Language policy in the Russian Empire: legal and constitutional aspect / Politica della lingua nell’Impero russo: aspetti legali e costituzionali

Language policy in the Russian Empire: legal and constitutional aspect / Politica della lingua nell’Impero russo: aspetti legali e costituzionali

Авторы: Белогуров Анатолий Юльевич, Воевода Елена Владимировна, Романенко Надежда Михайловна, Силантьева Маргарита Вениаминовна ЧИТАТЬ PDF
Voevoda E.V. Language policy in the Russian Empire: legal and constitutional aspect / Politica della lingua nell’Impero russo: aspetti legali e costituzionali / Elena V.Voevoda, Anatoliy Yu.Belogurov, Lidiya P.Kostikiva, Nadezhda M.Romanenko, Margarita V.Silantyeva // Giornale di Storia costituzionale / Journal of Constitutional History. 2017. V. 33. №1. — C. 121-130.

The article focuses on the problem of the choice of language of instruction in the classroom in the Russian Empire in the aspect of exercising an individual’s legal and constitutional rights. The authors analyze the experience of imperial Russia as a multilingual society in educating children in their native languages and in Russian. According to the article, in the 18th century Russia the government had no definite language policy and the majority of the population were illiterate. The research further shows the causes of the policy of russification of the ethnic regions of the empire the attempts of ethnic minorities to provide mother tongue education for the children in the various ethnic regions of the empire and a focus on. The article goes on to say that Russian missionaries and teachers played a significant role in educating the indigenous peoples of the country and providing the unalphabetical minorities with newly made alphabets on the basis of Cyrillic script. Comparing the Russian and the British imperial experience, the authors analyze the flaws and the benefits of linguistic imperialism and their impact on the life of individuals.
The right to get an education in the mother tongue is an inalienable right of man. It is provided by the basic documents adopted by the international community that embraces the majority of the countries of the world. In accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), «everyone has the right to education», which «shall be free at least in the elementary and fundamental stages» while «elementary education shall be compulsory» (Article 26)1. Articles 28-29 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) demonstrate that the world community recognizes the right of the child to education and considers language as one of the values of education. It also aims at developing respect for the child’s native language and cultural identity2. UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005) further stresses that «linguistic diversity is a fundamental element of cultural diversity» and underlines the «role that education plays in the protection and promotion of cultural expressions»3.

The recent motions of certain ethnic groups and individuals in the Russian Federation proclaiming the need to resort solely to mother tongue education in schools and universities induce us to review the experience of the preceding generations and analyze the language policy of the Russian Empire in education. Political developments in empires and other macro-political entities have tangible in u-ence on group identities as well as language practices4. That con rms the relevance of the research.

The authors aim to study the experience of mother tongue instruction in Russia over a period of 200 years. The inter-related ob- jectives are as follows: 1) to evaluate critically the models of mother tongue education during the imperial period of Russian history; 2) to identify the  aws and benets of Russian language-based education of ethnic minorities; 3) to draw conclu- sions relevant to the present day linguistic situation in the ethnic regions of Russia. The research strategy is based on methods theoretical (analysis, systematization) and empirical (statistical, comparative).

As the language is an inseparable part of culture, in the multicultural world, it serves as an important catalyst for building and preserving ethnic and cultural identity5. The use of speci c languages of instruction at school is closely linked with supporting and developing or, on the contrary, destroying cultural and ethnic identity of a child. The language is a socially signi cant form of re ecting reality and a means of acquiring new knowledge about the existing reality. Therefore, the language re ects the picture of the world inherent to a certain ethnic culture. In its turn, the language-based picture of the world is re-ected in the national logics of perceiving the world, in the worldview of the nation and in the mentality of every single individual representing the ethnic community. Thus, the importance of education in the mother tongue should not be underestimated.

The approaches to teaching non-Russian pupils in the Russian Empire varied and were different for Christians, non-Christians and the peoples of the Caucasus and the Trans-Caucasian region.

Ключевые слова: education, mother tongue, legal right, constitution, ethnic school, language of instruction
Распечатать страницу