Kiev Affords Russian Recognition but Denies Official Status

ukraine parliamentIn a bid to appease separatists, Ukraine’s parliament has announced agreement on a so-called “Memorandum of Peace and Accord” which gives Russian language some recognition but not “official” status.

The parliamentary decree actively recognizes and enshrines the rights of national languages, such as Russian and Hungarian, in areas densely populated with minorities.

The move is part of a previously discussed government pledge to protect the linguistic rights of smaller ethnic communities in Ukraine, while continuing to establish Ukrainian as the only official state language.

Parliament voted in favor of the Memorandum, after a final draft clarifying the status of Russian was published on Tuesday, which is intended to prepare the way for the forthcoming Ukrainian presidential elections set for May 25, as voting deputies are hoping it will induce the start of a resolution to the country’s political conflicts.

More specifically, a parliamentary statement claims that the purpose of the move is “to restore law, order and public safety in the state by stopping bloodshed and bringing to justice those responsible for the killings of civilians during mass protests; to stop the anti-terrorist operation in Ukraine’s southeast and return the soldiers involved in anti-terrorist operations to their places of permanent deployment”.

Despite the document’s recognition of minority languages – in particular Russian, it failed to grant constitutional status to the language. This resulted in the country’s Communist Party abstaining from voting.

Deputies from the nationalist Svoboda party also boycotted the vote after expressing beliefs that the Memorandum will be ineffective.

See: Editorial: Don’t Dictate Language
Ukraine Revokes Linguistic Rights
Ukraine Considers Adding Russian