Russia's Cultural Committee Wants to Ban 'Foreign' Words

Russia's Cultural Committee has urged the legislature to approve a bill banning the use of foreign words in public speech.

The State Duma's Culture Committee has urged the legislature to approve a bill banning the use of foreign words in public speech in a bid to protect the status of the Russian language, a news report said.

The bill, proposed by lawmakers from the Liberal Democratic Party, or LDPR, would make the use of 'linguistic imports' punishable by a fine of up to 2,500 rubles ($73) for ordinary citizens, and up to 50,000 rubles ($1,460) for companies or organizations, according to the text of the document published on the State Duma's website.

Items such as books containing foreign terms would also be confiscated, the document said.

Dusting off a bill that had been languishing in the legislature for more than a year, the Culture Committee said it would push the issue onto the State Duma's agenda for July 1, and urged lawmakers Wednesday to approve it in the first reading, ITAR-Tass reported Wednesday.

The drive to get the measure passed marks a stark departure from the committee's own position a year ago when it refused to back the LDPR proposal, arguing the Russian language did not need legislative protection from foreign words.

The panel did not elaborate on what caused the U-turn, but it comes amid a general trend of increased government control over everything foreign— tightened after a souring of Russia's relations with the West over Moscow's annexation of Crimea.

Culture Committee deputy chief Vladimir Bortko, a film director and a member of the Communist faction, said the proposal aims to encourage Russians to mind their language, ITAR-Tass reported.

In a phrase such as: "We position our brand in the high middle-class sector," for example, only the Russian word "we" would not have foreign origins, Bortko said, ITAR-Tass reported.

Another example, it seems, would be the name of the Liberal Democratic Party, to which all the authors of the bill belong.

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