Russian: a monocentric or pluricentric language?

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All the world’s ‘big’ languages of international communication (for instance, English, French or Spanish) are pluricentric in their character, meaning that official varieties of these languages are standardized differently in those states where the aforesaid languages are in official use. The only exception to this tendency is Russian. Despite the fact that Russian is employed in an official capacity in numerous post-Soviet states and in Israel, it is still construed as a monocentric language whose single and unified standard is (and must be) solely controlled by Russia. From the perspective of sovereignty, this arrangement affords Moscow a degree of influence and even control over culture and language use in the countries where Russian is official. This fact was consciously noticed and evoked some heated discussions in Ukraine after the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea in 2014. However, thus far, the discussions have not translated into any official recognition of (let alone encouragement for) state specific varieties of the Russian language.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-196
JournalColloquia Humanistica
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2018


  • Russian language
  • Russian world ideology
  • Pluricentric languages
  • Language politics
  • Nationalism
  • Neo-imperialism
  • Linguistic imperialism
  • Post-Soviet studies
  • Language classification
  • Monocentric languages
  • National varieties of languages
  • State specific varieties of languages
  • Hybrid war
  • De-ethnicization
  • Non-Russian Russophones
  • Russophone states
  • Russo-Ukrainian war
  • State varieties of Russian


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