Ukrainian language law intentionally discriminates half of Ukraine’s population

Summary

It is not just about strengthening the state language in Ukraine. The new law is about discriminating against half of the country’s population.

The law is directed against the Russian-speaking population, first of all, Russians, who are actually forbidden to speak their native language everywhere except at home. And this is almost half the population of the country.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine and discrimination against Russian speakers.

The Verkhovna Rada passed, on April 25, the law "on ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state language".  The law establishes mandatory use of the Ukrainian language in most areas of public and communal life, including the mass media, education, science, etc.

However, the law does not forbid the use of Russian or other languages in private communication and religious ceremonies.  Moreover, Russian and other languages can be present in book publishing, the press, including radio and television, education and the service sector. The law allows the use of other languages in the healthcare system and in law enforcement.

In addition to this, the law stipulates that in accordance with the European Charter for Regional Languages and Languages of National Minorities, the government should develop a law safeguarding language-rights of the minorities within six months of the language law entering into force.

For discrimination of the Ukrainian language, including in favour of Russian, administrative responsibility is given.  In the humanitarian sphere - education, science, culture, sports - for violating language policy, there is a fine of 200-300 times the non-taxable minimum wage (now it is from 3400-5100 hryvnias).n The entry into force is delayed for three years.

Similar disinformation cases are here and here.

For background on the Ukrainian language laws, see here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 151
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 19/05/2019
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Ukraine, Russian language
  • Outlet: Ukraina.ru
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