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Working paper

The Language of the Republic at School: Who Decides?

After inspections by Public Prosecutor’s Office in 2017, the question of lawfulness of compulsory learning of republican languages at school received widespread сoverage. This article addresses the question of whether Russian republics have the right to establish a duty to learn the state language of the republic in schools. The right of republics to establish their own state language, stipulated by the provisions of the Russian Constitution, federal legislation, and the national-territorial principle of the formation of republics in Russia, presupposes the republic’s ability to establish the compulsory study of its language in the state and municipal schools on its territory. Since 2007, this right has been formally blocked by the Federal State Educational Standards (FSES) approved by the Russian Ministry of Education and Science. The de facto prohibition of compulsory language learning significantly limits the republics in the full realization of the right to establish their state language.