Leaders of Belarus will never agree to the infringement of the Russian language in the country, Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei said in an interview with the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita.
"Belarus is the only post-Soviet state ... where there are two official languages - Russian and Belarusian. If at the time was not taken such a decision, if we artificially forced people to speak only in the Belarusian language, we would have not even the same, but ten times worse situation than in Ukraine. Never Belarus leadership for such steps will not go ", - quotes RIA" Novosti "words of the Minister.
Asked by the newspaper about the possibility of a limited role of the Russian language to strengthen the identity of the Belarusian people, Mackay said that the development of language and a possible change in their roles in society should occur naturally.
"President Lukashenko has never tried to create artificial conditions for the development of a language. Government policy is to make it all happen naturally. We understand that, starting with the former Soviet times, the vast majority of the population of Belarus spoke in Russian. This situation persists and now ", - the minister said.
At the same time, he acknowledged that "the situation is gradually changing and, indeed, more and more people are trying to say in the Belarusian language." However, Mackay said it is not due to artificial means, and through the creation of normal conditions for a wider use of the Belarusian language. For example, the possibility to increase the number of hours for teaching Belarusian language schools.
"We are in the process of identity formation of the Belarusian nation. And in this respect, of course, we must take care to preserve the Belarusian language, but without making it artificially, without forcing anyone ... under pressure to speak the Belarusian language ", - said Mackay.
According to the newspaper VIEW, according to the Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies at the beginning of the year 2016, 66,6% of Belarusians agree that the Belarusian, Russian and Ukrainian - three branches of the same people. An alternative point of view (different people) supported all 27,1%.
Recall that in late 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putinpodpisal law exempting citizens of Belarus from the need to take the exam on the Russian language and Russian history in obtaining a temporary residence permit or a residence permit in Russia.