24 Jul 2023 16:56

Russian language in Kyrgyzstan retains official status, new law doesn't discriminate against it - President Japarov

BISHKEK. July 24 (Interfax) - A law on the state language recently adopted in Kyrgyzstan which obliges all government officials to use the Kyrgyz language in their work does not discriminate against the Russian language, which retains its official language status in the country, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov said on Monday.

"It [the law] doesn't contain a norm discriminating against the Russian language. On the contrary, it says that the Russian language will be used as an official language. This norm is also present in the constitution," Japarov said in an interview with the Kabar news agency.

The new law does not apply to teachers and healthcare professionals, he said.

Kyrgyz citizens need Russian as much as the Kyrgyz language, he said.

"Because you just can't interact with CIS countries without the Russian language. When we travel to China, Arab countries, or European countries, we also speak Russian, after all. In this case, we want to learn to properly use our own language, as well. Look how government officials and lawmakers speak: half in Russian and half in Kyrgyz. None of us has a proper command of either the Russian or the Kyrgyz language," he said.

Japarov called for learning both the Kyrgyz and the Russian language, and if necessary, also studying English, French, Chinese, and other languages.

On July 17, Japarov signed a constitutional bill on the state language into law, which imposes restrictions on serving as public officials for those who do not have a proper command of the Kyrgyz language.

The constitutional law establishes the legal basis for use of the state language in Kyrgyzstan and for pursuing a state language policy, stipulates the obligations of government agencies, institutions, organizations, and local self-government bodies in providing conditions for its development, and entitles citizens to use the state language.

The law determines the categories of employees that must have a B1 level of knowledge of the Kyrgyz language and use it in performing their service duties, among them government and municipal officials, lawmakers, military service members, judges, administrators and employees of educational institutions with all forms of ownership, national and municipal healthcare institutions, scientific employees, and others.

The law also stipulates that TV and radio companies must produce 60% of their content in the Kyrgyz language, while the Kyrgyz-language versions of websites must contain at least as much information as in other languages.

Meanwhile, Article 2 of the law says that the Russian language will be used in Kyrgyzstan as an official language in line with the country's legislation.

The Kyrgyz constitution identifies the Kyrgyz language as the state language, while Russian has official language status.