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Russia to help Ukraine implement new language law

August 29, 2012, 22:15 UTC+3

Russia will help Ukraine implement its new language law, Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov said

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KIEV, August 29 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia will help Ukraine implement its new language law, Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov said.

“We cannot but overlook the new cultural prospects that arise in connection with the adoption in Ukraine of a new law on the basic principles of state language policy,” Zurabov said at a roundtable titled “Ukraine-Russia: Open Dialogue”, held in Kiev on Monday, August 27.

“It is very important for us to know your point of view on what kind of assistance should be provided at the regional level in order to tap the potential of this law to its full extent,” he added.

Zurabov stressed that “Russia understands the challenges to be faced by some regions in Ukraine in the near future”.

He assured the panelists that Russia “will offer the most active and most interested help. And this will not be just regular help but any help if so requested by the Ukrainian side”.

This may mean retraining of specialists, supplying teaching aides or methodological materials or sharing experience of using approaches and methods that have proved effective in Russia such as new technical means and online education.

Since the entry of the law into force, Russian has been given the status of regional language in Sevastopol, in the Dnepropetrovsk, Donetsk, Lugansk, Odessa, Kharkov and Kherson regions. The parliament of the Crimea instructed the peninsula’s government to prepare proposals on the implementation of the language law by October 10.

The provisions of the law become effective after the relevant resolution of the local council to grant the status of regional to the Russian language, which will get such status in 13 of 27 regions.

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.


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