Andrei Shcherbakov: "Rich linguistic diversity of Caucasus requires study"

Andrei Shcherbakov: "Rich linguistic diversity of Caucasus requires study"

The dean of the Department of Philology at the Pushkin State Russian Language Institute, Andrei Shcherbakov, told Vestnik Kavkaza about the development of the institute's contacts with the universities of the North and South Caucasus.

- What can you say about your university's cooperation with the universities of the North Caucasus?

- Pushkin State Russian Language Institute has long established close ties with the universities of the Caucasus region, in particular with Pyatigorsk State University, which students and teachers constantly participate in the conferences, organized by us in Moscow, and the "Russian Language Ambassadors in the World" program.

We maintain contacts with the universities of the Chechen Republic and Dagestan. Our institute is primarily interested in the Caucasian region because there we can work out methodological methods for teaching Russian as a second native language in conditions of a limited Russian-speaking environment. In this sense the Caucasus is really an interesting platform.

The Caucasian republics are an example of the successful coexistence of two, three or more languages. There are twelve state languages in Dagestan. Such rich linguistic diversity requires both study, description and special attention to the position of the Russian language in these regions, since Russian is the state language of the Russian Federation and proficiency in it gives great opportunities for the professional and other realization of any Russian citizen. Our Faculty of Philology is attended by representatives of more than 40 Russian regions, as well as 80 countries of the world.

- And what about your contacts with the universities of the South Caucasian countries?

- Pushkin State Russian Language Institute has established and maintained contacts not only with the Azerbaijan University of Languages, but also with the Baku State University and other organizations. There is a Russian center of science and culture in Azerbaijan, which also promotes educational and cultural projects. We support the "Russian Language Ambassadors in the World" project. Two expeditions to Azerbaijan were held already, when students of Russian universities came to Azerbaijan's schools and universities and taught their peers and younger children Russian. In addition, they also started to learn the Azerbaijani language. Such youth projects give us an opportunity to say with confidence that the relations between our countries will develop exceptionally positively.

Recently, our relations with Azerbaijan have intensified in all areas. First of all, of course, at the level of cultural and educational exchanges. Four students from Azerbaijan attend the Department of Philology at the Pushkin State Russian Language Institute. Two post-graduate students, one at bachelor's  and one at master's level. Of course, this is a very small number for our countries, but I think that as a result of our joint work, due to the fact that we have established close contacts with the Azerbaijan University of Languages, there will be  a lot of joint projects, and such mutual student exchanges will also become usual. The increasing number of students will come to our institute, and our students will have the opportunity to visit Azerbaijan, get acquainted with the Azerbaijani language, Azerbaijani culture. This is a good basis for the relations between the countries to develop positively in the future.

- Thanks to Heydar Aliyev's efforts, the national and cultural diversity acquired the form of ideology, the traditions of multiculturalism are strong in Azerbaijan ...

- Heydar Aliyev is a major political figure. It is impossible to underplay Heydar Aliyev's contribution to the development of Azerbaijani-Russian ties. One of these areas is the promotion of multiculturalism and tolerance. This is actually the state ideology of Azerbaijan. This is very important in the sense that both Azerbaijan and Russia are multinational, multi-confessional countries. If we talk about development, about friendship between our countries, it is important that the principles laid down and formulated by Heydar Aliyev be embodied and become the ideological basis for the development and prosperity of our countries.

- How does the government support the Russian language in Russia?

- The position of the Russian language as a state language is the issue of state policy. The state follows the situation in the field of preserving and promoting the Russian language very closely. The attention of senior government officials to the issues of the Russian language has been very serious recently. Suffice it to say that we have two councils on the Russian language. One under the President of the Russian Federation, the second - under the government. This means that the functioning of the Russian language on the territory of Russia is a matter of the highest national priority.

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