Space for all? European perspectives on minority languages and identity
  • ISSN 1878-9714
  • E-ISSN: 1878-9722
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The children’s reader, Udmurtiia naveki s Rossiei, celebrates the “450th anniversary of the voluntary entry of Udmurtia into the Russian State structure”. Published in Russian, one of its aims is to familiarize young children (aged 10 and under) with “key events” in Udmurt-Russian relations leading up to the inclusion of Udmurt-inhabited areas in the Russian Empire; emphasizing throughout the absence of inter-ethnic conflict in a “multi-ethnic Udmurtia”. Drawing on history, corpus linguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis, we show how the official representations of Udmurtia and Udmurts, as presented in the reader, fail to provide them with a distinct ethnic voice – separate from Russia – within today’s Russian Federation. Specific attention is paid to the consequences of using ‘unity’ as an argument for achieving ethno-linguistic equality via a Russian civic identity; the way(s) in which this serves the Russian government’s agenda; and its effect on the construction of Udmurt identity.


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