Language Policies and Law in Education in Post-Soviet Belarus
Title: Language Policies and Law in Education in Post-Soviet Belarus
Author: ULASIUK, Iryna
Citation: International Journal for Education Law and Policy, 2011, 7, 1-2, 31-39
The dissolution of the Soviet Union brought to the fore claims of linguistic minorities which had been ignored a way too long. In almost all of the former Soviet republics language became an impetus to national revival and an important instrument in consolidating the newly independent states. Belarus has stood aloof in this process. 'The most de-nationalised of the non-Russian successor states', with its language subjected to a high degree of Russification Belarus was the least successful in shifting to the titular language. This is despite the fact that more than 80% of the population identify themselves as Belarusian in ethnic terms. With Russian being the de facto main language, and Belarusian playing largely a symbolic function, the position of other languages spoken by minority groups residing within the territory of Belarus seems indeed precarious. The present paper seeks to identify the main tendencies in the development of language legislation in Belarus in the area of education which has traditionally been considered as determinant for the survival of the language. It investigates the place the Belarus in legislation in the field of education reserves for the language rights of the titular nation and those of national minorities.
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