Ukraine's Yushchenko criticizes councils over status of Russian

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sat May 13 15:10:13 UTC 2006

Ukraine's Yushchenko criticizes councils over status of Russian
12/05/2006 17:15

KIEV, May 12 (RIA Novosti) - Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko
considers regional administrations have overstepped their authority by
reinstating Russian as an official language, the president's press
secretary said Friday. Irina Gerashchenko said Yushehcnko disapproved of
decisions made by the Lugansk Region and the Kharkov and Sevastopol city
councils in largely Russian-speaking areas in the country's east and south
to give Russian the status of an official regional language. "The
president expresses his deep concern over these displays of sovereignty,
and believes the local councils have exceeded their authorities in making
these decisions," she said.

The president has sent a letter to Prosecutor General Oleksandr Medvedko
demanding that measures be taken to bring the decisions of the local
councils into line with the country's constitution, Gerashchenko said.
Yushchenko has also asked Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov to accelerate
the process of forming a more efficient system of institutional and legal
provisions for state-language policy, she said. Many Ukrainians speak and
understand Russian, which was the dominant language in the times of the
Soviet Union, but Ukrainian became the country's sole official language
after it declared independence in 1991.

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