Oleh Tiahnybok
Head of "Svoboda" party

August 6 2014 Oleh Tiahnybok: The issue of language is the issue of the unity of Ukraine

In an interview with French channel "TV5", Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin stated that the Ukrainian Government is ready to give an official status to Russian language in each region that would ask for it. I would like to point out that in his comment regarding any language policy in Ukraine Mr. Klimkin should be guided exclusively by Article 10 of the Constitution of Ukraine, not by his subjective assessments.

Giving Russian language the official status in some regions, as suggested by the Minister, will result in lingual partition of our country. Predominance of the Russian language in certain areas of Ukraine is the result of prolonged forced Russification of the Soviet period.

Ukrainian, as the only official state language, is the basis for strengthening national unity and security. This was confirmed by the results of the July survey performed by "Rating" where the number of supporters of a unitary system of Ukraine reaches 89% amongst Ukrainian-speaking population and only 44% amongst Russian speaking.

It is obvious that if Donbas was a Ukrainian speaking region, separatists and Russian aggressors would not have a chance there and therefore the bloodshed that was started by Russian invaders would be avoided.

Subsequently, "Svoboda":

- Strongly opposes "peace initiatives" that would limit public status of the Ukrainian language in favour of the "official" Russian language. This capitulation to the demands of the Russian aggressor Putin would strategically lead to the destruction of unified Ukraine;

- Continues to demand the abolition of the unconstitutional language law of Kivalov-Kolisnichyenko that jeopardized the development and state status of the Ukrainian language;

- Does not support the President's Draft Law on Amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine, as it provides for the right of regional councils to provide "special status" to the Russian language (art.143).

Position of "Svoboda" in this matter is a European one and is supported throughout the country: Ukrainian language should be the only official language in our country, but everyone can use any language for communication on a daily basis - in non-governmental, unofficial setting. Government officials, on the other hand, we insist on the introduction of mandatory exam in Ukrainian language and history of Ukraine.

It must be remembered that Article 10 of the Constitution of Ukraine guarantees the full linguistic rights of Ukrainian citizens, including national minorities.

In addition, "Svoboda" introduced the Parliament bill №2127a that allows local communities (where ethnic minorities make up more than 30% of residents) to use their ethnic language in public spheres along with the official state language.

The differences between the Language law draft of "Svoboda" in comparison to the current Language law and initiatives of the President are:

1. It clearly states that the language of the national minority should be used together with the official language, not instead of it (as allowed by the "Language law" of Kivalov-Kolisnichyenko).

2. It clarifies that the language of ethnic minority can be used at the specific territory where the national minority is represented by at least 30% of the population.

3. The right to make a decision about the use of the language of national minority should belong exclusively to local communities, rather than to regional or district councils, which in reality represent the interests of oligarchs.

Press Service of Svoboda