Today is a notable day in the recent history of Ukraine. On April 25, 2019 a historic Law "On Ensuring the Functioning of Ukrainian as the State Language" was adopted. In spite of fierce debate, plenty of amendments and mad pressure from pro-Russian forces, 278 parliamentarians voted for the document for which millions of Ukrainians had been waiting for years.
It is difficult to overestimate the role of the language law. In fact, it regulates the use of the Ukrainian language as the only state language in all spheres of public life on the whole territory of Ukraine, as it is defined in the main document of the country – the Constitution. In particular, the law ensures the priority of Ukrainian in public administration, education, science, culture, services sector, etc. Finally, the Ukrainian language, as one of the foundations of our security and independence, is protected at the legislative level. And you can’t fail to notice – Ukrainian is actually used more and more on the streets, in the services sector, on radio and TV.
In spite of numerous attacks on the language law, repeated attempts to abolish it or to revise certain norms, continued sabotage of its implementation, the law is in force and is supported by the vast majority of people.
After the Article 30 of the Law came into force on January 16, 2021 which envisages the full switching to the state language of the services sector, we received a large number of notifications from citizens about the violations of their rights to receive information and services in Ukrainian. However, we may already state that the situation has improved significantly. First of all, this is due to the fact that the Secretariat of the Commissioner carries out the extensive explanatory work among the representatives of the services sector. As required by the Law, in each case when violations have been recorded, we send letters demanding to eliminate them and we carry out state control measures.
It is disappointing to state that in 2021, in the 30th year of independence, the number of citizen appeals regarding violations of language legislation by officials of central and local governments remains stably high. This is almost a tenth part of the whole amount of complaints. It is unacceptable that during the war in the East of the country some officials ignore the state language and play up to the aggressor.
I believe that in 2021 – the anniversary year of Ukrainian Independence and the Constitution – the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine will approve the State Program for the Promotion of the State Language Acquisition, and every citizen will gain the guaranteed right of access to free state courses to learn Ukrainian.
On our part, we look forward to Ukraine’s integration into the European Language Community and we will make every effort to join the European Federation of National Institutions for Language (EFNIL). That will allow us to shape a strategy for the protection of the Ukrainian language as the future EU language on the European scene as well.
Let’s protect the state language together, communicating in Ukrainian at work and in the family, listening to Ukrainian music, buying a Ukrainian book, creating and promoting high-quality Ukrainian-language content!