Russian language instead of Swedish
January 16, 2013 the President of Finland Sauli Niinistö visited the city of Lappeenranta (Finland Eastern Province), where he spoke at the local University of Technology. In his speech, Niinistö, in particular, touched the demands of the residents of the region to introduce instead a Swedish study Russian language in local schools. Niinistö recognized that in modern Finland knowledge of the Russian language in demand due to the development of tourism and trade between the two countries.
According to the president of Finland, the knowledge of Russian language is a prerequisite to maximize the economic and cultural opportunities Russia — Finland’s eastern neighbor. Niinistö emphasized the importance of knowledge of the Russian language in modern Finland. However, according to the president, they do not replace the study of the Swedish language in Finnish schools. "Finland has to deal in all directions, at 360 degrees, also in Swedish, which is the second official language of Finland and the need for dialogue with our western neighbors, Sweden and Norway. But do not oppose the Swedish and Russian.’s In our interest to offer young people a maximum of opportunities for success, "- said Niinistö.
City of Lappeenranta is located on the border with Russia and is Finland’s administrative, economic and cultural center of the province of South Karelia. In 2011, six municipalities in Eastern Finland — Lappeenranta, Imatra, Mikkeli, Savonlinna, Pieksämäki and Tohmajärvi applied for introduction in their schools for five-year pilot project in which the study of the Swedish language, starting from the 7th grade, it would be replaced by a study of the Russian language. In February 2011, the Ministry of Education of Finland rejected this proposal.
According to Finnish edition Iltalehti, according to the survey, about 90% of the population in Eastern Finland is in favor of replacing the lessons learned Swedish to Russian language in high school.
On the eve of the president’s speech Niinistö in Lappeenranta their opinion on the issue was expressed by former Prime Minister of Finland Paavo Lipponen. January 15, 2013, he spoke in an interview with the replacement Iltalehti Swedish Russian in school courses. Lipponen believes that the Finnish language law guarantees the provision of equal opportunities for all in the labor market in Finland and the other Nordic countries. He stressed that learning Russian and other languages should not be to the detriment of Swedish. "Bilingualism — a part of the Finnish Cultural Heritage" — believes the former prime minister.
In Finland, according to a special law passed in 1922, the two official languages — Finnish and Swedish. According to official statistics, by the end of 2011, the strength of the Swedish minority in Finland amounted to about 291 million people (5.38%) in the total population of the country of 5.4 million people. Argues that 5.4% of the Finnish population are Swedish. However, in the east of Finland, he almost did not run. Since 1809, following the accession of the Duchy of Finland to Russia and to the Russian language in 1917, along with the Finnish and Swedish, was the official language in Finland.