Ukraine: Ukrainian as main state language, but not only official language

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri Aug 11 12:59:39 UTC 2006, 19:49 | 10/ 08/ 2006

KIEV, August 10 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's government will revise the 2006
budget before the end of the year, the country's new prime minister said
Thursday. Viktor Yanukovych told a news conference that estimates by the
Party of Regions, which he leads, pointed to a budget deficit of around 6
billion hryvnias ($1.2 billion). "We must review the 2006 budget and make
preparations for the winter period before the year's end," he said.

The pro-Russian politician had previously served as Ukraine's prime
minister under former president Leonid Kuchma. During his time in office,
the country saw strong economic growth that has not been equaled since.
Yanukovych also said the Cabinet would develop a program for the country's
strategic development over the next five years.

The premier, whose first language is Russian, highlighted the problem of
discrimination against the Russian language in Ukraine. "We must create
conditions to give people who are used to speaking Russian the possibility
of using it in their everyday lives," he said, adding that the Ukrainian
language should also be developed in the Russian-speaking southeastern
regions of Ukraine. Yanukovych called for a well-balanced state language
policy. "It is in our interests for our children to have a very good
knowledge of Ukrainian," he said.

The status of the Russian language, along with NATO membership, was one of
the hotly-debated issues that delayed the signing of a national unity
agreement by President Viktor Yushchenko and parliamentary leaders before
Yanukovych's appointment as prime minister last Friday. The sides
eventually agreed to keep Ukrainian as the main state language, without
entrenching it as the only official language.


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