Political scientist: the war is due to Ukraine’s weak language policy in Crimea and Donbas

The Russian language to the Ukrainian one: "Move over, little girl! You are oppressing me!"

The Russian language to the Ukrainian one: "Move over, little girl! You are oppressing me!" 

2016/08/20 • Analysis & Opinion, Crimea, Language, Russia, Ukraine, War in the Donbas

Stanislav Fedorchuk, political scientist and internally displaced person from Donetsk, believes that the war in Ukraine is a direct consequence of Ukraine’s weak language policy in Crimea and the Donbas where whole generations have been raised with no proper national consciousness or formal education, with limited access to Ukrainian media and little protection of Ukrainian language rights.

“In my view, Ukraine is a unitary state. There can be no particular or separate language policy in our country.  If it becomes different, it will only exacerbate the consequences of Russification, Russian chauvinism and state negligence with regard to language policy.”

Mr. Fedorchuk states that it is shameful and inadmissible that the positions for heads of the departments of culture and education in the Donetsk Regional Administration have been vacant for almost a year. After all, these spheres are currently just as strategic as military affairs.

Stanislav Fedorchuk (Photo by Piotr Malecki/Global Assignment by Getty Images for Readers Digest)

Stanislav Fedorchuk (Photo by Piotr Malecki/Global Assignment by Getty Images for Readers Digest)

He notes that the absence of Ukrainian broadcasting and the presence of powerful Russian media are a matter of political will, and not technical resources.

“Formal education in schools and universities should be in Ukrainian at all levels. This means hundreds of jobs for people who can speak Ukrainian and who will not become mere puppets in the hands of Russian colonial powers. We need a nomenclature revolution, namely courses and examinations in Ukrainian for education officials and representatives right here and now. And an English test within the next five years so they don’t get bored!”

“However, such initiatives are impossible without a State Language Inspectorate. We should eliminate the useless Fire Inspectorate and hundreds of other needless corrupt institutions in Ukraine and I’m sure we’ll find enough money for a lot of useful things.”


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Translated by: Christine Chraibi
Source: Language-policy.info

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  • disqus_aJpixObjG7

    OF COURSE UKRAINIAN MUST BE SPOKEN IN UKRAINE.
    Israel got its entire people to speak a language no one knew at the time in 1948- Hebrew.
    So why WILL …(not “can” but “WILL”)…Ukraine not use ITS OWN LANGUAGE?
    Because of TRAITOROUS COLONIALIST 5TH COLUMN ELEMENTS PERVADING THE RULING CLASS.
    Here is SIMPLE UNDEBATABLE FACT:
    UNTIL UKRAINIANS SPEAK UKRAINIAN THERE WILL BE NO UKRAINE.
    THERE WILL AT BEST BE A SECOND CLASS NEO-COLONIZED NATION.
    THIS IS UNDEBATABLE HARD FACT.
    Right now the situation is TRAITOROUS AND DEPLORABLE- UKRAINE IS COLONIZED BY THE LANGUAGE OF THE GENOCIDAL COLONISER.
    Ukrainians MUST SPEAKL AND USE UKRAINIAN

    • Alex George

      Rubbish. There is a Ukraine right now, and much of it speaks Russian, usually as a second language (I think the figure is that less than 30% of Ukrainians have Russian as their native language). Ukraine is not threatened by Russian speakers.

      Of course Ukrainian is the official language of Ukraine, and rightly so. But Russian will continue to be spoken in Ukraine for the foreseeable future, for a number of reasons:

      (i) Many Russians move to Ukraine in order to get out of Putin’s Russia.

      (ii) Ukraine is starting to move into Russia’s former markets in Central Asia and take them over. Russian remains the main language of communication this area.

      (iii) Ukraine is becoming the natural cultural and political leader of the eastern Slavs, displacing Russia. After this war is over there will be much literature and other documents produced in Ukraine as Russians look to it for leadership.

  • Alex George

    Gently and with all due respect (I note he has paid a high personal price for his fidelity to Ukraine), this gentleman needs to get out more. There are many countries in Europe with multiple languages that do not suffer any significant disunity as a result. Switzerland is probably more divided than any by language, yet quite united as a country.

    Putin’s media told the world that Russian-speaking Ukrainians were a 5th column for the Kremlin, just waiting to rise up and welcome approaching Russian soldiers as liberators. Many believed him. Yet the reverse proved to be true – some of the strongest opponents of Putin’s adventures in Ukraine were ethnic Russians and Russian-speaking Ukrainians. They showed that they were not interested in Putin’s protection.

    Even today on the Ukrainian frontline in Donbass, I am told that you will hear more Russian spoken than Ukrainian. These people have put their lives on the line for Ukraine.