Ukrainian as well as Crimean-Tatar languages can be used as official ones in the Kherson region under a fresh local government decree
Russian citizens have a “right to the free choice of language in communication, upbringing, culture, and art,” the Kherson region’s governor, Vladimir Saldo, said on Sunday as he announced that Ukrainian and Crimean-Tatar languages can be used in his region as official ones alongside Russian.
“Safeguarding people’s cultural, spiritual, and historical values” is one of the priorities of the government’s policy both in the Kherson region and other parts of Russia, the governor said in a Telegram post, where he also published the text of his decree on the use of official languages.
Under the decree, public officials and government agencies can choose any of the three languages for official communications. The region’s population is also free in their choice of language and can file requests with any public official in any of the three languages and demand an answer in the same language. In case a public official cannot provide such an answer, the response would be given in Russian, the decree adds.
The Kherson region joined Russia together with the two Donbass republics and the neighboring Zaporozhye region in autumn 2022, following a series of referendums.
In April, Russia’s education ministry said that students in the four newly-joined regions will be able to study the Ukrainian language in schools as their native language or as an additional course. The ministry also said it had developed a new Ukrainian language textbook for elementary school students. The final decision in the field of school education will rest with the regional authorities, the ministry said at that time.
On June 3, the acting head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Denis Pushilin, said that the Ukrainian language would not be taught in the region’s schools in the next academic year since no class had chosen it as an additional course. The acting governor maintained that the language is not banned in the region, but students there simply do not want to study it.
The Donetsk People’s Republic and the neighboring Lugansk People’s Republic have been in conflict with Ukraine since 2014, when they refused to recognize a violent coup in Kiev and declared independence.
The news comes amid a continued crackdown on the Russian language in Ukraine. In February, the ombudsman in charge of protecting the Ukrainian language, Taras Kremen, called on the Ukrainian universities to ditch the use of Russian within their premises. He argued at the time that speaking Russian should be prohibited on all Ukrainian university campuses.
In January, the renowned “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” (NaUKMA), one of the oldest universities in Ukraine, officially forbade students and educators from using Russian within its grounds. Ukraine passed a law stating that Ukrainian was the only language that could be used in the education process back in 2019.
Moscow repeatedly denounced such policies by Kiev, arguing that the “forced Ukrainianization” of the country violated international norms and infringed upon the rights of around a quarter of Ukraine’s population, who are Russian-speaking.
June 12, 2023 at 03:55AM