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Armenian Linguist Warns of Harking Back to Soviet Era if Russian Given Special Status

"Giving any status to any language [other than Armenian] in Armenia would mean trampling on state language rights as enshrined in the RA Constitution," said linguist David Gyurjinyan, in conversation with Epress.am, commenting on talk of the Russian language being granted special status in Armenia. 

"Whether it be Russian, English, Persian, or any other language, the question of status in the territory of the Republic of Armenia is impossible, and talk on this issue in international agencies has already moved to another plane," he said. 

Gyurjinyan is concerned that Armenia is under threat by what happened in the Soviet era, when officially Armenian was the state language of Soviet Armenia, but there was an unwritten rule whereby a significant portion of institutions wrote in Russian and preference was given to job seekers having a Russian education. 

The linguist is convinced that robust and powerful intellectuals, who must now not remain silent, are needed to fight the issue.

"Why aren't university lecturers and scientists at academic institutions speaking up? We must demonstrate a civic position [duty]. Representatives of Armenian studies are also silent, as if it doesn't interest them. The silence is due to the fact that people have different calculations: one expects a position; another, a medal; and the third wants to be under the government's wing. Yet another harbors hopes and decides not to suddenly be perceived as being in the opposition. However, this is not a matter of not being opposition, but a matter of the position of an Armenian, a citizen of the Republic of Armenia. And those so-called intellectuals should not be afraid. By the way, fear too is a Soviet relic," he concluded. 

Photo from David Gyurjinyan's Facebook page.

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