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Sergey Yugov

Will Serbia survive globalization? - A story about Cyrillic alphabet

Indignant deputies initiate a special protective declaration

Pravda (RU), August 29th 2002

The Serbian mass media report today that deputies of the parliament have submitted a draft Declaration on the protection of the Cyrillic alphabet for consideration of Skupstine. The initiative was caused by the fact that Roman letters are more frequently used in Serbia and Montenegro, which actively forces out the original Serbian written language: the Cyrillic alphabet.

Radio Jugoslavija reports that renunciation of the original written language means reluctance of the society to preserve its cultural values and national identity. Deputies who initiated the declaration think it is a mistake to believe that the Serbian nation will be closer to other nations when it loses its face. Even if Serbs cease to be Serbs, this doesn't mean at all that they will be welcomed by the West.

Professor Risto Trajkovic, one of the authors of the declaration says, Nations are defined by their traditions, written, and spoken languages. Serbian national traditions and customs are becoming more and more obsolete and archaic for us. The language borrows more and more foreign words, and Serbian literature and the Serbian written language are dying off. Together with them, the nation itself is disappearing from the historical scene. The switching of our alphabet to Roman letters is a consequence of a common tendency: universal globalization.

Belgrade's newspaper, Borba, reported that, in accordance with the Serbian Constitution, the Cyrillic alphabet is to be officially used in the country, while it is equal in rights with the Roman alphabet in Montenegro. Despite this fact, the Roman alphabet predominates in different spheres: in the administration, in the names of companies and brands, on road signs, in school textbooks, not to mention the Serbian media.

At the same time, the Serbian government, Academy of Sciences, and mass media take no measures to protect the Cyrillic alphabet. The declaration is designed to remind the governmental authorities that the Constitution should be observed in Serbia; it is to draw theattention of people, the youth first of all, to the problem of the Serbian language dying off. The authors of the declaration advance the slogan Restitution of the Cyrillic alphabet is the return to our origins.

The Russian magazine Echo of the Planet published in its fourth issue this year: The Serbian language is currently Europe's only language that equally uses two alphabets. Books and newspapers, textbooks and hand-books, maps and inscriptions on cans are in both languages. The Cyrillic alphabet is older, as the Roman alphabet came to the Balkans later; however, it is actively advancing. Unfortunately, Serbs are not so much interested now in the study of the Russian cultural heritage and the Russian language. Young people dream of a career in the West and study English, German, and Italian, but not Russian.

Since the break-up of the Soviet Republic of Yugoslavia, and the further destruction of Milosevic's Republic of Yugoslavia, the Serbs have placed their main hopes on the West, not Russia. At the same time, it is painful for Russia to see what is going on in Yugoslavia, because the same negative tendencies are currently obvious in this country as well.

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/08/28/46341.html


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