LVOV, September 7 (Itar-Tass) — Beregovo city deputies in Ukraine’s trans-Carpathian region voted for the regional language status of Hungarian on Friday.
This is the first time that Ukraine grants the regional language status to any other tongue but Russian. The Beregovo mayor said that 48% of the city population was ethnic Hungarians (12,800 people in all). He also said that the decision did not disagree with the Ukrainian Law on Fundamentals of the State Language Policy.
From now on documents of the Beregovo City Council and Executive Committee and street signs will be done in Ukrainian and Hungarian. The knowledge of both languages will be taken into account in the recruitment of public officials.
The law signed by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich on August 8 still makes waves in the society.
The bill was authored by deputies Sergei Kivalov and Vadim Kolesnichenko. Almost all members of the factions of the Party of Regions, the People’s Party and the Communist Party supported the document.
The bill reaffirms the status of the Ukrainian language as the only state language of the country but also broadens rights of languages of national minorities. For instance, the national minority language acquires a special status in the region, where the national minority constitutes over 10% of the total population.
The Russian language may 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.
People in western Ukraine – the Lvov, Ternopol and Ivano-Frankovsk regions - and Kiev are actively protesting against the formal use of any languages but Ukrainian.