UWC appeals to the President and Parliament of Ukraine to stop the attack on Ukrainian…
November 8, 2010
UKRAINIAN WORLD CONGRESS APPEALS TO THE PRESIDENT AND PARLIAMENT OF UKRAINE TO STOP THE ATTACK ON UKRAINIAN AS THE SOLE STATE LANGUAGE
During an official meeting with President Victor Yanukovych in June of this year, the President of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) Eugene Czolij voiced UWC’s deep concern over the de facto introduction of Russian as a second state language in Ukraine. At the meeting the UWC President presented the Memorandum on important issues concerning Ukraine and the Ukrainian Diaspora, which pointed out, among other things, a plan declared by the Party of the Regions Deputy head Boris Kolesnikov to grant Russian state language status and the proposed law “On regional and minority languages” drafted by that party that includes Russian in the list of languages that require protection in Ukraine.
Several months have passed since that meeting, and UWC has not received the promised response to the issues raised in the memorandum. Meanwhile, the Party of the Regions’ intent to attack the Ukrainian language was made clear when the draft law “On languages in Ukraine” was submitted to the Supreme Council on September 7, 2010 by Members of Parliament Oleksandr Yefremov of the Party of the Regions, Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko and Serhiy Hrynevetsky of the Lytvyn Bloc.
The concept underlying the proposed law and most of its provisions contravene The Constitution of Ukraine as they violate the state language policy explicitly declared in the fundamental law. Specifically, the draft law proposes the introduction of different statuses for different languages and the regulation of their use in Ukraine. Towards this end, the proposed law introduces a number of concepts that are not provided for by The Constitution of Ukraine, e.g. “regional language,” “regional language group,” “Ukrainian-Russian bilingualism” and the right to use regional languages instead of the state language.
The proposed law is a gross misapplication of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages whose purpose is protecting languages on the brink of extinction. The proposed law places Russian into the regional language category and will lead to the renewed institutionalization of Russian language in the day-to-day functioning of local governments, educational institutions, the judicial system and media. The proposed law ignores the fact that for several centuries of Ukraine’s domination by the tsarist and Soviet empires, the Russian language was forced into all areas of social and governmental life and enjoyed unfettered expansion. The native language of the Ukrainian people was forced out of use and subject to terrible repressions and pressures. The proposed law “On languages in Ukraine” contravenes a central tenet of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, namely that the protection and development of regional and minority languages should not impair official languages and the requirement to learn them.
UWC calls on President Victor Yanukovych and the Supreme Council to stop the attack on the Ukrainian language as the sole state language and to prevent the adoption of the proposed anti-Constitutional law “On languages in Ukraine” that would impede the development of Ukrainian as the state language and lead to the renewed russification of Ukraine.
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