Soviet methods: what will forced Ukrainization

The Verkhovna Rada registered the bill No. 5670 “On state language” governing the use of the Ukrainian language, which has already provoked a storm of discussion in society. The bill proposed to make the Ukrainian language mandatory for the sphere of culture, education, media and the service sector. For the failure of the law of the people’s deputies suggest to fine, and for trying “the introduction of official bilingualism” and public contempt language is jailed. Parliamentarians in response to criticism of the claim that after consideration in the relevant Committee document may change substantially.

Old rake

The last attempt to regulate the use of the Ukrainian language was made when the Verkhovna Rada on 3 July 2012 voted for the scandalous bill “about fundamentals of the state language policy” the ex-people’s deputies from Party of regions Sergey Kivalov and Vadim Kolesnichenko. The law gave official status to the Russian language in several regions of Ukraine. Then, the document caused many arguments and protests, and later in 2014, lie voted for its abolition, however, a decision then is not signed by the acting President of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov. In November 2016 the law engaged in the constitutional court of Ukraine, which deals with the compliance of the document of the Constitution of Ukraine.


Bill No. 5670, registered in the Parliament on 19 January, 33 MPs were proposed to cancel the law Kolesnichenko-Kivalov. On 20 January, the document was submitted for consideration to the relevant Committee. The bill provides to make the Ukrainian language mandatory for all state authorities and local self-government. This applies to meetings, processing of documents, appeals of citizens. In addition, the Ukrainian propose to make it compulsory in pre-school, school, out-of-school and higher educational institutions, as well as for postgraduate education and courses. In the schools and kindergartens are allowed to use languages of national minorities, and in the universities is not provided. University education should be conducted solely in Ukrainian, allowed the presentation of one or more subjects in one of the official languages of the EU. In science also permitted the use of only Ukrainian language. Articles, research papers and theses is allowed to publish either Ukrainian or in one of the official languages of the EU.

The same applies to the sphere of culture. So, all cultural events want to be required to carry out exclusively in the Ukrainian language. Theatre performances in other languages should be accompanied by subtitles in the Ukrainian language. Films are screened in the Ukrainian language or with the appropriate subtitles. All ads, posters and tickets must also be in the state language.

The Ukrainian language is proposed to make mandatory for all media. Transfer in other languages are duplicated on the Ukrainian language. Television and radio are obliged to provide simultaneous translation into the Ukrainian language, if someone of the participants speaks a different language. In some cases printed media may be published on one of the official languages of the European Union.

Electronic media and Internet presence of various companies, including social networks, according to the text of the bill, should be in the Ukrainian language. Media, after all, want to be required to have a page in the Ukrainian language, which should be the default.

The Ukrainian language will make the main and in printing and publishing. Books will be issued only in the state language. At the same time, at the request of the authors they can be published in other languages, but their circulation must not exceed a Ukrainian.

In the field of electronic information systems is also planned a number of innovations. Software user interface must have the interface in the Ukrainian language. Lack thereof as suggested by the authors of the bill, is considered “an essential lack of the goods”.

All public events in Ukraine will also be obliged to carry out in the Ukrainian language. The same applies to the service sector. In stores, restaurants, hotels will be obliged to serve customers in the state language. However, at the request of the customer service language can be changed.

In the field of sports, health, postal, transportation will also be obliged to use exclusively the state language.

It is noteworthy that also want to oblige political parties to use for campaigning, which is done for the money of the state budget, only Ukrainian language. Obliged to speak the state language and the President of Ukraine, the Chairman of the Parliament, the Prime Minister, all Ministers, heads of other Central bodies of Executive power.

The law also stipulates the establishment of a National Commission according to the standards of the state language, which will deal with the protection of the Ukrainian language. For the same purpose envisaged and the introduction of new position of Commissioner for the protection of the state language.

With the implementation of the law will follow a special language inspectors, and for failure to comply with their legal requirements, as well as for violation of the law, the MPs propose to penalize in the amount of 200 to 400 tax-free minimum incomes of citizens (UAH 3400-6800), when talking about the work of the official bodies and public entities, from 200 to 300 (3400-5100 hryvnia) minima in the sphere of education, science and culture, from 400 to 500 non-taxable minimum (6800-8500 hryvnia) for the media.

For attempts to “implementation in Ukraine of official multilingualism” can face criminal liability, since it is equivalent to trying to overthrow the state system (article 109 of the criminal code of Ukraine). Public disrespect to the Ukrainian language is equivalent to the desecration of state symbols of Ukraine (article 338 of the criminal code of Ukraine).

“Scoop” forever

It should be noted that the bill immediately aroused heated discussion in society and social networks. Opinions were divided: some believe that the bill is important and long-awaited, someone called him a forced Ukrainization, Russification comparing with the Communists in the Soviet Union. According to culturologist and philosopher Alexei Panich, the text of the law very much “Soviet”. “Of course, legal regulation of language issues needs to be improved. And development of the Ukrainian language it is necessary to promote. Here, in General, I have with the authors of the project there are no disputes. In the law there are a number of sensible rules, which I personally support. But, however, this bill simply sticks deep, and profoundly “Soviet” — the belief of the authors that “the state” should be wherever lives and acts of the Ukrainian society, and “official language” is an order of speech of the whole society, for a small local exceptions”, — said Panitch.


By the way, now in the Parliament there are two similar bill No. 5556 “about languages in Ukraine” by deputies Oleksandr Chernenko, Oksana Bilozir and Oksana Yurynets and No. 5669, “the functioning Of Ukrainian as the state language and procedure for the use of other languages in Ukraine” which was registered, mainly MPs from the “Freedom” Mikhail Golovko, Andrey Ilyenko, Oleg Osukhovsky, Yuri Levchenko and Maria Matios from BPP.

The head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on culture and spirituality, and will explore all three of the bill, MP Michael knyazhytsky said he did not doubt that the Committee will find a compromise and make the session hall of the best quality and most suitable document all modifications.

“The bill created by me, involves not only the Ukrainian language as the state language, but the language of the minority, from my point of view, is a matter of principle, although bill No. 5670, which governs the Ukrainian state was recently registered. The authors of this project say that they, too, finish a bill on national minority languages. There are a number of other changes. For example, bill No. 5670 criminalizes the desecration of the Ukrainian language, and the bill, where I am a co — author-and other types of liability. In other words, there are some differences, but to discuss the nuances of these bills prior to their discussion in the Committee, makes no sense because they will be categorically changed all three. And I am convinced that we will reach some common point of view, to or stop at one of these three, or to work together to develop a joint bill,” explained “Apostrophe” knyazhytskyy. Regarding the criticism of the MP believes that the bill language is important, but it should not incite discord in society.

“While there is no language support, Ukraine will not be able to be effective a European country. Another thing is that the theme of language should in no way incite discord in the society, the law should be tough, should provide for sanctions, but it needs to be logical. For example, I am not convinced that we should allow printing only in the Ukrainian language, because we have many ethnic minorities. We need a law on the so-called de-Russification, but so that the languages of all other minorities have not suffered”,- adds the MP.

According to political scientist Konstantin Bondarenko, Ukrainian-speaking fully, the country should become gradually, and such laws will only lead to divisiveness. “The fact that for the authors, this bill is merely a Fig leaf that covers their complete inaction of politicians, because in this situation they have nothing to say to their constituents, they anticipate that there may be early elections, and when they come to the voters and they will ask what you did, to boast of nothing. So they went for a tried and tested model. If nothing has been done, you can take on the history, religion and language, and to speculate on these topics. But, as a rule, speculation on such subjects leads to a split society, in the hatred between the citizens, such law in this situation is not a law to strengthen the status of the Ukrainian language, this bill aimed at deterioration of the situation of other languages, primarily Russian. The law is not for something and against something”, — said Bondarenko.

Kostya Bondarenko believes that the bill may provoke discontent among the population of the southern and Eastern regions of Ukraine, who supported the Maidan. “And I know how to behave in the Russian-speaking citizens in the East and South of Ukraine, which supported the Maidan, supported the government when they today will set the rules and speak their language, which they used to talk, not suitable, and they should reject it. I’m not the enemy that sooner or later Ukraine became the Ukrainian language, but it must happen gradually, it has to happen across generations, as bills of this sort on the contrary only delay this prospect because they cause irritation, resistance and internal resistance”,- told the “Apostrophe” Bondarenko.