Pro-Russian language discrimination in Belarus ‘traps native speakers of Belarus’

Pro-Russian language discrimination in Belarus traps native speakers of BelarusCredit: lunopark/Shutterstock.com

According to a new survey by the International Union of Belarusian Writers, pro-Russian linguistic discrimination in Belarus has resulted in the imprisonment of several native speakers of Belarus.

The investigation into pro-Russian language discrimination of native Belarusian speakers in Belarus was titled “Review of language rights violations in Belarus from January 1 to June 30, 2022”.

The purpose of the survey would have been to “demonstrate the condition and place of the Belarusian language in society in order to protect and preserve this language, to develop it and to spread it as a basic component of the Belarusian national culture “.

According to the survey, various factors contribute to the threat of the language becoming extinct, including:

The number of people who consider Belarusian as their mother tongue is decreasing, the “Russification” of education, the majority of mass media is in Russian; and exhibitions, concerts, publications and books in Belarusian are prohibited.

Moreover, the language of the archives of the Belarusian state as well as its army is Russian.

The investigation also reported on various political prisoners who were allegedly arrested for speaking Belarusian. These included:

Uladzimir Tsurpanau, who was reportedly placed in a punishment cell for speaking Belarusian in the colony and demanding the same from his employees.

Aleh Kulesha sent a letter saying that the administration of Colony No. 2, in which he is serving his term, carried out “explanatory actions” to inform that in penal institutions it is necessary to speak exclusively Russian.

Artists Ales Tsyrkunou and Vital Borys were arrested for 15 days at the Minsk City Court for speaking Belarusian.

Siarhei Mouchan, a physical training teacher at the Belarusian State University, was fired because he started teaching in Belarusian.

The inquiry concluded by stating that it would collect and publish cases of language discrimination, asking the public to please send them to the following email address: [email protected]

The news follows President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus sacking the deputy chief of the Belarusian armed forces, as reported on Tuesday, July 12.


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Sylvester L. Goldfarb