World

LANGUAGE MATTERS

Russia bans government officials from using most foreign words

President Vladimir Putin on board the Russian Northern fleet’s Marshal Ustinov missile cruiser, 9 January 2020. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik / Kremlin Pool)

Russian government officials will be banned from using most foreign words when carrying out their duties, according to an amended law on the formal use of Russian that President Vladimir Putin signed on Tuesday.

Since launching the invasion of Ukraine a year ago, Putin has said he wants to protect Russia from what he calls a degenerate West that he alleges is trying to destroy the country.

The amendments to the 2005 law are designed to protect and support the status of Russian, according to a text posted on the government’s website.

“When using Russian as the state language of the Russian Federation, it is not allowed to use words and expressions that do not correspond to the norms of modern Russian … with the exception of foreign words which do not have widely used corresponding equivalents in Russian,” says the text.

A list of foreign-based words that can still be used will be published separately. The amendments do not mention any punishments for those who fail to respect the updated law.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Leslie Adler.)

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