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Language policy law submitted to Ukrainian president for signing

July 31, 2012, 20:15 UTC+3

After the law enters into force, Russian will get the status of a regional language in 13 of 27 Ukrainian regions

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KIEV, July 31 (Itar-Tass) —— Speaker of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, or parliament, Vladimir Litvin has signed the law on the principles of the state language policy, which grants the Russian language the status of a regional language, the parliamentary press service reported on Tuesday.

Now the law has been submitted to President Viktor Yanukovich for signing.

Despite his previous pronouncements about the law, which he claimed had been adopted in gross violation of the current laws, Litvin finally signed the law.

Earlier, Litvinov asked resignation in protest to the passage of the law by the majority vote. Lawmakers however did not accept his resignation. “This law cannot be signed. It was passed with violations,” Litvin said on July 6. “It is not the problem of my signature, it is the problem of violations and we should not turn a blind eye on them.”

Analysts however say it would not take long for President Yanukovich to sign the law.

On July 3, the Verkhovna Rada passed the Law “On the Basic Principles of State Language Policy” that significantly broadens the rights of ethnic minorities, while preserving the status of Ukrainian as the only official language in Ukraine.

According to the document, in a region where an ethnic minority makes up more than 10 percent of the population, its language will have a special status.

After the law enters into force, Russian will get the status of a regional language in 13 of 27 Ukrainian regions, including the Dnepropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zaporozhye, Lugansk, Nikolayev, Odessa, Sumy, Kharkov, Kherson, and Chernigov regions, in Crimea, and in the cities of Kiev and Sevastopol. The same status will be awarded to the Crimean Tatar language in Crime, to the Hungarian language in the Zakarpatye region, and to the Romanian language in the Chernovtsy region.

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