The Russian State Duma fears that the Verkhovna Rada’s abolition of the law conferring regional language status on the Russian language could complicate relations between the Russian Federation and the new government of Ukraine.
Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the Duma Committee for CIS matters, Eurasian integration, and relations with Russian nationals, announced his objections to the language law to journalists in Moscow, reports news channel UNIAN. “I hope this negative step will not complicate our dialogue with the future coalition government in Ukraine,” Slutsky said. “Undoubtedly, this dialogue will be conducted in Russian,” he concluded.
Slutsky stressed that the abolition of regional status for Russian is a negative signal that could lead to narrowing Russian-language opportunities, especially in education, in Ukraine. This decision “prompts us to reach out in the most practical manner to every family in Ukraine that does not want to break away from the Russian language and the Russian world, so that the children of these families have the opportunity to obtain an education and to speak Russian,” Slutsky announced.
However, he noted that it is still too early to discuss specific measures, which will be formulated in the coming days. “But I still hope for the restoration of the Russian language’s status in Ukraine,” Slutsky said.
Today, February 23, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the Law “On Reinstatement of the Law of Ukraine on State Language Policy” (№5029-VI dated 3 July 2012). This law takes effect on the date of its publication.
Translated by Anna Mostovych
Edited by Mariana Budjeryn and Robin Rohrback