At the end of the Soviet period titular political entities (such as Soviet republics, other autonomous and quasi-autonomous units) states and republics of the former Soviet Union began nation-building processes as a way to declare their identity after seventy years of cultural and linguistic oppression. At the contextual level, nation-building processes were concerned with de-Sovietisation, such as the replacement of Soviet and political institutions with institutions of the titular majority nationality; the re-establishment of titular nations, which included the codification of identity characteristics, such as language and origin and finally, the rediscovery of the titular nation’s past.
Nation-building processes in the post-Soviet space have been the cause of many tensions within these societies. My particular interest in nation-building processes is in language and education policy and how citizens’ everyday lives are affected by these policies.
After the collapse of communism Russians lost their dominant ethnic status to titular nationalities in the independent states and autonomous republics. Russians in the ‘near abroad’ felt that their identity was threatened with the introduction of titular national symbols and with the interest in the revival of the titular language as the official during the early 1990s. Furthermore, many ethnic minorities within these countries had to learn the titular language(s) of the country in which they were residing in order to integrate into the titular society and have access to full civil and economic rights. During the Soviet period, Russian was considered as the ‘official’ language of the Soviet Union and was the main language of inter-ethnic communication between different ethnic groups.
This website is therefore dedicated to language and education issues in post-Soviet society. Particular focus is given to how minority ethnic groups, who live in independent states and autonomous republics of the former Soviet Union, (such as Russians, Armenians and Azeris) are learning the state or official language(s) of these titular nations in order to integrate into society. Another equally important focus of this situation is ethnic minority language provision within these territories.
I am interested in the interaction between top-down actors (i.e. governments and ministries of education and science) and citizens at the grass-roots level. This approach allows us to see to what extent a policy is accepted or rejected by citizens and how policy conditions are negotiated in post-Soviet society.
For further information, click on the links at the top of the page.
© 2015 Teresa Wigglesworth-Baker