What We Lose When We ‘Cancel’ Russian
After the Ukraine Invasion, Enrollment in the Language Hit Historic Lows. But Turning Away Isolates the Entire Post-Soviet World
Feeling decisive one morning during my sophomore year of college, I picked my major: Russian. I had been studying the language and was excited for the opportunity to read literature, learn about another part of the world, and become bilingual. I updated my student profile on the university’s website and marched triumphantly to the cafeteria for lunch.
There, I ran into an acquaintance and told him the news. He looked at me quizzically, then scornfully. “You realize it’s not the Cold War anymore, right?” he said.
With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine almost …