Ukraine: pro-Russian party to raise language issue in parliament

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sat May 20 16:28:06 UTC 2006

Ukraine pro-Russian party to raise language issue in parliament
18:17 | 19/ 05/ 2006

KIEV, May 19 (RIA Novosti) - A pro-Russian party that won Ukraine's
parliamentary elections in March will bring up national language policy at
the new legislature's first session on May 25, a party representative said
Friday. The issue - and in particular the status of Russian - has become
the subject of heated debate since several pro-Russian regions in eastern
Ukraine, dominated by Russian speakers, and a Black Sea region in the
south granted the Russian language regional status. "The Party of Regions
will bring up Ukraine's language policy for discussion at the first
session of the Supreme Rada," said Yevheniy Kushnaryov of the Party of
Regions political council presidium.

About a quarter of Ukraine's population of some 50 million say Russian is
their native tongue. Kushnaryov said Ukraine needed to clarify its
understanding of the problem and draw up a plan of action. "The nervous
and aggressive reaction of the Ukrainian authorities to the decisions of
regional legislatures in Sevastopol, Kharkov, Lugansk and Donetsk shows
that the Ukrainian government has neither a clear idea of how to resolve
the problem nor any specific plan of action," Kushnaryov said.

He also called for the issue to be settled using legislative means, and
said the Party of Regions had never been against Ukrainian being a state
language. "We will do our best to encourage development of the Ukrainian
language, but this should in no way restrict the use of or discriminate
against the Russian and other languages spoken in Ukraine," Kushnaryov

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