The Kharkov Regional Council Deprived the Russian Language of Its Regional Status

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


On December 6th the Kharkov regional council during the regular session cancelled the decision from August 30th 2012 “On primary measures for the implementation in the Kharkov region of the Law of Ukraine ‘On the Foundations of the State Language Policy'”. Most of deputies voted to cancel this decision.

This decision made in 2012 gave the Russian language the status of a regional language and obliged officials to know the state and Russian languages, communicate with Russian-speaking visitors in Russian, duplicate toponyms, and so on.

As a reminder, on April 12th deputies of the Nikolaev regional council lacked the number of votes needed to cancel the decision on giving Russian the status of a regional language.

At the same time, a wave of bans on the Russian-speaking cultural product swept across a number of regions of Ukraine. In particular, on December 7th the regional council of the Ivano-Frankovsk region, following in the footsteps of Ternopol, Lvov, and Zhytomyr, imposed a moratorium on the use of the “Russian-speaking cultural product”.

The “Uspishna Varta” human rights platform analysed the previous attempts of regional deputies to impose a moratorium on the “Russian-speaking cultural product”. In particular, lawyers noted that such a decision contradicts Article 10 of the Constitution of Ukraine, which specifies that in Ukraine the free development, use, and protection of Russian and other languages of ethnic minorities of Ukraine is guaranteed. Also, the initiative of local authorities does not correspond to the Law “On Culture”. In addition, nobody and nothing has defined the term “Russian-speaking cultural product in any forms”.

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