From February to October 1992, Valery Tishkov served as Minister of Nationalities of the government of Russia. This book is his account of ethnicity, nationalism, and conflict in the territory of the former Soviet Union, focusing particularly on the Russian federation, and drawing on his personal political experience and inside knowledge of major events. He analyzes the demographic, ecological, and cultural backgrounds of ethnic tensions and conflict, and carefully measures grassroots ethnic attitudes and cultural interactions, which do not always correspond to intellectual and political statements and claims.

Cultures and Languages in Conflict

Cultures and languages in conflict

5.1 Introduction

By the mid-1980s a complex situation had developed in the sphere of the social functions of languages and cultures of Soviet nationalities. Along with developing and supporting non-Russian languages and cultures, the Russian language received further dissemination into daily urban culture, becoming the language of work and of governance and services throughout the country. In homes all over the Soviet Union, the mass media – especially television – broadcast predominantly in Russian.

Scholars, including ethnologists and sociolinguists, have undertaken many detailed investigations of the language situation in the USSR (Arutunyan and Bromley, 1986; Bromley, 1977; Guboglo, 1984) as well as of post-Soviet mobilized linguicism (Guboglo, 1993, 1994a; Laitin et al., 1992; Neroznak, 1994) – without, however, ...

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