Ukrainian soon the only language in Ukraine?

The parliament in Kiev has approved on its first reading a language law that makes the use of the Ukrainian language obligatory in all public areas. For some the law is a necessary step on the path to sovereignty for Ukraine. Others warn against the consequences of a repressive language policy.

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Ukrayinska Pravda (UA) /

The end of colonisation

The language law is an inevitable component of Ukraine's struggle against colonisation, Vice Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kyrylenko writes in Ukrayinska Pravda:

“There is nothing more important, because where our language is, Ukraine is too, but where it isn't, it is occupied! The Ukrainian language is the key to a new Ukrainian identity. ... The parliament has activated the irreversibility mechanism for the decision on the proposed law on the Ukrainian language - it will also be voted on in its entirety. Just as other steps are being taken in the process of de-colonisation which is of strategic importance for our country. And neither the Kremlin nor its political agents in Ukraine can dissuade us from taking this path.”

Vesti (UA) /

A dictatorial step against minority rights

Political scientist Andrey Yermolayev, on the other hand, predicts in the Russian-language daily Vesti that the language law will trigger conflicts in Ukrainian society:

“In particular this law could demotivate the citizens. The philosophy, ideology and norms behind it stand in contradiction to Ukraine's fundamental principles, its cultural policy, the media and minority rights. ... Everything that formed the basis of Ukraine's development is being destroyed by a dictatorial decision that curtails citizens' rights. ... This decision could become a catalyst for conflicts involving the rights of minorities, including the Hungarian and Romanian minorities. All in all this draft law sends a negative signal.”

hvg (HU) /

Rifts deepening between Hungary and Ukraine

The language law is causing nothing but problems also as far as foreign policy is concerned, writes hvg:

“The tensions between Hungary and Ukraine are growing. They began when the law was put forward as a proposal, and have increased during the recent discussions regarding dual nationality. On Thursday afternoon Ukraine expelled the Hungarian consul in Berehove. ... In response, Hungarian foreign minister Péter Szíjjártó announced that he had summoned the Ukrainian ambassador in Budapest and demanded that one of the Ukrainian consuls working in Hungary leave the country within 72 hours.”