Updated at 15:24,15-04-2021

Racing cyclist Vasil Kiryienka: Belarusian language is ‘dead’


Vasil Kiryienka, the best Belarusian racing cyclist and member of the British team Sky Procycling, has called the Belarusian language ‘dead’. He sees no sense in Belarusization, he told Radio Liberty. The sportsman can speak Spanish, Italian and a bit of English.

"My attitude to Belarusian is contradictory,” Kiryienka said. “I spend a lot of time in Spain near the Basque Country. It is not an official administrative unit but its inhabitants think otherwise and are trying to distinguish themselves from Spain: they speak their own language. I would like to learn their language more than Belarusian. Why? I am sorry if it sounds offensive, but Belarusian is a dead language. Hardly anyone speaks it. Children are forced to study it at school. My daughter has to study it too. I am against it. If they ask me whether it should be done I will say no.”

The sportsman studied Belarusian at school too and was good at it. However, he has never needed it since he graduated. “I only used it when speaking to Poles because they understood Belarusian. I have never needed it anywhere else. Trying to revive something that is dead is unnecessary,” the cyclist noted.