Eastern Europe

Moscow Chafes Over New Ukrainian Language Law

Графіті-карикатура на Всеукраїнське об’єднання «Свобода» у Львові

In passing a new law mandating the use of the Ukrainian language across government and media, Kyiv has angered Moscow and even its neighbors to the West. Some analysts believe the measure will embolden the Kremlin to further consolidate its hold over the Donbass region of East Ukraine.

Ukrainians see the legislation as a bulwark against the constant pressure from Russian intelligence services in-country to destabilize Ukrainian society.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova made Moscow’s anger very clear saying, “In its essence, this is a law on forced and total Ukrainization. Its provisions include significant limitations, and in many cases a direct ban on the use of the Russian language and the languages of national minorities in various spheres of social life,” she said. According to Zakharova, many provisions of this bill are in a direct contradiction of various international legal norms, as well as the Constitution of Ukraine.

“It is clear even now that we are dealing with a decision that only exacerbates the split in the Ukrainian society and leads further from the prospects of regulating the current crisis in Ukraine,” she added.

The approval of the language law may also further deepen a rift with neighboring Hungary, which claims the law violates the rights of ethnic Hungarians living in Ukraine’s west. As a result, Hungarian diplomats are obstructing some discussions between Ukraine and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on closer military co-operation. A leading lawmaker in Budapest said on Thursday that Hungary wouldn’t budge on the matter, reported The Moscow Times.

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1 comment

henry van zanten April 30, 2019 at 5:44 pm

The Hungarian government tried to eradicate”non-Hungarian” ethnic customs and languages in the late 1800’s especially pertaining to the”Russyn or Lemko” population, leading to the development of concentration camps (i.e. Thalerhof) just before WWI broke out. Let’s see if those living in the Ukraine have forgotten this attempted ethnic cleansing and end up falling into the same pattern of brutality.


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