“Language Patrols” in Dnepropetrovsk Fine Citizens for Speaking Russian

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



Ukrainian nationalists who say that any talk about “language patrols” in Dnepr (former Dnepropetrovsk) is fake are now forced to recognise that they do in fact exist. And not only do they exist, but Russian-speaking citizens are also fined.

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They spoil the image of “patriots”

The assistant to the deputy Kirill Dorolenko said on his Facebook page that the “language patrols” were organised by “scum from the sell-out organisation ‘Stop Illegal – an affiliate of ‘Stop Corruption’.” He even recognised one of them in the video: “He often floats around near the Verkhovna Rada, distributing dark news”.

The “language patrol” works in a very simple manner. Two young people approach a citizen and ask them: “What language do you communicate in?” When they hear that the answer is Russian, they “write out a fine”.

According to Dorolenko, the “language patrols” of social activists are an obvious “provocation” creating an image of “Ukrainian punishers” among the Russian-speaking population of Dnepr. According to him, these “activists” are given PR by the media close to the mayor. “Earlier the city’s mayor distinguished himself in the language issue under the slogan ‘Nitsoy’s style Will Not Pass’ – and did not stop the advancing of Russian cultural propaganda in the city. And at the same time he created a chain of information campaigns for the creation of a negative image of Ukrainian patriots,” suspects Dorolenko.

Business is illegal, but profitable

The inhabitant of Dnepr, journalist, and ATO soldier Maksim Miroshnichenko was more laconic and less judicious, having posted photos of “patrolmen” checking passersby regarding their use of the Ukrainian language. He wrote to the “Svoboda” member and deputy of the Kiev City Council Andrey Denisenko, saying that in the city “two guys walk around the city in the uniform of the Armed Forces of Ukraine” and threaten citizens by “extorting 150 hryvnia for speaking in Russian”. According to him, it is not fake.

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In the photos that he posted activists in red jackets with the inscription “Stop Illegal” can indeed be seen, which attracted the interest of police officers.

As it turned out, the prices of “language patrols” are rather “flexible”: if for an ordinary citizens the sum of the “fine” for speaking Russian is 150 hryvnia, then for the city deputy Arsen Chernykh the “activists” wrote out a fine for 752 hryvnia . At the same time, the social activists referred to the law registered in the Rada by Denisenko, who is not aware that his draft law is already being implemented in a peculiar way at the initiative of citizens. Chernykh explained to them that the initiative of the parliamentarian registered in the Rada still hasn’t been made an actual law of the country, therefore he cannot be subjected to any sanctions.

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