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Kyrgyzstan: On Anniversary of Language Law, Kyrgyz-First Policies Encounter Harsh Criticism

On this, the 20th, anniversary of the adoption of Kyrgyz as the state language, government language policies remain a source of contention in Kyrgyzstan.

For members of ethnic minority groups, the de-emphasis of Russian in favor of Kyrgyz is widely seen as a discriminatory act. Kyrgyz mass media outlets, meanwhile, are struggling to comply with Kyrgyz-content provisions.

It was September 23, 1989, when the Kyrgyz Supreme Soviet, then the top legislative body in the land, enshrined Kyrgyz as the state language. Since then, Kyrgyz leaders have tried, with decidedly mixed results, to get the population to embrace the indigenous language. Recent changes, designed to accelerate the use of Kyrgyz, have become a source of acrimony for some members of minority groups.

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Chinghiz Umetov is the pseudonym for a Kyrgyz journalist.

Kyrgyzstan: On Anniversary of Language Law, Kyrgyz-First Policies Encounter Harsh Criticism

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