Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Russian Decline

Now that the USSR has devolved into Russia and its erstwhile satellites, the tongue of the tsars is seeing a marked decline even in the mother country itself. Russian is the fourth most spoken lingua after English, Chinese, and Spanish according to the Russian Academy of Science's Center for Demography and Human Ecology (CDHE). Within 15 years the CDHE forecasts that Russian will be tenth. One salient reason is the annual decline of the Russian population by 700,000. Also, the loss of superpower status has diminished the cachet of the language. An analyst at the Institute for Cultural Research, Kirill Razlogov, said, "As the geopolitical importance of Russia degenerated to being little more than a big supplier of raw materials for other countries' growing high-tech economies, so did the demand for knowing Russian. He added, "In many former Soviet republics, particularly in Central Asia, Russia was once the language of the elite: now with advancing globalization, more people opt for English." Now that the Cold War has subsided, Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise, and Hispanics are in the ascendancy in America, Arabic and Spanish are projected to surpass Russian in the number of speakers. To reassert itself on the world stage, this great power founded by Swedish princes and now a superpower (but only a military one), this bear should arise from its hibernation and roar anew as a nation that embraces freedom and democracy.


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