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Putin Calls for Less 'Latinization' of Russian Language

A woman walks past a shop window at a shopping mall in central Moscow.

President Vladimir Putin has called for an end to the "excessive Latinization" of Russian words, expressing support for a lawmaker's initiative to cut down on the use of borrowed foreign terms in the Russian language.

"When you arrive in certain cities, you immediately see the level of culture of local officials if in every corner the names of various institutions, advertisements, are exclusively in Latin letters. What country are we living in?" Putin said at a meeting of the State Council and the Council on Culture and Art, according to a transcript posted Wednesday on the Kremlin website.

"The French won't change 'bistro' to 'cafe' just like that. There are some words that are just settled … We need to examine this more closely and attentively," Putin was cited as saying.

State Duma Deputy Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a flamboyant personality who campaigned this year for the appointment of a new Russian tsar, has persistently criticized the use of borrowed words in Russian.

According to Zhirinovsky, there is no need for words like "dealer," "trader" and "manager" — words taken from English that have replaced their original Russian counterparts.

In July, Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party submitted a draft bill to the State Duma banning the use of foreign words. It received very little support at the time.

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