Two years ago, on July 8, 2020, by order of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 852, Taras Kremin was appointed to the position of the State Language Protection Commissioner. And, accordingly, the Law "On Ensuring the Functioning of Ukrainian as the State Language" entrusted him with the duty to protect the status of the Ukrainian language as a state language, as well as the right of citizens to use the state language in all spheres of public life throughout the territory of Ukraine.
Since than, the Ukrainian language, as the main factor of national consolidation and an inseparable attribute of our statehood and national security, has significantly strengthened its position: the current support for the state language is unprecedented in all the years of independence. Ukrainian has confidently regained its position and is gaining new victories. The service sector, despite skeptical forecasts, became Ukrainian-speaking; the spheres of culture, entertainment, book publishing, and book distribution, film production, and showing films in cinemas and on television, and print media were Ukrainianized. In addition, state language proficiency exams for future civil servants and applicants for Ukrainian citizenship are among the best achievements of the years. We send the words of gratitude to Prof. Orysia Demska - the first Head of the National Commission on State Language Standards.
The implementation of new articles of the Language Law was constantly opposed by pro-russian forces. Thanks to close interaction with state authorities and local self-government as well as information and explanatory work of the Commissioner, and constant dialogue with the civil society and representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora, the Law is effective. Undoubtedly, violations have not disappeared, they still exist today in specific areas and regions of the state.
In July 2021, Ukrainian won another important victory: the Constitutional Court of Ukraine recognized the Language Law as constitutional, which significantly strengthened the state status of the Ukrainian language as the basis of the foundations of the state.
In 2021, at the insistence of the Commissioner, the unconstitutional decisions of the local authorities - the regional status of the russian language in the Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhya regions, Mykolayiv, individual communities of Zakarpattia and Luhansk region - were annulled by court.
Due to cooperation with the local authorities in a number of regions and cities, in which relevant deputy heads of the regional state administrations/regional military administrations, city councils and united territorial communities responsible for the implementation of the Language Law had been approved at the insistence of Taras Kremin, regional programs for the development of the state language were adopted. In particular, they operate in Cherkasy, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv, Kirovohrad, and Dnipropetrovsk regions, as well as in Chernivtsi, Ternopil', Nizyn, Melitopol', and Khust. In other regions, we are waiting for a positive decision of the deputies' corps.
During the first half of 2022, under the conditions of martial law, the Secretariat ensured the smooth operation of the official website, registration, and consideration of appeals. In addition, at the appeal of Taras Kremin on March 21, Ukraine was granted the status of an associate member of the European Federation of National Institutions for Language (EFNIL). This is a historic decision that strengthens the international authority of the key language institution and the state as a whole, it's a definite step toward EU standards.
Undoubtedly, the full-scale invasion of russia on February 24 caused tectonic changes in the consciousness of our citizens and further established Ukrainian as a state. Since then, Ukraine has held a stronger line of defense on the language front as well. In view of the fact that the Ukrainian language is one of the main goals of russia, the Commissioner initiated the documentation of the facts of linguocide by the occupying country against the Ukrainian people. On June 28, 2022, the Commissioner presented information to the mass media and the public regarding the russian policy of linguocide in the occupied territories of Ukraine. The collected materials were sent to the Office of the Prosecutor General, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, international human rights organizations, the European Federation of National Institutions for Language, as well as to the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine.
Emphasizing the need to bring the names of geographical objects and toponymy objects of settlements into line with the language legislation and Ukrainian spelling, the Commissioner expressed his concerns in 2021, and in 2022 he published recommendations on naming, renaming, and normalization. As we can see, the results of such activities are positive.
Taking into account the fact that after February 24, the process of de-russification of public space became irreversible, the Commissioner in cooperation with leading institutions of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine compiled a recommended list of 150 names of outstanding creators, researchers, and popularizers of the Ukrainian language, which is taken into account in the process of de-russification in the vast majority of regions.
Undoubtedly, 2022 will be a historic year for Ukraine from the point of view of popularizing and establishing the Ukrainian language as the state language. Today, everyone understands that we are protecting our identity by protecting the Ukrainian language.
Communicating in Ukrainian brings us closer to victory.
Glory to Ukraine!
The Commissioner's annual report on the state of compliance with the Law of Ukraine "On Ensuring the Functioning of Ukrainian as the State Language" can be found here.