[lg policy] Court waives ban on Russian language in Ukrainian schools

r.amirejibi-mullen at QMUL.AC.UK r.amirejibi-mullen at QMUL.AC.UK
Thu Feb 4 12:10:15 UTC 2010

Ukraine’s Constitutional Court has overruled the government’s decree  
which forbid teachers from speaking Russian language in schools.

The controversial language ban was introduced in September last year.  
It said that teachers at state and communal schools in Ukraine could  
not speak any language but Ukrainian when at work, even between lessons.

The court announced on Thursday that the Cabinet had overstepped its  
authority, since only laws produced by legislative bodies can regulate  
the use of languages in schools.

The ruling comes after a request from the Ukrainian parliament.  
Fifty-two deputies asked the Court to provide a legal assessment of  
the decree.

“As it happens, language policies in our country are a sensitive  
issue, especially during an election campaign. But the Constitutional  
Court acted on this case in strict accordance with the Constitution  
and laws and did not seek to politicize the issue in any way,”  
commented Chair of the Court Andrey Strizhak.

Use of Russian language and the attempts of Ukrainian authorities to  
limit it is a major point of dispute in Ukraine. Yulia Timoshenko has  
been pushing for giving privileged treatment to the Ukrainian language  
as befitting the country’s only state language. Her rival at the  
presidential elections, Victor Yanukovich, believes it violates the  
rights of the country’s large Russian-speaking minority and promised  
to make Russian a second state language.


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