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Ukrainians and their language: The Act on the State Language of Ukraine. OSW Commentary Number 304, 11 June 2019

Olszański, Tadeusz A. (2019) Ukrainians and their language: The Act on the State Language of Ukraine. OSW Commentary Number 304, 11 June 2019. [Policy Paper]

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    On 25 April, the Supreme Council of Ukraine passed a law guaranteeing the role of the Ukrainian language as the state language. The act was passed with a significant majority (278 in favour, 38 against), and was signed into law by President Petro Poroshenko on 15 May. This is not an act on the state’s language policy, but the role of the official language in the life of the country. The act is clearly aimed at eliminating Russian from as many spheres of community life in Ukraine as possible, especially from education and the media. The other, equally important task is to ensure development, standardisation, and modernisation of the Ukrainian language where there are currently shortcomings. The act, which was originally intended to be an instrument in Petro Poroshenko’s presidential campaign, will be used in the campaign for the early parliamentary elections of 21 July by the former president’s party and other groupings that form the broad anti-Russian camp. Opponents of the new act will probably contest it before the Constitutional Court, but rulings cannot be expected before the election. For the moment, it is unclear what position President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will take on the new act. It is possible that he will wish to amend some provisions. On one hand, during the presidential campaign, he frequently stated that the rights of the Russian-speaking population had to be guaranteed, while on the other his supporters include a large number of proponents of radical Ukrainization, whose support will be important to Zelenskiy in the parliamentary election.

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: Countries > Ukraine
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) > OSW Commentary
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2019 14:08
    Number of Pages: 7
    Last Modified: 10 Dec 2019 15:03

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