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West Ukraine's Lviv speaks Russian for one day in solidarity with country east

February 26, 2014, 12:52 UTC+3 LVOV

Ukrainian speaking regions protest against ban of Russian as a regional language

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© ITAR-TASS/Vitaly Grabar

LVOV, February 26. /ITAR-TASS/. Residents of Lviv, a city in western Ukraine where there is a greater affinity with Europe, will speak Russian on Wednesday in solidarity with the country’s mostly Russian-speaking east and south.

The move was initiated by activists who don’t want “that dishonest people in the Ukrainian parliament use their status to split Ukraine”.

A headband on the city website writes “I will be speaking Russian at home, at work, on transport and with friends – everywhere, on February 26, in solidarity with residents of eastern and southern regions”.

The parliament’s abolition of the law On Principles of State Language Policy has been taken negatively in Lviv. A local publishing house has decided to publish a book in Russian for the first time since it opened 11 years ago, its editor-in-chief Maryana Savka told Tass. It will be a book by Zoya Kazanzhi, a writer from Odessa, a city in southern Ukraine.

After the Ukrainian parliament abolished the law, several languages, including Russian, have lost their status of regional languages. “Parliamentarians chose an absolutely wrong timing for that. Rejection of regional languages is a hasty decision that can separate people within one and the same country,” she said

“Speculations about the language policy of Ukraine always emerged at the time when regimes changed. This is an invented problem. It is not for the first time that politicians are trying to set the cat among the pigeons,” Maryana Savka said.

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