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Russia’s Krasnodar Bans Signs in Foreign Languages

Cafe signs in Krasnodar. Dmitry Sklyarenko (CC BY 3.0)

Authorities in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar on Monday banned the use of foreign languages on public signage, local media reported.

Krasnodar's legislative assembly voted in the new rules, which will come into effect on Sept. 1. 

Mayor Yevgeny Naumov said that the changes would help unite “the architectural appearance of the regional capital in a single style.”

Russian officials often call for restrictions on the use of foreign languages, but, since the start of the war in Ukraine, such ideas have gained new traction as the government casts itself as protecting Russian culture from Western influence. 

Only officially registered trademarks will be excluded from the new requirements in Krasnodar.  

Once the rules come into effect, businesses will have a year to install replacement signs. 

Naumov said in March that the political situation in Russia made the presence of signs in foreign languages “not very patriotic.”

“In London, Washington, 90% of signs are probably not in Russian,” he told local media at the time, claiming that “every second” business owner in Krasnodar would be happy to change their signs to Russian. 

Earlier this year, President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning government officials from using foreign words in official documents and correspondence.

The only exception to the law was “foreign words which do not have widely used corresponding equivalents in Russian.”

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