Public and experts express discontent, while the authorities assure the public that the issue has never been on the agenda
Vyacheslav Volodin, a Russian State Duma Speaker, has suggested that Armenian authorities grant the Russian language official status in Armenia. According to Volodin, in this case, Armenian-issued drivers licenses will be recognized as valid in the territory of the Russian Federation.
On 1 June 2017, Russia introduced a law under which the holders of foreign drivers licenses are prohibited to use their licenses for work-purposes in the territory of the Russian Federation. However, on 14 July, the Russian State Duma passed one more bill, allowing citizens of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) member-states, where Russian has been recognized as an official language, to work in Russia using their national driver licenses.
Vyacheslav Volodin’s statement stirred up discontent in expert circles, as well as in the country.
Stepan Safaryan, a political analyst, stated that since 2011, the Russian side has openly been trying to, through ‘unfair’ methods, push through the Russian language status in Armenia.
The political analyst believes that the very fact that Russian schools enjoy the same status in the country as Armenian ones proves that the Armenian leadership isn’t against the aforesaid policy pursued by the Russian Federation.
“It’s an open encroachment upon the Armenian language and the sovereignty of Armenia, because Russia has no right to impose that on us. In fact, our Armenian migrants working in Russia today are viewed by Russia as hostages, and their problems are used for exerting pressure on Yerevan and the Republic of Armenia,” stressed Safaryan.
Speaking on behalf of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), Armen Ashotyan, an MP, said that the Russian language status has never been on the agenda, nor will it be considered in future.
As for the use of Armenian drivers licenses in Russia, Armen Ashotyan noted that the parliamentary delegations of the two countries agreed to continue discussions on the aforesaid issue and find an optimal solution to this problem through the course of the parliamentary hearings.
Armenian Facebook users also expressed their opinions in this regard. Some of their publications are given below:
“Recognition of the driver’s license is, in no way, related to the issue of granting official status to the Russian language. It’s unlikely to improve the drivers’ language skills. Maybe we should start thinking of translating the driver’s license, that’s it…otherwise they may come up with some other pretext for granting Russian language an official status.”
“How has the Armenian authorities responded to that? It would have been more appropriate to answer as follows: no one should even dare raise such an issue…”
“They have become so impudent that they even take liberties to touch upon such an acute issue for our nation. And that is done only to allow people to work as drivers.”
“Oh, that would be a manifestation of endless love! Thank you.”
“Let our citizens, who are going to work in Russia, take the Russian language test, and if they meet the language requirements, they should be allowed to work. Whereas granting Russian the status as an official language in Armenia doesn’t fit in logically at all, to say the least of it.”