Staunton, April 20 – The Russian government has tried to distract the attention of people around the world from its attacks on national minorities which have their own republics but which have been stripped of the right to require instruction in the language of the titular nationality by playing up stories about what it is doing for the smallest nations.
That extraordinary solicitousness is likely to attract sympathetic coverage, but it should not get unqualified praise. On the one hand, Moscow hasn’t created an alphabet and thus a literature and education in this language ever before — even though the government has long recognized the Entsy and taken credit for doing so.
In short, the languages and nations of the numerically smallest peoples of Russia are not being treated better than the others. In many ways, they are being treated even worse, subject to all the restrictions imposed on all non-Russians without the numbers that allow some of the bigger nations to resist.
Not surprisingly and perhaps an omen that his nation does have a future despite official Russian pressure, the reindeer herder used his very own page on Vkontakte to take these steps (vk.com/golos_tundry).
Window on Eurasia — New Series