[lg policy] Ukraine: Yanukovich denies Russian the status of second official language

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Wed Mar 10 14:46:27 UTC 2010

Yanukovich denies Russian the status of second official language
Published 09 March, 2010, 18:40

Edited 10 March, 2010, 14:36

Ukraine’s new president has announced that Ukrainian will remain as
the official language in the country. Meanwhile, the country is set to
“introduce the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages”.

Viktor Yanukovich made these statements during the Shevchenko Prize
award ceremony in Kanev, Cherkassk region. According to the Ukranian
president, awarding the Russian language with official status is a
very difficult process that requires a change in the Constitution,
which states that only Ukrainian is the official language of the

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Several regions on the East and South of Ukraine, where most of the
population speak Russian, said they would like to make Russian as the
second official language in their territories. The President’s Party
of Regions, however, sees a way out by implementing the European
Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. “Taking the European
Charter of Languages as a guide, we have prepared a very good law,
which the President will present in the next 15-20 days. In that draft
law, we give the regions certain rights [in relation to the Russian
language]. If, in certain regions, they don’t want to implement that,
then it’s up to them,” said Boris Kolesnikov, the deputy head of the
Party of Regions.

The President has also stressed the importance of implementing the
Charter. According to Yanukovich, his predecessor’s language policy in
Ukraine “infringed upon the rights of Russian-speaking citizens and
representatives of other nationalities” living in the country. “We
need to correct that situation in the language policy, by implementing
the European Charter for Regional of Minority Languages”, said

However, that is not exactly how Yanukovich promised to solve that
“infringement of the rights of the Russian-speaking population”
previously. In September 2009, Viktor Yanukovich vowed to make Russian
a second official language in the country if he were elected. The same
promise was made during his recent meeting with the Russian President
in Moscow.

Olga Masalkova, RT


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