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The purpose of this article is to analyze migrational activity in the post-Soviet space, changes in ethnic composition in the CIS countries and their role in peculiarities of preservation, functioning and representations about the Russian language, its main characteristics and proficiency among population from CIS countries. Empirical data was collected during the sociological research, fulfilled in 2017 in six countries members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS): Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, n = 1400. Information-gathering methods included formal interviews in the place of residence of population aged 18 to 75 years. Several indicators were used to achieve the goal: representations about the Russian language; assessment of the role of the Russian language; main characteristics of the Russian language; Russian language proficiency. The article states that in considering principal peculiarities of functioning of Russian in the post-Soviet space demographic indicators such as number of population, number of ethnic groups, proportion of Russian and indigenous population in CIS countries, changes in number of Russians after the dissolution of the USSR, external migration indicators should be taken into account. It was concluded that the Russian language proficiency is important for its preservation and functioning on the territory of CIS countries, the Russian language is well preserved in Belarus, at the middle level in Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and at the lowest level in Tajikistan. The popularity of Russian in respondents’ evaluations is determined by non-linguistic factors and characteristics and associated with successful foreign policy of Russia and development of economic and trade relations of Russia with other countries. The development of the tourist sector and attractiveness of Russia for immigration are significant catalysts of interest towards the Russian language, influence of targeted programs, aimed at enhancing the positions of the Russian language and popularization of the Russian culture is estimated as less significant. Attractiveness of Russia for immigration, increase of migration streams are important incentives for development and preservation of the Russian language.
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