Since 2016, Saint Petersburg University has been systematically promoting and developing the state system of testing in Russian as a foreign language. Currently, there are 112 testing centres in 48 countries of the world; the scale of their activities is constantly expanding. Last summer, through St Petersburg University’s efforts state testing in Russian as a foreign language received official status in Catalonia (Spain) and the number of people who want to take exams in different parts of the world is steadily growing.
“A number of politicians and other figures go so far in their statements that they propose to abolish Russian culture - not to study the Russian language, not to read Dostoevsky's novels, not to play Tchaikovsky's music. In their opinion, such a measure may cause interest in our country to fall. But these actions have a completely opposite effect,” said Dmitry Ptyushkin, director of the St Petersburg University Language Testing Centre.
"When people realize that the rising level of Russophobia is a completely unnatural, artificial phenomenon that follows from an attempt to take the Russian language and culture hostage to their political goals, their response becomes even more interest in learning the Russian language." - Director of the Language Testing Centre at St Petersburg University Dmitry Ptyushkin
St Petersburg University held a Russian language test in Greece In 2022, the number of TORFL takers increased by 25% in China compared to the first three months of last year, by 55% in Greece, and by about 20% in Italy and Iran. But the growth of interest in the study of the Russian language is observed not only in those states where the University's specialists traditionally work. This year, testing began for the first time in such countries as Yemen, Malaysia, Myanmar, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Turkmenistan, Sri Lanka and Ecuador. A large number of people wishing to test their level of language proficiency appeared in Mexico: more than 30 people applied to the SPbU Language Testing Centre at once. An increase in interest is observed even among citizens of Poland (twice) and the United States (22 people have already passed the exams this year and only two in 2021).
According to Dmitry Ptyushkin, the increase in the number of applicants for TORFL, on the one hand, was a consequence of the efforts that St Petersburg University invested in ensuring people around the world to have the opportunity to learn Russian: the Language Testing Centre of SPbU is widely known as the leading centre in this field. On the other hand, this indicates that, despite the difficulties faced by the Russian language today, people have made their choice and are not going to give up studying it.
People choose the Russian language with their hearts.
"Why is this happening? I believe that residents of foreign countries choose, for example, English for work, and then other less common languages, usually those countries with which historical ties have been preserved. But this is done with a cold mind. And people choose the Russian language with their hearts,” of the Language Testing Centre at SPbU. - This is done primarily in order to read the classics, communicate with friends, and only then study or work. You can't deceive the heart in this sense, and despite the current events, people still choose the Russian language and want to learn it. We are confident that, despite all the existing restrictions, this year we will achieve a better result than last year.”- Director of the Language Testing Centre at St Petersburg University Dmitry Ptyushkin