[lg policy] Ukraine: Parliament passes at first reading language bill submitted by Regions Party faction

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jun 6 14:41:51 UTC 2012

Parliament passes at first reading language bill submitted by Regions
Party faction


The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, has passed at first reading
a bill on the principles of state language policy. According to an
Interfax-Ukraine reporter, a total of 234 MPs voted for the bill on
Tuesday. At the request of the oppositional factions, a thirty-minute
break was announced in the sitting of the parliament. As reported,
numerous protesters, as well as supporters of the adoption of the
bill, gathered near the parliament on Tuesday morning.

According to the constitution, Ukrainian is the state language in the
country. At the same time, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in
his presidential campaign and the Regions Party promised to make
Russian the second state language. Some 300 votes are necessary to
amend the constitution.

On May 24, 2012 debates on the language bill, which was submitted by
Regions Party faction MPs Vadym Kolesnichenko and Serhiy Kivalov,
ended with a brawl. Under the bill, Ukrainian is the official
language, while there are also regional or minority languages:
Russian, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Armenian, Gagauz, Yiddish, Crimean
Tatar, Moldovan, German, Greek, Polish, Romani, Rumanian, Slovak,
Hungarian, Rusyn, Karaim and Krymchak.

According to the document, if the number of native speakers of one of
these languages is 10% or more of the population of the territory on
which the language is used, then measures aimed at use of regional and
minority languages will apply.

In separate cases local councils will decide whether a national
minority language can be used if the number of speakers of this
language is not less than 10% on the relevant territory.

The opposition claims that this bill is anti-Ukrainian. A member of
the Our Ukraine-People's Self-Defense parliamentary faction, Oles
Doniy, said that "if this bill becomes a law, you can forget about the
Ukrainian language [being spoken] in cities."


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