The Verkhovna Rada Kicks Off the Autumn Session With New Anti-Russian Draft Laws

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


On September 4th the ninth session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the 8th convocation started its work. Of the set of bills that People’s Deputies plan to consider this plenary autumn, some have a frank anti-Russian character and hit the constitutional rights and freedoms both of citizens and non-citizens of Ukraine

Banning Russian language in schools

Millions of Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine were deprived of the opportunity to acquire knowledge in their native language.

Since September 1st, 2018 the Russian language has been chased away from Ukrainian schools: from the beginning of the academic year new innovations in teaching school students started to take effect – classes that are taught in the languages of ethnic minorities will remain only for lower school (up to the fifth class), and in 2020 even this will be absent: hello, total Ukrainisation of education. There is an exception — only for indigenous people, which the authors of the law qualify as Crimean Tatars, Krymchaks, Gagauz, and Karaites.

At the same time, teaching one or several disciplines in the languages of EU countries is allowed. Of course, the Russian language doesn’t belong to any of these categories.

The education reform became scandalous even at the discussion stage. Naturally, millions of Russian-speaking citizens of the country were indignant. The countries that neighbor Ukraine – Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Greece – joined them in this.

At the same time, nobody even tries to solve real problems in schools, among which there are the mass exodus of professional teachers (they can’t simply work and survive in the present conditions), the falling of the education level, and the quality of the school program.

The obedient uneducated patriot is a beautiful voter for the current Ukrainian authorities.

Banning Russian culture

Two draft laws on banning the importation to the Ukrainian market of printed materials from the territory of the “state aggressor” were submitted for the consideration of deputies of the Verkhovna Rada. One of the bills (No. 6291) is authored by a big group of deputies from “People’s Front” of Avakov-Yatsenyuk, the “Bloc of Petro Poroshenko”, the “Radical Party of Oleg Lyashko”, and non-factional parliamentarians. The second one (No. 6291-1) was introduced by representatives of the “Samopomich” party.

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Besides this, draft laws were introduced in the Rada that stipulate restrictions both on artists of the “aggressor state” who are going to perform in Ukraine (6660) and for Ukrainian artists who go on tours across Russia (No. 8085). In the same way, a big group of deputies are also registered as the authors of documents – from the factions “Samopomich”, “People’s Front”, “Bloc of Petro Poroshenko”, and also a number of the people’s deputies who are non-factional.

One more direction of the Kiev regime’s offensive on Russian culture is cinema. Many Russian and Soviet movies were already forbidden by the Ukrainian authorities, however law No. 6623 significantly strengthens this. In particular, a definition of what movie is considered as “a movie of the aggressor state” is being introduced, and practically any movies with Russian participation can fall into this category.

Restriction of the rights of Russians and people with dual citizenship

Legislators substantiate the adoption of the law by saying that now the activity of citizens of the “aggressor country” is very difficult to control. Proceeding from this, it is necessary to adopt a law that would impose on Russians and persons with dual citizenship these or those restrictions.

“They will be forbidden from holding certain posts in the civil service and serving in law enforcement structures, so that they can’t threaten national security,” it is said in the explanatory note.

It should be noted that although the phrase “citizens of the Russian Federation” isn’t directly mentioned in the text, the only country aggressor that would be recognised by Kiev remains precisely Russia.

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Also, the law stipulates the criminal prosecution of those leaders who didn’t report about the existence of Russian citizenship among their subordinates. And Ukrainians who obtained citizenship of the Russian Federation will be obliged to notify the migratory service about this.

Restriction of the rights of believers of the Moscow Patriarchate

The relevant information was published on September 3rd on the website of the Ukrainian parliament. More than 10 legislators representing the most different factions, including independent deputies, became its authors. From their point of view, the relevance of this bill is connected to the fact that Ukrainian society is very religious and listens to the opinion of the church.

“In this regard it is necessary to think about the special status of organisations whose centers are in the aggressor country, so that they can’t influence Ukrainian society,” it is said in the text of the draft law.

In particular, all religious organisations with their center in Russia (because the Russian Federation is the only aggressor country), will have to pass through all registration procedures and receive permission to preach in a special order.

Thus, the formulation of the law will allow the Ukrainian authorities to apply pressure and in every possible way to impede the activity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, which represents the largest religious organisation in the country.

Banning Russian goods and services

Deputies of the Verkhovna Rada prepared several draft laws that stipulate the obligation of the competent authorities in the sphere of state registration to publish information about the belonging of legal entities of Russia, taking measures for terminating the cooperation of the Ukrainian state and municipal enterprises with banks of Russia, which “will promote ensuring the preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine”.

According to deputies of the Verkhovna Rada, the adoption of these laws “will allow to more effectively economically counter aggression against Ukraine and to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine”.

Criminal liability for denying Russian aggression

The document prescribes punishment in the form of a fine from 500 to 1,000 non-taxable minimum incomes of citizens, or arrest for up to six months, or a restriction of freedom for a period of up to three years. In the document it is claimed that “cases of public non-recognition or justification by individuals of the military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine became very frequent, as well as the production or distribution of different materials that deny or justify such aggression”. According to Ukrainian legislators, this can be connected to centralised Russian propaganda aimed at destabilising Ukrainian society. Also, it is especially specified in the draft law that it is the most dangerous when non-recognition of “Russian aggression” comes from the lips of teachers and cultural figures.

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As the Ukrainian media reported, on August 28 the president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko stated that he expects to receive from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs a package of documents to start the procedure of terminating the Treaty of friendship, cooperation and partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

On August 30th the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavel Klimkin responded by saying that the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs prepared a package of documents for the denunciation of the Treaty of friendship with the Russian Federation and will propose them to the country’s leaders in the next few days.

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