Uzbekistan Table of Contents
As with ethnic patterns and boundaries of post-Soviet Uzbekistan, the dominant native language, Uzbek, is in many ways a creation of the Soviet state. Indeed, until the beginning of the Soviet period, the languages spoken among the native population presented a colorful and diverse mosaic. Under Soviet rule, officially at least, this mosaic was replaced by Uzbek, which almost overnight became the official language of the Turkic population of the republic. But Russian, which at the same time was declared the "international language" of Uzbekistan, was favored above even Uzbek in official usage. Many Russian words made their way into Uzbek because Russian was the language of higher education, government, and economic activity throughout the Soviet era. In the 1980s, Uzbeks began a strong effort to eliminate the recent Russian borrowings from the language. The Latin alphabet was introduced to begin a gradual process of replacing the Cyrillic alphabet. But in the mid-1990s Russian still was widely used in official and economic circles.
Data as of March 1996