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Kiev lawmaker initiates bill banning use of Russian in public places

The bill binds to use Ukrainian as a working language in all establishments in Kiev

KIEV, March 21. /TASS/. A Ukrainian nationalist lawmaker has come up with an initiative to ban the use of the Russian language in public places.

Yuri Sirotyuk, a member of the Kiev City Council, or legislature, with the nationalist party Svoboda (Freedom), has initiated a bill titled "On overcoming the consequences of the Soviet occupation in the language sphere," Ukraine’s media outlet Vesti said on Monday.

The bill binds to use Ukrainian as a working language in all establishments in Kiev. Apart from that, advertising is to be in Ukrainian only whereas foreign languages are to be transliterated in Ukrainian. Under the bill, the use of any language other than Ukrainian by employees of service establishments can be seen as a breach of consumer rights.

Experts however says such restrictions may trigger negative reaction in society, Nevertheless, they don’t rule out the Kiev City Council will ultimately pass this bill.

"PR aside, where can we take so many people, say, for the services sector, who know Ukrainian well enough? Even some of our ministers don’t know Ukrainian," Vadim Karasev, a political analyst, said.

According to a recent survey conducted by Vesti Reportera, among those Ukrainian official who poorly speak Ukrainian are Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenuyk. Public opinion polls demonstrate that only 18% of Kiev residents have been using Ukrainian at home until recently. As many as 48% of respondents said they use Russian whereas 34% use both language depending on the situation.