KIEV, June 13. /TASS/. The draft law on the countrywide usage of the Ukrainian language in Ukraine and criminal prosecution for its "public scorn" or "neglect" has been registered by the country’s Verkhovna Rada. As the parliamentary press service reported today, 76 Verkhovna Rada deputies took part in the draft law development.
The draft law regulates the functioning of Ukrainian as a state language "in all social spheres across Ukraine," except for "private communication and religious services."
The draft law obliges all Ukrainian residents to have a command of the Ukrainian language, including authorities, deputies, officials of all levels, law enforcement officials, judges and medical experts and to use this language in their work. The requirements to the level of Ukrainian proficiency are established by the National Committee for State Language Standards.
The draft law also stipulates that the Ukrainian language is obligatory for TV and radio broadcasting, print media, news agencies’ products, advertising, education, e-commerce, scientific activities, research and technology activities, museum and exhibition activities, and transport. Besides, this obligation is applied to cultural, creative and entertaining events, as well as technical and design documents. Ukrainian book publishers are required to publish at least 50% of books in the state language.
The draft law stipulates responsibility for "public abasement and neglect of the Ukrainian language" in the form of a 850 hryvnias (over $32) penalty, detention of up to six months or imprisonment of up to three years. Besides, a penalty system for official of all levels for violation of this law in the amount of 3,400-6,800 hryvnias ($130-260) is established.
Ukrainian experts say that the draft law contradicts the country’s constitution and will lead to a split in society. "The draft law has an openly discriminatory character… By using language protection issues and titular nations’ rights as a cover, they (the authorities) are on course to a country breakup," the Vesti daily quoted political expert Andrey Zolotaryov as saying.
Ex-justice minister of Ukraine, Yelena Lukash, called this initiative "nonsense." "I have no doubt that the draft of the forced ukranization will come in force. The parliament is great at limiting rights and destroying everything," she said in her Facebook page.
There are plans to establish the position of an authorized agent for state language protection and a language inspection service consisting of 27 people "to provide adequate control over the maintenance of state language standards.