Azerbaijan is example of public policy in relation to Russians
Azerbaijan today has one of the best situations with regard to the preservation of the Russian language and the quality of life of the Russian diaspora in the former Soviet Union, the president of NGO Acceptare, Master of Law Victoria Pavlenko, and the expert of the Institute for Strategic Studies 'Eurasia', Tatiana Borzova, said today during a press conference titled 'Study of the situation of Russian-speaking citizens of the CIS and Baltic countries'.
Tatiana Borzova explained the current situation was a result of several factors in an interview with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza. "First, Russian business is really present in Azerbaijan, which is forming the presence of the Russian-speaking space in one way or another. Secondly, there are specialists in the country who have received a Russian education. Therefore, Azerbaijan stands out among the post-Soviet countries," she said.
The experts explained that it is ensured at the official level, which is important. "Initially we studied the legal framework in different countries of the CIS and the golden mean of the corresponding legal and factual situation in relation to the Russians is observed in Azerbaijan. For example, the Baltic law stated that the legal status of Russian-speaking citizens is low, which is true, while in Azerbaijan the legal status of Russian-speaking citizens is at a certain level," Victoria Pavlenko said.
For example, there is no such golden mean in Armenia. "Why was Armenia a shock for us? Because the official application was somewhere on the level of Azerbaijan, and in fact the legal status of the Russian-speaking population is very low there. During the Soviet era Armenia was a mono-ethnic republic which destroyed and subordinated all other nationalities. Now the situation is indeed deplorable. We analyzed how many people have left Armenia in recent years – it's mainly the Russian-speaking population, as well as Georgians, Belarusians and Ukrainians. Today Armenia is, in fact, a monostate, which pursues a 'please leave our territory if you're not an Armenian' policy," the president of NGO Acceptare said.
Tatiana Borzova admitted that the real language situation in Azerbaijan was surprising. "When I arrived, it turned out that everyone speaks Russian. For me, it's amazing, I thank Azerbaijan very much, because the people there were almost like a Russian-speaking population," she said, adding that it makes Azerbaijan very different from many other CIS countries.
The language situation in Armenia was no less surprising. "Reading the media, we thought that at least we will be welcomed with open arms in Armenia. I was in Yerevan many times during the Soviet era. When I saw modern Armenia, it was a shock for me. Believe me, I found a Russian-speaking man even in the US, who explained to me where I needed to go. In Armenia I got confused and lost," Tatiana Borzova said.
According to data collected by these experts, if in Moldova the Russian language is studied at least optionally, in Armenia the Russian language is almost absent. "This is official information," Victoria Pavlenko concluded.
As a result, Armenia took first place among the former Soviet Union countries according to the percentage of Russian-speaking citizens who have left the country: 64 emigrants out of 100 are Russian-speaking. Second place is occupied by Kazakhstan with 54%, then Moldova with 50%, Kyrgyzstan with 44%, Georgia with 40% and Tajikistan with 40%. Azerbaijan is in seventh place: less than 36 out of 100 emigrants are Russian-speaking, it is followed by Uzbekistan with 32%, Ukraine with less than 32%, Latvia with 28%, as well as Estonia and Lithuania with 27%.