The Ministry of Education proposed to oblige officials to comply with the rules of the Russian language

Knowledge of the rules of the Russian language should become mandatory for officials, the Ministry of Education suggests. Other initiatives include checking the compliance of all acts with literary norms and assessing compliance with language laws by government agencies

The Ministry of Education proposed to make knowledge of the Russian language one of the conditions for entering the civil service and to oblige state authorities to “create conditions for officials to comply with the norms and rules of the modern Russian language.” The relevant document is posted on the portal of draft regulations.

The project involves amending the federal law “On the State Language of the Russian Federation”. As stated in the explanatory note, its purpose— control over compliance with the norms and rules of the modern Russian literary language. The adoption of the project will help improve the “correct use of the state language” civil servants, according to the department.

According to the document, ready-made laws, appeals, statements and any other regulations will have to undergo a “professional check” before publication; language compliance and editing.

“When using the Russian language as the state language, it is obligatory to follow the rules of the modern literary language,” — specified in the project. Norms are codified in dictionaries and reference books, it is noted there. A separate reservation is made about the use of the state language in state and municipal information systems (for example, on the State Services portal)— this is mandatory.

The Ministry of Education also proposes to include compliance with the law, protection and support of the state language in the list of indicators for assessing the effectiveness of the activities of the executive authorities of the subjects.

RBC sent a request to the Ministry of Education.

In 2020, the Ministry of Labor was already developing a bill that proposed to control how officials know the rules of the Russian language, but it was not submitted to the State Duma. The document also provided for considering the knowledge of style and grammar as one of the requirements for candidates for civil service.

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The purpose of the new resolution may be to consolidate the requirement at the legislative level, Larionov suggested. “Those who did not apply the rules for assessing the Russian language will now do so,” — he hopes. In his opinion, it might be a good idea to simplify the normative acts through the correct style, for example, reducing sentences from unnecessary introductory constructions, etc., as this will make them easier to understand.

In 2020, the Institute of State and Municipal Administration The Higher School of Economics conducted a study on the language of Russian laws. The authors came to the conclusion that the language of the legislator is more complicated than literary Russian. It uses fewer verbs, but is more verbose.

In mid-December 2021, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko criticized officials who use foreign and often obscure words.

Later, the Accounts Chamber prepared for officials a Russian language course with recommendations on “how to write easier about complex government issues” in order to increase the “accessibility and understandability of official documents”.

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