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Stabilization and symbolism: language and regional politics in the Chuvash Republic

  • Kyle L. Marquardt (a1)
Abstract

The government of the Chuvash Republic, an ethno-federal region of the Russian Federation, used a targeted and symbolic language policy in an attempt to stabilize the position of the republic's titular language while avoiding conflict with local Russophones and the Russian federal government. The resulting policy allowed the republic's government to frame the existence of an autonomous Chuvash republic – as well as the local elite's form of governance – as being essential to the preservation of the Chuvash language and thus the Chuvash people. In this way, it used language politics to strengthen its position vis-à-vis both local constituents and the Russian federal government. However, the limited nature of the government's program has made its gains tenuous in the face of continuing Russian political and cultural recentralization.

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