Skip to Content

UP9 (CC BY-SA 3.0) The new language law in Ukraine might could mean even less stability.

Has Ukraine just embraced separatism?

Without blinking, Ukraine has just introduced a new language law which blatantly discriminates against at least half of its population.

Published: April 29, 2019, 7:18 am

    On Thursday, April 25, the Ukrainian parliament adopted a general law “on ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state language”, which prescribes the sole usage of the Ukrainian language in almost all spheres of life.

    It will now become mandatory for state and local authorities, all educational institutions, hospitals as well as the service sector to use only Ukrainian. The document also noted the introduction of fines for violating the language law.

    This legislative act literally means that the use of Ukrainian will be enforced everywhere in the country, and it was done without ever consulting any speakers of the Ukrainian language. The Russian language and languages of more than 130 nationalities who live on the territory of Ukraine have thus been relegated to the shadows by the Ukrainian authorities.

    The reaction of European Union officials faced with this flagrant disregard of language rights, will be most interesting to watch. They are the same ones who, for years now, have been harping on about the promotion of equality, tolerance while claiming to be fighting against discrimination.

    Up to now, European authorities have remained noticeably neutral and circumspect in their various responses. A spokesperson for European Foreign Relations, Maya Kosyanchich, cautiously announced that the European Union would “study” the Ukrainian language law before providing an assessment.

    This particular assessment will naturally be a matter of huge importance, especially when keeping in mind the existence of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities – a key document prescribing the necessity of rights protection for national minorities.

    This protection obviously enshrines the right of mother tongue speakers to uphold their languages without having to face prosecution for doing so.

    And while European Union is pondering over the assessment they will have to come up with soon, more than a half of the Ukrainian population who speak Russian, have now been officially prohibited from using their native tongue in the country.

    The Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics gave their response to this dilemma five years ago. These two small breakaway entities were formed in 2014 as a result of coup d’etat in Kiev after the so-called Maidan revolution.

    At least one reason why people of these two former regions of Ukraine – also known as the Donbass – decided that they no longer wanted to live under the rule of the current Ukrainian state, was precisely because of the language issue. After the “revolution”, the Ukrainian parliament did everything in its power to deprive Russian speakers of their rights to an official language and recognition.

    Burdened by the hostile “Ukrainisation” – which was actually started by the former deposed President Viktor Yushchenko (2005-2010) – the inhabitants of the Donbass decided that the constitution of their small republics should include the right to both Russian as well as Ukrainian as official languages.

    Even though the majority of the Donbass people are Russian speakers, they quite naturally respected those who consider Ukrainian as a native tongue and wanted to see it used both at official events and in everyday life.

    Faced with these issues, the newly elected President of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky appeared somewhat clueless. Immediately after the law to enforce the exclusive status of the Ukrainian language was adopted by the Ukrainian parliament, Zelensky announced that after his official inauguration, he would thoroughly examine the text of the bill in order to find out whether it was in line with Ukrainian legislation.

    Zelensky was born in a region of Ukraine where mostly Russian speaking people live and he is a Russian speaker himself, so his doubts about the legality of the bill may be understandable. But so far, his lofty pronouncements have not matched any of his actions. Right after the discriminatory language bill was adopted, he changed the spelling of his name on Facebook from Russian to Ukrainian.

    Obviously, Ukrainian society has been buzzing with discussions about the possible reasons and consequences of adopting such a questionable law. Most pundits believe that incumbent Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and his surrogates are trying to take revenge on Zelensky because Poroshenko had suffered such a shock defeat in the presidential elections.

    The possible logic of Poroshenko’s machinations might be the following: By adopting such a law, it would mean increasing tension within the country that could tarnish the image of not only Zelensky but also those candidates supporting the comedian-turned-president for the parliamentary vote.

    Or perhaps the explanation for what is going on in Ukraine currently, may be quite simple. The best and most frank explanation could be the sheer stupidity and incompetence of the present Ukrainian leadership who adopted a law without considering the potential of its bombshell effect.

    By fixing discrimination at a legislative level against Russian speakers that number at least half of the population, as well as against all other national minorities languages, the Ukrainian leadership – with or without intent – has announced separatism.

    Consider donating to support our work

    Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.


    Security and privacy experts sound the alarm on contact tracing apps

    The terrorist acts of September 11, 2001 became the starting point for massive surveillance of the world's citizens, and not least in Western countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom.

    Maghreb singer accuses French police of blanket racism

    ParisFor the deputy of the National Rally in France, the speech of the singer Camélia Jordana on Saturday evening claiming she is afraid when she sees a police officer, is a typical example of the excesses of the cultural left: They prefer to defend the delinquents rather than the police.

    Provocative statements from Turkey against Greece continue

    IstanbulThe Turkish Minister of Defense, Hulusi Akar during his visit to a Turkish naval base, spoke of "harassment in the Aegean" in recent days, which he described as a "very serious challenge", adding that he could not "explain them".

    The controversy over hydroxychloroquine intensifies

    WashingtonAmerican scientists concluded in a study that chloroquine was ineffective against Covid-19. The release of the study coincided with bad news about the US drug Remdesivir.

    Deaths in Swedish nursing homes hidden by municipalities

    In the "humanitarian superpower" Sweden, the management of the Covid-19 pandemic by public health authorities has defied the most basic sense of medical ethics.

    German politician: ‘Why should we risk our relations with China?’

    BerlinDr. Maximilian Krah, member of the European Parliament for the Eurosceptic Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) and Vice Chairman of the EP China Friendship Group in an exclusive FreeWestMedia interview.

    Senior European WHO official predicts second deadly virus wave

    LondonAccording to information from a British daily, a senior European official of the WHO predicts that a second peak of the virus outbreak could coincide with outbreaks of other infectious diseases.

    Thousands demonstrate in Germany against confinement

    BerlinThousands of Germans demonstrated nationwide again this weekend against Corona confinement requirements. Citizens who are afraid for their jobs, rallied alongside extremists and opponents of vaccination.

    Covid-19 information ‘better on YouTube than in traditional media’

    MarseilleThe world-renowned French virologist from Marseille, Prof Didier Raoult, believes that he is being identified as a "fake news" propagator because he discloses information buried by the mainstream media.

    French pharmaceutical giant to give vaccine priority to… Americans

    ParisWhile the French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi has pleaded for a cooperation agreement with an American health authority, many voices were raised to condemn the position of the laboratory.

    Go to archive