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06 august / 2020

Statement of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Regarding Discrimination of Russian-Speaking Citizens of Ukraine

The Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation expresses deep concern that as soon as September 2020, when provisions of new Ukrainian legislation on education enter into force, teaching in educational institutions (except for pre-school and elementary levels) in Ukraine – country, in which Russian is a mother tongue for millions of people – will be almost solely in Ukrainian.

In its Statement regarding the adoption of Ukrainian Law «On Education» (Resolution of The Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation № 354-SF of September 27, 2017), the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation identified that this legislation contradicts the Constitution of Ukraine and commitments made by Ukraine according to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of February 1, 1995, and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages of November 5, 1992, infringes upon the interests of Russian-speaking population of the country, and is aimed at total ukrainization.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe stated in its Resolution 2189 (2017) of October 12, 2017 «The new Ukrainian law on education: a major impediment to the teaching of national minorities' mother tongues» that the above-mentioned law entails significant reduction of rights in the educational sphere which earlier were guaranteed for «national minorities». In addition to Russia, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Greek, Moldavian and Romanian authorities also declared protest against the new Ukrainian law.

Nevertheless, despite criticism from many countries and international organizations, Ukrainian authorities continue to pursue their policy of massively discriminating rights of Russian-speaking population, having codified it in Ukrainian Law «On Functioning of Ukrainian as State Language» which came into force on July 16, 2019, and Ukrainian Law «On General Secondary Education» of January 16, 2020. At the same time there were ignored conclusions in the Opinion of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) № 902/2017 of December 11, 2017 that Ukrainian Law «On Education» did not include any solutions for languages which are not official languages of the European Union, in particular – for Russian as most used non-state language in Ukraine. The mentioned Opinion specifically highlights that «the less favorable treatment of these languages is difficult to justify and therefore raises issues of discrimination». Exclusions, made for languages of «native peoples», to which in Ukraine belong a few peoples living outside Ukraine (in Crimea), as well as partly for official languages of the European Union, only strengthen anti-humanitarian and predominantly anti-Russian nature of new Ukrainian legislation on education.

The Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation notes that Ukraine’s pro-Western orientation after the coup in 2014 hasn’t brought it closer to civilized democratic standards – quite the opposite, it has distanced from them even further. The current Ukrainian leadership continues discriminatory policy of former Ukrainian President Petr Poroshenko aimed at restricting the right of Russian-speaking population to study in their mother tongue. The policy of enforced ukrainization was one the key reasons of intra-Ukrainian conflict in Donbass, which has already resulted in thousands of victims. Instead of drawing lessons from the mistakes, made by their predecessors who rested on nationalist ideas, Ukrainian authorities continue the same policy, thereby blocking all ways for peaceful settlement of the conflict. By urging the regions, that opposed the coup in 2014, for reintegration, while simultaneously denying Russian-speaking population of Donbass its rights in educational and other humanitarian spheres, Ukraine de-facto is doing everything to undermine the process of national reconciliation and implementation of the Minsk agreements.

The Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation urges the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, parliaments of European countries to protect the rights of Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine and will insist on considering the situation in the international parliamentary organizations – Inter-Parliamentary Union, Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Federation Council

of the Federal Assembly

of the Russian Federation