[lg policy] Ukrainian Opposition Protests Russian Language Bill

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jun 6 14:44:53 UTC 2012

Ukrainian Opposition Protests Russian Language Bill
Topic: Status of the Russian language in Ukraine

© REUTERS/ Gleb Garanich

21:43 05/06/2012
KIEV, June 5 (RIA Novosti)

A few dozen opposition activists on Tuesday started a picket of
Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, to protest a bill
significantly enhancing the status of the Russian language in the

“We are starting an indefinite picket of parliament and demand that
this draft law not be adopted in the second reading,”
BYT-Batkivshchyna parliamentary faction deputy Yuriy Odarchenko told

©Sergei Tyshkovets

Russian Language Bill Opponents Clash with Police in Kiev

The Rada on Tuesday adopted the bill “On the basics of language
policy” in the first reading. If the draft law is adopted as a whole,
Russian will acquire the status of a regional language in regions
where it is the native tongue for at least 10 percent of the
population, or 13 out of Ukraine’s 27 administrative-territorial
entities, including the cities of Kiev and Sevastopol.

Under the bill, Ukrainian would actually remain the only state
language, but restrictions would be lifted on the use of other
languages spoken in the country, including Russian, Bulgarian,
Romanian and Hungarian, granting them official regional status.

During his election campaign, President Viktor Yanukovych pledged to
make Russian, a native tongue for many Ukrainians, a second state

Russian is still used in much of Ukraine, especially in the east,
Crimea and the capital Kiev, and there is a strong movement to protect
the rights of Russian speakers. The bill allows the parliament,
government, and other legislative and executive bodies to publish
their decisions in the regional language, and enables TV companies to
broadcast in that language.

The bill was passed by 234 votes with a required minimum of 226.

The parliamentary opposition vowed to block the second reading of the
bill, and members of the opposition factions walked out of the Supreme
Rada in protest against it.

The authors of the bill maintain that it preserves the status of
Ukrainian as the only state language.

However, the opposition regards it as a ploy by the ruling party,
ahead of parliamentary elections, due in October, to deepen divisions
between the country’s Ukrainian and Russian speakers.

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