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Russian as a commodity: medical tourism and the healthcare industry in post-Soviet Lithuania

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2017
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
Issue number4
Volume20
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)404-416
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date7/12/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

The focus of this paper is on Lithuania, where government policies continue to limit the use of Russian in education, the public space and the media, while the local economy has recognized proficiency in Russian as a commodity. This is particularly salient in the healthcare industry that grew significantly in the past years with patients from post-Soviet countries seeking treatment at local hospitals and private clinics. Marketed for their ‘European’ standards and competitive prices, promotional discourses refer to proficiency in Russian and familiarity with Russian culture and customs among medical staff. This commodification of Russian challenges perceptions on the value of language in the formation of political and cultural identities, pointing towards a paradigmatic shift and renegotiation of language attitudes in countries of the former USSR.