Speak Russian or be silent. Nationalist lawmakers want to ban foreign languages at the workplace — a rule that would leave some foreigners speechless.
Two deputies from flamboyant ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s party introduced a bill on Dec. 12 last year that would bar Russians and foreigners from speaking foreign languages on the job during working hours, state-run RIA news agency reported.
It cited a summary of the proposal as saying that many foreigners do not know Russian and “speak amongst themselves in their own language at the workplace during work hours, which makes the native Russian population indignant.”
That explanation suggested the bill is aimed mainly to control the speech of migrant workers from former Soviet republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus, whose growing presence in Russia has led to ethnic tension.
Some Russians accuse migrants of a lack of respect for Russian culture and say they should assimilate or leave.