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Перевести на русский Перевести на русский Print this article Print this article

Russian Speakers of the World, Unite!

By Michele A. Berdy

Published: June 28, 2014 (Issue # 1817)



Photo: Sailko / Wikimedia Commons

Русский мир: Russian world, broadly and vaguely defined

As someone deeply concerned with the protection of human rights — mine in particular — I have of course been very interested in the whole notion of русскоязычный человек (a Russian-speaking person) and Russia's eagerness to take such a person — possibly me — under her governmental wing.

So I started reading up on ways of being a Russian speaker and citizen. As usual, it's all a bit more complicated than I thought. Dictionaries are not in agreement about some terms, and people, those русскоязычники (Russian speakers, slangily), have their own definitions too. Here's what I have learned so far:

Гражданин/гражданка России: Citizen of Russia. If you are born in Russia, it does not matter what your native language or ethnicity is.

Россиянин/россиянка: Russian citizen. Like the word российский, this means a person who is a citizen of Russia regardless of ethnicity or language.

Русский/русская: Ethnic Russian. May or may not be a citizen of Russia.

Человек, чей родной язык — русский: A person whose native language is Russian. Seems to be the highest grade Russian speaker, cited wittily by Joseph Brodsky in his Nobel Prize speech: Хотя для человека, чей родной язык — русский, разговоры о политическом зле столь же естественны, как пищеварение, я хотел бы теперь переменить тему. (Although discussions about political evil are as natural as digestion for someone whose native language is Russian, I'd like to change the topic.) Родной язык (native language) is a person's primary functional language and not the language of one's ethnicity.

Носитель языка, a language speaker who is not necessarily native. For fast-track citizenship in Russia, носителем языка признается человек, который владеет русским языком и повседневно использует его дома и в культурной сфере (a language speaker is someone who speaks Russian and uses it at home and in the cultural sphere every day).

That's me! I definitely speak Russian, at home the pooch and I converse exclusively in Russian — Где мячик? Поищи! (Where's your ball? Go look for it!) — and even though I'm a little shaky on what культурная сфера is, watching television and translating must count, right?

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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