Friday September 1 8:24 AM ET
Russia Region Drops Cyrillic Letters
MOSCOW (AP) - One of Russia's largest republics marked the start of the new
school year Friday by dropping Cyrillic in favor of the Latin alphabet, in
part because it wants closer ties with Europe.
Schools in Tatarstan will now use the Latin alphabet for written work in the
local Tatar language, spokeswoman Zukhra Minekhanova said. The transition
from Cyrillic will take 10 years, she said.
Tatarstan, located 470 miles east of Moscow, has a population of 4 million
and is better off then most republics because of its considerable oil
deposits. It has been prominent in shirking central control from Moscow and
the adoption of the Latin alphabet will underline the trend.
President Vladimir Putin has been seeking to restore tight central control
over the republics that make up the Russian federation.
Minekhanova said the change was necessary because Cyrillic was not capable
of transliterating all the sounds in Tatar and because it would make
European culture more accessible to students.
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