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The law on Russian language provokes a political crisis in Ukraine

July 05, 2012, 12:48 UTC+3

In retaliation the opposition went to the streets

1 pages in this article

MOSCOW, July 5 (Itar-Tass) -  A new political crisis broke out in Ukraine. The pro-government majority in the Verkhovna Rada provoked the crisis with the approval of the law, which provides broader rights for regional languages, primarily the Russian language. In retaliation the opposition went to the streets, Verkhovna Rada Speaker Vladimir Litvin stated about the intentions to resign. Meanwhile, the chances to repeat a new revolution and the change of power are small in the country, the experts believe.

The new law, which the ruling party initiated, retains the status of the state language with the Ukrainian language, but providing the status to regional languages, which are native and are used by no less than ten percent of people, who live on one territory, the Kommersant daily recalled. The opposition in the factions “BYUT- Batkivshchina” and “Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defence” are convinced that the fulfilment of the law will result in the Russian language, which is native and is used by more than ten percent of population in 13 out of 27 administrative territorial entities in Ukraine, will become de facto the second state language.

Verkhovna Rada Speaker Vladimir Litvin, who filed resignation on Wednesday, turned out to be among the rivals of the new law.

Losing in the parliament, the opposition decided to fight in the streets. Yet, the opposition failed to gather many supporters. People began to meet in the evening on July 3 at the Ukrainian House on the European Square. No more than 2,000-3,000 oppositionists turned up on the square at one moment of time. “So, we failed to gather many people. Although the voters were clearly positioned as those, who support the Ukrainian language and who are against. There will be nothing like running with the hare and hunting with the hounds,” a leader of the opposition regretted to the Kommersant daily.

A behind-closed-doors meeting between Viktor Yanukovich and the leadership of the parliament and the leaders of the factions was held in the presidential administration on Wednesday. The president put it clearly immediately that he does not intend to go into compromises, stating that if the situation in Rada does not stabilize, “it is necessary to pass to the procedure of early parliamentary elections.” Meanwhile, the newspaper reported that the current makeup of the Verkhovna Rada will work within few months, as parliamentary elections are scheduled on October 28.

The experts noted that there was nothing like that in the Ukrainian practice of lawmaking. The deputies violated the requirements of the regulations, neglected the work of the specific committee, which was entitled to prepare the document for the second reading by Thursday, and even did not recall about 2,000 initiatives to the bill that were needed to debate before the voting, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily reported. There was neither presentation nor the debates on the document nor the time for questions to its authors. Dropping all the planned procedures officials from the ruling party stated that they approved a scandalous law in that reading, which it was submitted to the parliament.

“The law only gave the reason to show discontent over the policy of the executive authorities in general, which grew in various strata of the society, even those, who do not oppose concretely this law,” the RBC daily quoted head of the Ukrainian bureau of the Centre of Political Technologies Georgy Chizhov as saying. He noted that the law does not solve any vital issues and is particularly unsuitable for the ruling party, as its rivals are only mobilizing, and potential supporters of the Party of Regions will hardly take this law as something necessary and useful in eastern Ukraine.

“There is a very suitable for the whole Ukrainian political elite the issue of language, which they will drag out in all the ways, and even if Viktor Yanukovich signs the law, it will be challenged in the Constitutional Court,” director of the International Institute of Political Expertise Yevgeny Minchenko believes. According to him, the response of the society to the law is acceptable for the Party of Regions, because “it sets aside the agenda of the elections from a deplorable Ukrainian socio-economic situation to humanitarian issues.”

“It is more suitable for the authorities to hold early elections, because they are ready to this in terms of finances and infrastructure, and the opposition hopes for October, now we have very serious problems with the candidates on single-mandate constituencies,” Minchenko noted. “If the scenario of early elections to the Verkhovna Rada is realized, the authorities will be in the privileged position, and in case of a decent election campaign the incumbent authorities have all chances to gain the constitutional majority,” the political expert believes.

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