International Day of the Russian Language

International Day of the Russian Language

5 June 2020

June 5th, a Moscow-Geneva online conference was held in honour of the International Day of the Russian Language. The meeting had for participants Tatiana Valovaya, Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva, Gennady Gatilov, Permanent Representative of Russia at the UN Office in Geneva, Anatoly Torkunov, Chairman of the United Nations Association of Russia, Anatoly Karpov, Deputy of the State Duma and World Chess Champion, the Head of Rossotrudnichestvo, Eleanora Mitrofanova and the Deputy Minister for Culture Maxim Ksenzov.

In his speech, Anatoly Torkunov remarked that the Russian language, especially in Central Asia and CIS countries has started to develop in a peculiar way, acquiring a level of self-sufficiency. In this regard, the Russian language is becoming similar to other international languages, such as French and Spanish. Indeed, even in places where there are no ethnic speakers, the language continues to play an important role, culturally and economically.

The Rector of MGIMO paid special attention to how the Russian language is adapted by different local communities, noting “I do not agree with the rigorous approach, which insists that the Russian language is spoiled, distorted in such cases”. Another important issue, he noted, is to preserve the Cyrillic script, which is a world cultural heritage.

Russian Language Day continued with an online marathon, in which directors, actors and artistic directors of leading Russian theatres participated.

The International Day of Russian Language was created by the UN exactly 10 years ago and is celebrated on June 6th, which is the birthday of Alexander Pushkin. Based on the agreements between the Russian Foreign Ministry and the UN Secretary-General, the Russian Public Committee UN-75 was created in 2019. The Russian Language Day meeting was held in the framework of the implementation of the UN-75 action plan, with the support of the UN Association of Russia, the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the UN in Geneva and the Cultural Seasons Foundation. The “Theater Russia” project was a co-organizer of the project. MGIMO Rector Anatoly Torkunov is the Chairman of the UN-75 Committee.