KIEV, August 8 (Itar-Tass) —— Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich will sign the language law endorsed by the parliament and propose to make amendments, Presidential Advisor, head of the Presidential Administration’s Main Department on Humanitarian and Sociopolitical Affairs Anna German said on Tuesday.
“Amendments initiated by the president will do away with the disagreements,” she noted. In her words, the amended law would not split the society. “I think the law will be signed, and the amendments will be endorsed in September,” she said.
Yanukovich thinks that all the parliament factions will vote for the amendments, German said. She noted that the president had ordered Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov to form a working group for elaborating a state target program in support of the Ukrainian language. “This program may be more important than anything else. It will make impossible any dangers that may come from the language law,” the advisor said.
The president also suggested forming a supervisory council to watch for the fulfillment of the state target program for the development of the Ukrainian language.
The Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada adopted on July 3 a bill on fundamentals of the state language policy, which provided the regional language status to Russian in 13 out of 27 Ukrainian regions. The law preserves the Ukrainian language as the only state language but broadens the rights of languages of national minorities, as well. The document says that the region, where more than 10% of residents belong to a national minority, shall have the special status of the language of that national minority.
The law makes the Russian language will become the regional language in 13 out of 27 Ukrainian regions – Dnepropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zaporozhye, Lugansk, Nikolayev, Odessa, Sumy, Kharkov, Kherson, Chernigov, the Crimea, the cities of Kiev and Sevastopol. The Crimean Tatar language will be the regional language in the Crimea. The Hungarian language will become the regional language in the trans-Carpathian region, and the Romanian language will become the regional language in the Chernovtsy region. Other languages of traditional national minorities of Ukraine will be protected in lesser administrative territorial units.
The law caused protests in Ukraine. The opposition said it was adopted with significant violations because no amendments had been discussed and the voting rules were abused.
Experts said that certain provisions of the language law disagreed with the Ukrainian constitution and international documents ratified by Ukraine, among them the European Charter of Regional and National Minority Languages.
The State Duma welcomed the law. “Russia is interested in the maximum high status of the Russian language which millions of our compatriots in Ukraine speak and think,” Chairman of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs and Relations with Compatriots Leonid Slutsky said.
“The language question is a purely sovereign affair of Ukraine and it needs to be solved with due account of the opinion of the national population,” Slutsky said. He noted, at the same time, that the official status of the Russian language “will be an additional incentive for the development of Russian-Ukrainian relations and integration on the post-Soviet space.”