KHARKOV, August 20 (Itar-Tass) —— Kharkov’s City Council supported the Law “On the Basic Principles of State Language Policy” at its extraordinary session on Monday, August 20.
Opposition members were not present at the meeting, which did not reflect on the quorum and the voting was valid. The MPs said that Russian was more commonplace in Kharkov than Ukrainian.
The Council adopted an appeal to the president, in which it said that “real processes in the state indicate a violation of constitutional guarantees for free development and use of the Russian language in Ukraine”.
MPs said that the Law “On the Ratification of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages” is not implemented in full; “the use of the Russian language is artificially limited in state local self-government bodies, in judiciary, in preschool and educational institutions”.
According to a national census of 2001, 66 percent of people in the Kharkov region said Russia was their native language.
The appeal was adopted by a 73-2 vote with one abstention.
Ukraine has the world's largest Russian-language community. More than 8.2 million people consider themselves Russian, and almost 15 million people say Russian is their native language.
The Russian language has been officially allowed to be used for court proceedings in Ukraine.
Court proceedings in Ukraine were conducted only in Ukrainian from September 1, 2005 and until July 7, 2010. Those who do not know it had to hire an interpreter. This problem was particularly sensitive in the eastern regions of the country and the Crimea. The Party of Regions spoke up immediately against “linguistic violence" and said "the judicial system has been paralysed by violations of the principle of direct participation and free assessment by all parties involved in court proceedings”.
Under the previous presidential administration, the Verkhovna Rada adopted 43 laws that excluded the Russian language from public life.
Teaching in universities in 19 Ukrainian regions where half of the population speak Russian is conducted in Ukrainian. There are no Russian-language schools in six regions, and four regions have only one each.
According to the lawmaker, the Russian language has been barred from radio, television, films, and business. “The future of our children is not enviable” in such a situation, he added.
Newspapers and magazines can be published in Russian only if they “service the needs of ethnic minorities”. And if their circulation exceeds 50,000 copies, half of that amount will have to be printed in Ukrainian.
The Ukrainian Association of Periodical Press Publishers protested attempts to “Ukranise” the printed media. “Forced introduction of the Ukrainian language in printed media is disrespect, primarily for the readers who pay their own money to be able to read in the language they want,” the association said.