people studied Russian since it was necessary for any advance. In 1958 the parents of school children got the right to choose school for their children, the number of pupils in the Russian
schools increased after thai. The fate of the languages of minorities in the USSR was the same as in the other countries. Some languages (Georgian, Armenian, Uzbek etc.) had different functions as regional languages, some languages (Bashkir, Buryat and others) were rather stable as languages of everyday life but were not spread as languages of culture, school and international communication. Some not numerous languages espccialy in Siberia and the Far East were close to become extinct.