top of page

Language law in Ukraine

ВІД РЕДАКЦІЇ: До редакції УВ продовжують надходити листи із думками читачів стосовно “мовного питання”, спровокованого прийняттям Закону про регіональні мови в Україні. Сьогодні публікуємо лист від нашого читача Тараса Дмитра Кривоноса. (Авторський текст мовою оригіналу – англ.) Традиційно запрошуємо читачів до дискусії в коментарях.


T. Dmytro Kryvonis 

Russian-speaking demonstrators in Ukraine speak of hardship and discrimination. Problems mentioned can be taxing, but it is important to point out that the language problem is not as detrimental as the Russian-speaking communities present.

In hospitals and in courts Russian is frequently used where individuals are not familiar with Ukrainian. The problem arises when the individual insists of not “understanding” Ukrainian, which results in needless delays. Not all documents in courts need to be translated into Russian, again, unless the individual insists that the Ukrainian language is not “understood” by him.

It needs to be realized that in Eastern Ukraine services are not provided by banks, police stations and other places where the customer prefers to speak Ukrainian. Ukrainian is called the “pig’s language”. Such discrimination against Ukrainian-speaking individuals must be stopped, but it will not, if the new law comes into effect. In fact, such behavior will intensify.

I must point out that I have not heard anyone calling the Russian language any derogatory names, but we must realize that Russian language as such is a Bulgarian dialect or, if you prefer, the ancient church language that changed over the centuries. Great Russians, to distinguish them from Chechens and others, are not descendants of Slavic tribes, they are descendents of Hungero-Finnish tribes and their native tongue would have been in that family of nations. It is not difficult to speculate why their ancient leaders chose a Slavic language for their subjects, but that does not make them a Slavic nation or for that matter any better or worse for wear.

Ukraine is flooded with inexpensive Russian publications. Ukrainian publications are more expensive due to “publication laws” and restricted in availability.

The question that arises is who is subsidizing Russian literature in Ukraine and for what purpose? Some legislator from Eastern Ukraine said that Ukrainian language should compete with other languages in the land. Is the German, French or Russian language competing with other languages in those respective countries? Availability of Russian publications should be restricted to 25% of Ukrainian literature since there are no more than 25% ethnic Russians in Ukraine.

Some individuals claim that Russian tourists have problems in parts of Ukraine. But what about visiting Italy, Greece, Germany or for that matter Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, or the Czech republic? Ukrainians are softhearted and they tend to be less firm than the Poles, Czechs and others when it comes to speaking the local language, especially when it comes to Russian. Would the Poles have given a 25 year lease for the Russian fleet in Gdansk harbor?

In Donetsk region, as an example, there are 1058 primary schools, of these 402 are Ukrainian, 478 are bilingual and 178 Russian-teaching. In the regional center of Donetsk there are 18 Ukrainian, 78 Russian and 63 bilingual. There need not be any Russian-teaching schools in Ukraine except where parents express a desire for bilingual schools. According to the New York Times there are about 8,000,000 Ukrainians in Russia. How many are Ukrainian teaching schools, or for that matter, bilingual schools? Apparently none!

Russian-speaking communities in Ukraine are looking for special treatment. But they should be treated like minorities are treated in Russia and other neighboring countries. Regrettably, leniency will unquestionable have damaging effect on the native language of Ukrainians and Ukraine’s long-term sovereignty.

The Ukrainian language was suppressed for far too long to be generous now to the people, whose government was so brutal in suppressing the Ukrainian language for generations. Russians in Ukraine do not want to be regarded as a “minority,” but they are.

0 views0 comments


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page