Russian Lessons: "А" Is for "Armenia"
How much do Armenians need Russian-language schools? The question has caused quite a stir in Armenia as Yerevan begins toying with the idea of offering education in a foreign language -- primarily meaning in Russian, many people believe -- from the elementary-school level up.
The plan has broad cultural and foreign policy implications. Russia has a long-time status as Armenia’s strategic partner and a key source of jobs for labor migrants.
The plan has also hit a nationalist nerve.
Activists holding posters “Education Only in Armenian!” gathered on June 7 in front of the National Assembly to protest the schools. The concern is that Armenian may ultimately suffer if parents take their kids to the schools in a bid to expand their future professional options.
Armenians are keen to learn anything Russian in lieu of exploring their own cultural roots, opined Armenian bard Ruben Akhverdian recently. “[T]hey don’t know what a sacred cultural ‘burden’ they carry on their shoulders,” he bemoaned.