Russia bans government officials from using most foreign words

A list of foreign-based words that can still be used will be published separately.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his address dedicated to the Defender of the Fatherland Day in Moscow, Russia, in this picture released February 23, 2023. (photo credit: SPUTNIK/MIKHAIL METZEL/POOL VIA REUTERS)
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his address dedicated to the Defender of the Fatherland Day in Moscow, Russia, in this picture released February 23, 2023.
(photo credit: SPUTNIK/MIKHAIL METZEL/POOL VIA REUTERS)

Russian government officials will be banned from using most foreign words when carrying out their duties, according to an amended law on the formal use of Russian that President Vladimir Putin signed on Tuesday.

Protecting Russia from 'a degenerate West'

Since launching the invasion of Ukraine a year ago, Putin has said he wants to protect Russia from what he calls a degenerate West that he alleges is trying to destroy the country.

 A pro-Ukraine rally in front of the Knesset. The war after Russia invaded Ukraine was one of the events of the year, and here we can see the anguish of Ukrainian Israelis. February 2022. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) A pro-Ukraine rally in front of the Knesset. The war after Russia invaded Ukraine was one of the events of the year, and here we can see the anguish of Ukrainian Israelis. February 2022. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The amendments to the 2005 law are designed to protect and support the status of Russian, according to a text posted on the government's website.

"When using Russian as the state language of the Russian Federation, it is not allowed to use words and expressions that do not correspond to the norms of modern Russian ... with the exception of foreign words which do not have widely-used corresponding equivalents in Russian," says the text.

A list of foreign-based words that can still be used will be published separately. The amendments do not mention any punishments for those who fail to respect the updated law.