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Interim special commission on language law gets down to work in Ukraine

March 04, 23:02 UTC+3 KIEV
A decision has been taken to include representatives of all regions of the country in its expert group
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© ITAR-TASS

KIEV, March 04, /ITAR-TASS/. Interim specialized commission in charge of drafting a law on languages in Ukraine that was set up by a decision of the Verkhovna Rada has held the first session here.

It is chaired by Rada’s deputy speaker Ruslan Koshulinsky, a member of the parliamentary faction of the far-right nationalistic Svoboda party. A decision has been taken to include representatives of all regions of the country in its expert group.

Commission members spent the first session determining a list of materials that will be used in the process of drafting the new law. The next sessions has been scheduled for March 11.

Ukraine’s previous law on regional languages, which guaranteed Russian the status of a regional language in the regions where it was spoken by more than 10% of the population, was adopted in the autumn of 2012 but the Verkhovna Rada revoked it in a brisk motion February 23, 2014, when it formalizing the coup to unseat President Viktor Yanukovich.

The move that was received mild rebukes from EU institutions added fuel to the tensions in the industrialized eastern and southern regions of the country, where the population has high levels of education and predominantly speaks Russian as the mother tongue.

According to various estimates, about 24% citizens of Ukraine are native speakers of Russian or use it as a medium of everyday communications. Provisions of the previous law made it possible for thirteen of the country’s total twenty-seven regions to declare Russian a regional language, which meant in could be used at general schools in the process of instruction, at the agencies of law enforcement, healthcares institutions, cultural organizations, and agencies of local self-government.

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