PUBLIC REPORT ON THE EUROPEAN CHARTER FOR REGIONAL OR MINORITY LANGUAGES FULFILLMENT IN UKRAINE

reliz-relizB5_30_05_07

PUBLIC REPORT ON THE EUROPEAN CHARTER FOR REGIONAL OR MINORITY LANGUAGES FULFILLMENT IN UKRAINE

 

Despite that from the moment of adoption the Law of Ukraine “On Ratification of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages” #802-IV of 05.15.2003 four years had passed, not a single legislation act directed to the Charter’s provisions implementation was adopted. Furthermore, in Ukrainian legislation there is no legislative act that would define the powers of local authorities regarding recognition of languages, which are commonly used on the territories of definite administrative areas, that makes impossible any further activity on the Charter implementation.

It demonstrates as sharpness of the language problem in Ukraine as inability of government to settle it. But in Ukraine a lot of famous politicians, even the whole political movements and parties try to keep silent about the language problem, show it to be forced and politically caused, not taking into consideration the fact that at least each fourth citizen of Ukraine is a representative of a national minority, and not less than 40% of our country population use other languages than Ukrainian for daily communication. For example, after the Charter had entered into force the President of Ukraine V. Yuschenko stated repeatedly that “the subject of regional languages as a category, as a definition does not exist either in the Constitution, or in any law of Ukraine. Let’s model our language policy basing upon the language field of Ukraine”[1]. And one can hardly consider the guarantor of human and citizen rights and freedoms to be ill-informed about basic Ukrainian legislation in this field. But one can rather consider these words to be an instruction of our country’s leader to his subordinates for non-fulfillment of the Charter. That’s why we would like to propose to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine to fulfill the requirements of Article 6 of the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages and to help the President of Ukraine in this matter, as the article mentioned above provides: “The undertake to see to it that the authorities, organizations and persons concerned are informed of the rights and duties established by this Charter”.

Although the adoption of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages became an important step of Ukraine in the field of ensuring cultural rights for the use of a native language, but systematic actions of the majority of Ukrainian politicians completely depreciate the value of this act. From the very first day extremely inconsistent Ukrainian authority whose face changed more often than Ukrainians could remember was consistent and logical in one thing only – in their intention to negate the possibilities for language minorities this document opened. We have to remind that the adoption of the Charter in Ukraine was accompanied with substantial difficulties. And unfortunately the main guiding principle of the government in this process was not a wish to improve the situation with the rights of language minorities but the necessity to report on the fulfillment of obligations taken when admitted to the European Council. Among the obligations taken by Ukraine when admitted to the European Council (Conclusion #190 (1995) of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly) we can find the sub-paragraph 12.vii, which runs as follows: “…during one year from the admission to sign and ratify the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages …”.

This approach is manifest in the way Ukraine ratified the Charter. According to paragraph 2, Article 2 of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages the state must apply minimum of 35 paragraphs or sub-paragraphs chosen from among the provisions of Part III of the Charter “Measures to promote the use of regional or minority languages in public life…”. Ukraine fulfilled this requirement but made a selective choice of exceptionally declarative paragraphs, i. e. those paragraphs that do not require any action of government influence or support. Thus, Ukraine even having ratified the Charter did not take any significant obligations as to improvement of the situation regarding regional and minority languages.

This document registered under the number 148 according to the Council of Europe coding system was opened for signature and join for the Council of Europe member states from 11.05.1992. It entered into force on 03.01.1998 after five Council of Europe member states joined it in accordance with the provisions of Article 19 of the Charter. First, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Law #1350-XIV “On Ratification of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, 1992”. But the procedure of signature was violated (the President of Ukraine L. Kuchma refused to sign the law adopted by the Parliament and it was signed by the Head of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine). So the Constitutional Court of Ukraine with the Resolution #9-rp of July 12, 2000 annulled this law. At twice the Charter was ratified by the Law of Ukraine of 05.15.2003 #802-IV “On Ratification of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages”. But for the next two years Ukraine did not transmit ratification documents to the Council of Europe Secretary General and did it only on September 19, 2005. That’s why the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages entered into force for Ukraine only on January 1, 2006. And in accordance with Article 19 of the Law of Ukraine “On International Agreements of Ukraine” #1906-IV of 06.29.2004 it is the part of national legislation that in case of legal norms conflict has the dominant position comparing to other laws of Ukraine.

In Ukraine according to paragraph 2 of the Law of Ukraine “On Ratification of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages” #802-IV of 03.15.2003 the Charter’s provisions are applied to the languages: Byelorussian, Bulgarian, Gagauz, Greek, Hebrew, Crimean Tatar language, Moldavian, German, Polish, Russian, Romanian, Slovak and Hungarian. At the same time according to all-Ukrainian population census data 10.9 million people (or 22.2% of the general population) – representatives of over 130 nationalities – live in Ukraine.

At the same time number, share and geographical location of regional and minority languages native speakers are not homogeneous.

Russians are settled throughout the territory of Ukraine quite irregularly. Besides the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol region, where the share of Russians comes to about 58.3% and 71.6% of all residents, the majority of Russians live in Donets’k region (1844.4 thous. people or 14.2% of the total number), Luhans’k region (991.8 thous. people or 11.9%), Kharkiv region (742.0 thous. people or 8.9%), Dnipropetrovs’k region (627.5 thous. people or 7.5%), Odesa region (508.5 thous. people or 6.1%) and Zaporizhya region (476.7 thous. people or 5.7%). The share of Russians in these regions is also high and fluctuates from 17.6% of the total population in Dnipropetrovs’k region to 39.0% – in Luhans’k region.

All together in all abovementioned territories 54.3% (5,2 mln.) of Russians reside, and taking into account the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol region this index constitutes 71.7% (6,6 mln.).

Among other regions only in Mykolayiv, Kherson, Sumy, Poltava and Kyiv regions the number of Russians exceeds 100 thous. people in each one, and their share is 6–14%. In the rest of the regions both absolute and relative quantity of Russians are not significant (relative quantity fluctuates from 1.2% in Ternopil’ region to 3.6% in L’viv region). There are 337.3 thous. of Russians (or 13.1% of all residents) in Kyiv.

95.9% of Russians consider their national language as their native one.

Byelorussians take the third place according to population that number 275.8 thous. people (0.6% of the total number of population).

Byelorussians are spread out quite regularly throughout the territory of Ukraine. The majority of Byelorussians live in Donets’k region (44.5 thous. people or 16.1%).

Dispersed settlement in all the regions of Ukraine is typical for them. 29.5 thous. people (0.8%) live in Dnipropetrovs’k region, in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea – 29.2 thous. people (1.4%), Luhans’k region – 20.5 thous. people (0.8%), the city of Kyiv – 16.5 thous. people (0.6%), Kharkiv region – 14.7 thous. people (0.5%), Odesa region – 12.7 thous. people (0.5%), Zaporizhya region – 12.6 thous. people (0.7%), Rivne region – 11.8 thous. people (1%), Kyiv region – 8.6 thous. people (0.5%), Mykolayiv region – 8.3 thous. people (0.7%), Kherson region – 8.1 thous. people (0.7%), Chernihiv region – 7.1 thous. people (0.2%), Poltava region – 6.3 thous. people (0.4%), the city of Sevastopol – 5.8 thous. people (1.6%), Kirovohrad region – 5.5 thous. people (0.5%), L’viv region – 5.4 thous. people (0.2%), Zhytomyr region – 4.9 thous. people (0.4%), Sumy region – 4.3 thous. people (0.3%), Cherkasy region – 3.9 thous. people (0.3%), Vinnytsya region – 3.1 thous. people (0.2%), Volyn region – 3.2 thous. people (3.2%), Khmeltnytsky region – 2.7 thous. people (0.2%), Ivano-Frankivs’k region – 1.5 thous. people (0.1%) and Chernivtsi region – 1.4 thous. people (0.2%).

19.8% of Byelorussians consider their national language as their native one, Ukrainian language – 17.5%, Russian language – 62.5%.

Bulgarians.

According to the data of all-Ukrainian population census (2001) 204.6 thous. people (0.4%) of Bulgarian nationality live in Ukraine. The majority of them live in the following regions: Odesa region – 150.6 thous. people (6.1%), Zaporizhya region – 27.7 thous. people (1.4%), Mykolayiv region – 5.6 thous. people (0.4%), Kirovohrad region – 2.2 thous. people (0.2%) and Kherson region – 1 thous. people (0.1%). Bulgarians are settled densely in Artsyzk district – 20.1 thous. people (39.0%), Bolgrad district – 45.6 thous. people (60.8%), Tatutyns’k district – 16,9 thous. people (37.5%).

64.2% of Bulgarians consider their national language as their native one, Ukrainian language – 5%, Russian language – 30.3%.

Gagauzes.  

31.9 thous. people (0,1%) of Gagauz nationality live in Ukraine.

In Odesa region the population of Gagauzes numbers 27.6 thous. people (1.1%). The majority of Gaguzes live in Bolgrad, Kyliya and Reni districts of Odesa region.

71.5% of Gagauzes consider their national language as their native one, Ukrainian language – 3.5%, Russian language – 22.7%.

Greeks.

91.5 thous. of Greeks (0.2%) live in Ukraine. 77.5 thous. people or almost 85% live in Donets’k region, mostly in the city of Mariupol. 2.8 thous. people of Greek nationality (0.1%) live in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, in Zaporizhya region live 2.2 thous. people (0.1%), in Odesa region – 2.1 thous. people (0.1%). In the rest of the regions their number fluctuates from 1 thous. people to 19 thous. people (in the city of Sevastopol).

6.4% of Greeks consider their national language as their native one, Ukrainian language – 4.8%, Russian language – 88.5%.

In addition to learning New Greek language much attention is paid to preservation and learning of Greek dialects – Rumeyskyi and Urumskyi. Native speakers of these dialects mostly live in Donets’k region rural areas. Only older people speak these dialects nowadays.

Crimean Tatars.

248.2 thous. of Crimean Tatars (0.5%) live in Ukraine. This ethnical group is the fourth numerous in Ukraine. 243.4 thous. of Crimean Tatars live in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (it is equivalent to 98.1% of their total population). Besides, they live in Kherson region where their population is 2 thous. people (0.2%) and in the city of Sevastopol – 1.8 thous. people (0,5%).

92% of Crimean Tatars consider their national language as their native one, Ukrainian language – 0.1%, Russian language – 6.1%.

Moldavians is one of the most numerous national minorities in Ukraine together with Russians and Byelorussians. 258.6 thous. people (0.5%) of Moldavian nationality live in Ukraine nowadays. Almost 74% of Moldavians are residents of Odesa region (123.7 thous. people or 47.8%) and Chernivtsi region (67.2 thous. people or 26%). Moldavian minority representatives are compactly settled in Izmayil district – 15.0 thous. people (27.8%) and Reni district – 19.9 thous. people (49.0%) of Odesa region.

Besides, Moldavian nationals are settled in Mykolayiv region – 13.1 thous. people (1%), Kirovohrad region – 8.3 thous. people (0.7%), Donets’k region – 7.1 thous. people (0.1%), Kherson region – 4.1 thous. people (0.4%), Dnipropterovs’k region – 4.4 thous. people (0.1%), the Autonomous Republic of Crimea – 3.7 thous. people (0.2%), Vinnytsya region – 2.9 thous. people (0.2%), Poltava region – 2.5 thous. people (0.2%), Kharkiv region – 2.4 thous. people (0.1%) and in the city of Kyiv – 1.9 thous. people (0.1%). In the rest of the regions live from 300 people to 1.6 thous. people of Moldavian nationality.

70% of Moldavians consider their national language as their native one, Ukrainian language – 10.7%, Russian language – 17.6%.

Germans.

33.3 thous. of Germans (0,1%) live in Ukraine. Approximately 59% of all Germans live in six regions of the country: Donets’k region – 4.6 thous. people (0.1%), Dnipropetrovs’k region – 3.8 thous. people (0.1%), Zaporizhya region – 2.2 thous. people (0.1%), Odesa region – 2.9 thous. people (0.1%), Zakarpattya region – 3.6 thous. people (0.3%) and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea – 2.5 thous. people (0.1%). Their number is over one thousand in each in the following regions – Luhansk, Kherson and Mykolayiv regions.

12.2% of Germans consider their national language as their native one, Ukrainian language – 22.1%, Russian language – 64.7%.

Poles.

144.1 thous. of Poles (0.3%) live in Ukraine. The majority of Poles live in Zhytomyr region – 49 thous. people (3.5%), Khmelnytskyi region – 23 thous. people (1.6%), L’viv region – 18.9 thous. people (0.7%), Ternopil’ region – 3.8 thous. people (0.2%), Vinnytsya region – 3.7 thous. people (0.2%), Chernivtsi region – 3.3 thous. people (0.4%), Kyiv region – 2.8 thous. people (0.2%), Rivne region – 2 thous. people (0.2%), the Autonomous Republic of Crimea – 3.8 thous. people (0.2%) and in the city of Kyiv – 6.9 thous. people (0.3%).

12.9% of Poles consider their national language as their native one, Ukrainian language – 71%, Russian language – 15.6%.

Romanians.

151 thous. of Romanians (0.3%) live in Ukraine. 114,6 thous. (12.5%) of Romanians live in Chernivtsi region; 32.1 thous. people (2.6%) – in Zakarpattya region, others are settled irregularly in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Donets’k, Odesa, Mykolayiv, Kherson, Kirovohrad regions, the city of Kyiv, where their number fluctuates from 50 to 724 people.

In Chernivtsi region Romanians are compactly settled in Gertsa district – 28.2 thous. people (94%) and in Hlyboka district – 66.2 thous. people (67%). Romanians also constitute the majority of population of Storozhynets’ district – 33.7 thous. people (37.5%), Khotyn district – 5.4 thous. people (7.1%) and the city of Chernivtsi – 13.0 thous. people (7.5%).

91.7% of Romanians consider their national language as their native one, Ukrainian language – 6.2%, Russian language – 1.5%.

Slovaks.  

6.4 thous. of Slovaks (0.01%) live in Ukraine.

The majority of Slovaks live in Zakarpattya region – 5695 people (89.1%). Places of compact settlements of Slovaks are located in the cities of Uzhgorod and Mukacheve, villages: V. Bereznyi, Storozhnytsya, Antonivka, Hlyboke, Serednie of Uzhgorod district, Turia-Remeta of Perechyns’k district, Rodnikova Guta of Svalyava district, Dovge of Irshava district.

Out of Zakarpattya region the majority of Slovaks live in Kyiv, L’viv, Rivne, Volyn, Dnipropetrovs’k, Donets’k and Odesa regions.

2633 of Slovaks (41.2%) consider their national language as their native one, Ukrainian language – 2665 (41.7%), Russian language – 335 (5.2%).

Hungarians.

156.6 thous. of Hungarians (0.3%) live in Ukraine. Hungarians take the fifth place according to their number among the national minorities of Ukraine.

The majority of Hungarians live in Zakarpattya region – 151.5 thous. (12,1%). In particular, 8 thous. people (6.9%) live in Uzhgorod, in Beregove – 12.8 thous. people (48.1%), Mukacheve – 7 thous. people (8.5%), Khust – 1.7 thous. people (5.4%). In Beregove district live 41.2 thous. people (76.1%), Vynohradiv district – 30.9 thous. people (26.2%), Irshava district – 1 thous. people (0.1%), Mukacheve district – 12.9 thous. people (12.7%), Rahiv district – 2,9 thous. people (3.2%), Svalyava district – 400 people (0.7%) and in Tyachiv district – 5 thous. people (2.9%).

Hungarians are settled most compactly in Beregove, Vynohradiv, Mukachevo districts and in the city of Beregove.

95.4% of Hungarians consider their national language as their native one, Ukrainian language – 3.4%, Russian language – 1%.

Crimean Tatars are settled most compactly – 98.1% in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and 0.8% in Kherson region; 96.8% of Hungarians are settled compactly in Zakarpattya region; 86.5% of Gagauzes – in Odesa region; 84.7% of Greeks – in Donets’k region; 75.9% of Romanians – in Chernivtsi region and 21.3% in Zakarpattya region; 73.7 % of Bulgarians – in Odesa region.

The language of their nationality was mostly preserved as the native one by Hungarians (95.4%), Crimean Tatars (92.0%), Romanians (91.7%), Gagauzes (71.5%), Moldavians (70.0%), Bulgarians (64.1%).

The lowest percent of those who consider their national language to be their native language is among Jews (13.1%), Greeks (6.4%), Germans (12.2%), Poles (12.9%), Byelorussians (19.8%).

But we have to keep in mind that while defining the term “regional or minority language native speaker” the government did not hold any special research, did not develop scientifically based methodology of these terms definition, and all statistical information given is based on all-Ukrainian population census (2001).

Hebrew language can be considered as a non-territory language used in Ukraine (our country took obligations to protect such languages).

103.6 thous. of Jews (0.2% of total population) live in Ukraine. The majority of Jews live in Kyiv – 18 thous. people, in Dnipropetrovs’k region – 13.8 thous. people (0.4%) and in Odesa region – 13.4 thous. people (0.5%). Besides, the places of the densest settlements of Jews are: Kharkiv region – 11.6 thous. people (0.4%) and Donets’k region – 8.8 thous. people (0.2%). In other 16 regions there are from 1 to 4 thous. people, and in 6 regions – Volyn, Zakarpattya, Ivano-Frankivs’k, Rivne, Sumy and Ternopil’ – less than a thousand in each region.

3.1% of Jews consider the language of their nationality as their native one, Ukrainian language – 13.4%, Russian language – 83%.

Until now there haven’t been established any state body and haven’t been determined any body within the system of state executive authorities endowed to coordinate and control the implementation of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages provisions and these languages protection and development. In reality, the implementation of the Charter’s provisions is assigned to over 10 State authorities of various competence and levels.  In particular, Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine is responsible for the implementation of Article 8 – Education. Paragraph 1. Subparagraph а) (ііі), subparagraph b) (iv); subparagraph с) (iv); subparagraph d) (iv); subparagraph е) (ііі); subparagraph f) (ііі), subparagraph (g); subparagraph (h); subparagraph (i) and Paragraph 2); Ministry of Justice, Supreme Court, General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine – Article 9 – Judicial authorities. Paragraph 1. Subparagraph а) (ііі); subparagraph b) (ііі); subparagraph с) (ііі). Paragraph 2. Subparagraph с). Paragraph 3; Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, regional, Kyiv and Sevastopol state administrations – Article 10 – Administrative authorities and public services; National Council of Ukraine for TV and Radio Broadcasting – Article 11 – Media. Paragraph 1. Subparagraph а) (ііі); subparagraph в) (іі); subparagraph с) (іі); subparagraph d); subparagraph е) (і); subparagraph (g). Paragraph 2. Paragraph 3; Ministry of Culture and Tourism – Article 12 – Cultural activities and facilities. Paragraph 1. Subparagraph а); subparagraph в); subparagraph с); subparagraph d);  subparagraph and f); subparagraph (g). Paragraph 2, Paragraph 3; Ministry of Economy – Article 13 – Economic and social life. Paragraph 1. Subparagraph b). Subparagraph с); Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Article 14 – Transfrontier exchanges. Subparagraph а), Subparagraph b).

At the same time according to budget program 5321080 “Measures directed onto fulfillment of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages” funds for support and development of 13 languages of national minorities were allocated to the State Committee on Nationalities and Religions of Ukraine (former – to the State Committee on Nationalities and Migration of Ukraine). So, in 2005–2006 900 thous. hryvnias were allocated, and according to the Law of Ukraine “On the State Budget of Ukraine for the year 2007”, for 2007  963.0 thous. hryvnias was budgeted.

But these funds allocation is illogical and doesn’t correspond with the Charter’s spirit.

Language minority

Number, thous. people

Governmental aid, thous. hryvnias[2]

Bulgarian

204.6

387

Byelorussian

275.8

0

Gagauz

 

31.9

0

Greek

91.5

118.3

Hebrew

 

103.6

394

Crimean Tatar

 

248.2

527

Moldavian

258.6

20

German

33.3

25

Pole

144.1

339.4

Russian

13500

60

Romanian

151

745

Slovak

 

6.4

0

Hungarian

156.6

124.3

 

In other words, Romanian language minority which is 84 times smaller than the Russian one, received governmental aid 12 times over; while Byelorussian (the second in population in Ukraine), as well as Gagauz and Slovak minorities received nothing.

So we can establish a fact that there is no executive chain of accountability and real responsibility for funds spent.

That’s why even after the Charter adoption the biggest contribution into support and development of regional and minority languages is done by non-government organizations and national unions at the expenses of philanthropists.

Although our country took some responsibilities determined by Article 6 of the Charter, the analysis of funds spent on its provisions implementation allows to confirm that the government did not take any effective steps on informing authorities, organizations and persons of the rights and duties established by the Charter.

During the whole time not a single cent was spent on implementation of provisions of Article 6 of the Charter – taking steps related on informing authorities, organizations and persons of the rights and duties established by the Charter. The fact that the government implements the policy of deliberate concealment and non-informing of the rights for regional or minority languages established by the Charter vividly illustrates the overall situation.

In general Ukrainians are not informed of the rights and possibilities for regional or minority languages provided by the Charter. And even the guarantor of human and citizen rights and freedoms the President of Ukraine did not know that the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages ratified by Ukraine implemented the term “regional language” into Ukrainian legislation.

Article 7 of the Charter contains 9 principles. Each country that sent ratifications shall base its policies, legislation and practice on them.

Having analyzed these principles and the situation in the field of language policy we can note that not all of them are fulfilled by Ukraine.

For example, paragraph b of Article 7 proclaims the principle of respect of the borders of each geographical area, where a regional or minority language is used in order to ensure that existing or new administrative divisions do not constitute any obstacle to the promotion of the regional or minority languages. But the existing administrative-territorial division was performed in the times of the USSR when little attention was paid to the problems of national minorities (all of us know the results). In 2005 in Ukraine an administrative-territorial reform was initiated, but its provisions did not include a possibility of creation the areas, where representatives of national minorities constitute a significant part of population that would allow taking more steps on support of regional languages in such areas.

Paragraphs c and d of the same article provide the necessity of resolute actions directed onto development of regional or minority languages in order to safeguard them and also onto encouragement of the use of regional or minority languages in speech and writing in public and private life. But Ukraine has not implemented the Charter’s provisions into domestic legislation. And financing of steps directed onto the Charter’s provisions implementation is non-transparent, non-systematic and low-leveled. For these two reasons the accomplishment of any resolute action concerning the Charter’s provisions implementations in Ukraine is impossible.

The same could be said as to paragraph e that provides maintenance and development of links in the fields covered by the Charter, between groups using a regional or minority language and other groups in the State employing a language used in identical or similar form, as well as the establishment of cultural relations with other groups in the state using different languages.

Paragraphs f, g and h provide ensuring of appropriate conditions for functioning of regional languages in the fields of education and science. But having analyzed the situation in the field of education we came to conclusion that Ukrainian policy is directed not onto such conditions ensuring but onto exclusion of regional languages from these fields and replacement them with Ukrainian language.

As to the Law of Ukraine “On Ratification of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages” it should be noted the following.

According to paragraph 4 of this Law that entered into force on January 1, 2006 the provisions of paragraphs and subparagraphs of Articles 8–14 of the Charter are implemented in the same way to all of the thirteen regional languages determined by Article 2 of this Law.

We have to mention that the same level of protection is unreasonable and not appropriate for the language field of Ukraine as Russian language native speakers are represented significantly in all regions of our country, while other languages native speakers live in separate areas. Moreover, an exclusive position of Russian language was confirmed by Verkhovna Rada, as paragraph 3 of Article 10 of the Constitution of Ukraine states:

In Ukraine, the free development, use and protection of Russian, and other languages of national minorities of Ukraine, is guaranteed.

This is also proved by statistics of all-Ukrainian population census which took place in Ukraine in 2001. But nevertheless Ukrainian parliament decided to select the similar paragraphs and subparagraphs of Articles 8–14 of the Charter for all the thirteen languages which obtained the status of regional languages in Ukraine – it does not have any logical explanation.

This law states maximally restricted legal field for Russian language ensuring it support on the level of other national languages. It contradicts the purposes of the Charter according to which state’s obligations regarding protection of minority languages must correlate with the number of representatives one or another language group.

We have to emphasize that this law violates directly Article 22 of the Constitution of Ukraine that does not allow diminishing of contents and scope of existing rights and freedoms. At the same time the scope of Charter’s provisions, which Ukraine promised to fulfill, is much narrower than the scope of provisions of the existing Law of Ukraine “On Languages in the Ukrainian SSR” of 1989. The adoption of the Charter in such a way demonstrated once again intolerant attitude to Russian and other minority languages from the side of Ukrainian official authority and political elite.

Besides, we have to note that paragraph b of Article 1 of the Charter defines the term “territory in which the regional or minority language is used”. It means the geographical area in which the said language is a mode of expression of a number of people justifying the adoption of the various protective and promotional measures.

But in Ukraine the territory of the use of each of the thirteen regional languages in not determined and the legislative procedure for these areas defining is not consolidated. To our mind, these measures would allow making the right choice of subparagraphs of Articles 8–14 of the Charter so that they correspond with regional representation and share of different regional languages native speakers. This approach to the Charter ratification would answer the purposes of the Charter much more than the approach chosen by Ukraine in 2003.

Thus, the selection of similar paragraphs regarding all languages and non-determination of areas of the Charter’s provisions implementation caused the situation when all regional languages obtained the same MINIMAL level of protection throughout the territory of Ukraine.

For the time of this Report preparation the status of regional and minority languages in Ukraine is absolutely undetermined in the Constitutional Law of Ukraine, as well as in the codes of practice and laws:

  1. Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine 1960.12.28;
  2. Economic Procedure Code of Ukraine #1798-XII 1991.11.06;
  3. Civil Procedure Code of Ukraine #1618-IV 2004.03.18;
  4. Judicial Procedure Code of Ukraine #2747-IV 2005.07.06;
  5. Law of Ukraine “On the Status of Judges” # 330-XIV 1998.12.22;
  6. Law of Ukraine “On Election of President of Ukraine” # 474-XIV 1999.03.05;
  7. Law of Ukraine “On Service in the local self-governance bodies” #2493-III 2001.06.07;
  8. Law of Ukraine “On Education” # 1060-XII 1991.05.23;
    1. Law of Ukraine “On Out-of-school Education” # 1841-III 2000.06.22;
    2.  Law of Ukraine “On Preschool Education” # 2628-III 2001.07.11;
    3.  Law of Ukraine “On General Secondary Education” # 651-XIV 1999.05.13;
    4.  Law of Ukraine “On Higher Education” # 2984-III 2002.01.17;
    5.  Law of Ukraine “On Languages in the Ukrainian SSR” # 8312-XI 1989.10.28;
    6.  Law of Ukraine “On TV and Radio Broadcasting” # 3759-XII 1993.12.21;
    7.  Law of Ukraine “On Procurement of Goods, Works and Services at the State Expense” # 1490-III 2000.02.22;
    8.  Law of Ukraine “On Notariat” # 3425-XII 1993.09.02;
    9.  Law of Ukraine “On Banks and Banking Activity” # 2121-III 2000.12.07;
    10.  Law of Ukraine “On Arbitration Courts” # 1701-IV 2004.05.11;
    11.  Law of Ukraine “On Compulsory State Retirement Insurance” # 1058-IV 2003.07.09;
    12.  Law of Ukraine “On State Registration of Legal Entities and Individuals – Entrepreneurs” # 755-IV 2003.05.15;
    13.  Law of Ukraine “On Election of Deputies to the Parliament of the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea, local councils and village, settlement and city mayors” # 1667-IV 2004.04.06;
    14.  Law of Ukraine “On Election of National Deputies of Ukraine” # 1665-IV 2004.03.25;
    15.  Law of Ukraine “On Geographical Names” # 2604-IV 2005.05.31;
    16.  Law of Ukraine “On Standards, Technical Regulations and Procedures of Conformance Evaluation” # 3164-IV 2005.12.01;
    17.  Law of Ukraine “On Topographic, Geodetic and Cartographic Activity” # 353-XIV 1998.12.23;
    18.  Law of Ukraine “On Production Distribution Agreements” #1039-XIV 1999.09.14;
    19.  Law of Ukraine “On Protection of Rights to Integrated Circuits Designs” # 621/97-VR 1997.11.05;
    20.  Law of Ukraine “On Protection of Rights to Indication of Goods Origin” #752-XIV 1999.06.16;
    21.  Law of Ukraine “On Protection of Rights to Industrial Designs” # 3688-XII 1993.12.15;
    22.  Law of Ukraine “On Distribution of Copies of Audiovisual Works, Phonograms, Videograms, Computer Software, Databases” # 1587-III 2000.03.23;
    23.  Law of Ukraine “On National Minorities in Ukraine” #2494-XII 1992.06.25;
    24.  Law of Ukraine “On Protection of Rights to Trademarks for Goods and Services” #3689-XII 1993.12.15;
    25.  Law of Ukraine “On Protection of Rights to Inventions and Utility Models” #3687-XII 1993.12.15;
    26.  Law of Ukraine “On Protection of rights to Plant Varieties” # 3116-XII 1993.04.21;
    27.  Law of Ukraine “On State Regulation of Imported Agricultural Products” # 468/97-VR 1997.07.17;
    28.  Law of Ukraine “On Tax on Individuals Income” # 889-IV 2003.05.22;
    29.  Law of Ukraine “The Procedure for Media Coverage of state bodies and local self-governance bodies activity in Ukraine” #539/97-VR 1997.09.23;
    30.  Law of Ukraine “On publishing” #318/97-VR 1997.06.05;
    31.  Law of Ukraine “On the Armed Forces of Ukraine” #1934-XII 1991.12.06;
    32.  Law of Ukraine “On Forwarding Entrepot” #1955-IV 2004.07.01;
    33.  Law of Ukraine “On Circulation of Notes in Ukraine” #2374-III 2001.04.05;
    34.  Law of Ukraine “On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine” #422/96-VR 1996.10.16;
    35.  Law of Ukraine “On National Manufacturer Defense from Subsidize Import” #331-XIV 1998.12.22;
    36.  Law of Ukraine “On Safety and Quality of Food Products” #771/97-VR 1997.12.23;
    37.  Law of Ukraine “On Application of Special Measures for Import into Ukraine” #332-XIV 1998.12.22;
    38.  Law of Ukraine “On National Manufacturer Defense from Dumping Import” #330-XIV 1998.12.22.

From the very moment of the Charter ratification and entering into force in Ukraine the provisions of the laws mentioned which regulate the use of languages, have not been almost amended. In other words, it is no sort of reason to confirm that Ukraine in any way tried to implement the Carters provisions into domestic legislation. Moreover, some provisions of laws, adopted after the Charter’s ratification, restrict the field of the use for regional and minority languages.

In 2006 for southern and eastern regions self-governments developed the favorable situation for making decisions related to the Charter’s provisions implementation. The decisions of territorial communities’ representatives were based on the Charter and corresponded with its spirit, not changing the procedure of language field legal regulation profoundly. But as we note further, even such weak attempts of regional authorities to get a problem of regional languages defense and promotion off the ground met with the central authorities’ resistance. With the help of Public Prosecutor’s Offices and courts of Ukraine such resolutions were revoked:

April, 25 – Luhans’k region (on June 2 Luhans’k Regional Council rejected the Regional Prosecutor’s protest to this resolution, Lenin District Court of Luhans’k left Public Prosecutor’s claim without consideration);

18 May — Donets’k region (in November 2006 Voroshylov District Court of Donets’k revoked the resolution of the Regional Council. On February 19, 2007 the Court of Appeal of Donets’k region restored the status of regional language for Russian language in Donets’k region);

May, 26 – Mykolayiv region (the court refused to accept Public Prosecutor’s claim to this resolution, Pechersk District Court rejected the claim repeatedly. On March 13, 2007 the Court of Appeal of Mykolayiv region revoked the resolution of the Regional Council);

June, 3 – Kharkiv region (Pechers’k District Court of Kyiv refused to accept the claim to revoking);

June, 22 – Zaporizhya region (on July 7 the Regional Council rejected Public Prosecutor’s protest to this decision);

July, 6 – Kherson region (revoked on November 17, 2006).

Regional Councils obtained the status of a regional language for Russian in the following cities of Ukraine:

March, 6  – Kharkiv (the Regional Council rejected the Regional Prosecutor’s protest; on February 6, 2007 the Regional Court of Appeal rejected  Public Prosecutor’s claim, leaving the resolution effective for the city of Kharkiv);

April, 26 – Sevastopol (on June 6 the Regional Council rejected the Regional Prosecutor’s protest and left the resolution unchanged. In 2007, Sevastopol Regional Council adopted the program of Russian language promotion in the city according to which Russian language may be used in the work of local self-government and state administration, in publishing official documents, on official meetings, public appearances, etc. Radio stations and TV channels with Russian language of broadcasting may be established);

May, 24 – Dnipropetrovs’k (revoked on July 20, 2006);

May, 26 – Donets’k (revoked on November 14, 2006 by the District Court, the Court of Appeal of Donets’k region confirmed the revoke on January 15, 2007);

May, 28 – Yalta;

May, 30 – Luhans’k;

July, 5 – Zaporizhya (on July 28 the Regional Council rejected the Regional Prosecutor’s protest, but the status was finally annulled on November 1, 2006);

June, 21 – Kryvyi Rih (revoked on October 11, 2006);

June 28 – Alushta (the Regional Council proclaimed Russian language to be the official language of Council and its executive bodies);

July, 5 – Odesa Regional Council ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and proclaimed Russian language to be the language of international communication in Odesa region.

Crimean Parliament with the Resolution of October 18, 2006 promoted 14 draft laws, being reviewed by the Parliament of Ukraine, focused on bringing Ukrainian legislation in line with the Charter’s provisions.

At the end of January 2007 Luhans’k Regional Council appealed to the Verkhovna Rada with a request to determine the procedure of implementation of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. On February 1, 2007 Mykolayiv Regional Council appealed to the Verkhovna Rada with the same request.

The Public Prosecutor’s Offices revoked the resolutions of Regional Councils on the basis that the procedure for the use of languages in Ukraine is determined by laws only and Regional Councils do not have any authority in this field.

As for general legislation that regulates the order of language use, the following should be mentioned.

The main regulatory legal act, which governs the order of language use in Ukraine, is the Constitution, Article 10 of which states:

The state language of Ukraine is the Ukrainian language.

The State ensures the comprehensive development and functioning of the Ukrainian language in all spheres of social life throughout the entire territory of Ukraine.

In Ukraine, the free development, use and protection of Russian, and other languages of national minorities of Ukraine, is guaranteed.

The State promotes the learning of languages of international communication.

The use of languages in Ukraine is guaranteed by the Constitution of Ukraine and is determined by law.

Besides, on November 1, 1991 the “Declaration of Nationalities’ Rights of Ukraine” (Act # 1771-XII) was adopted. It states that Ukrainian state ensures the free use of Russian language for its citizens. In places of several national minorities’ habitation the language allowable to the entire population of the territory may be used on the same level with Ukrainian language. And on June 25, 1992 the President of Ukraine signed the Law of Ukraine “On National Minorities in Ukraine” ((# 2494-XII). This law provided the use of languages of national minorities along with Ukrainian in work of the state bodies, enterprises, establishments, organizations on the territories of such nationalities residing (Article 8).

On December 14, 1999 the Constitutional Court of Ukraine adopted the Resolution #10-rp/99 in the case under the constitutional appeal regarding the interpretation of Article 10 of the Constitution of Ukraine on use of national language by state and local authorities as well as in educational process in educational institutions of Ukraine.

In its Resolution the Constitutional Court of Ukraine stated that national (official) language means the language, which is given the status of mandatory means of communication in public spheres of social life by the state. Ukrainian language is given the status of a national language by the Constitution of Ukraine.

The spheres of public life where national language is used include, first of all, the sphere of exercising legislative, executive and judicial bodies’ authorities, as well as other state and local authorities (language of work, paper work, administration and documentation, etc). Other spheres determined by law according to the fifth part of Article 10 and paragraph 4 of the first part of Article 92 of the Constitution of Ukraine can be also determined as the spheres of national language use.

In particular, according to current legislation, the question of Ukrainian language use is resolved with regards to applications of individuals; operation of Armed Forces of Ukraine and National Guard of Ukraine; publishing of materials for official and general use that are distributed through state enterprises, establishments and organizations (blanks, forms, receipts, tickets, permits, diplomas etc); mass media coverage of the work of state and local authorities in Ukraine; customs documents execution, etc. According to current Law of Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) “On Languages in USSR” (October 28, 1898) officials of state authorities, establishments and organizations shall speak Ukrainian.

Thus, provisions of the Constitution of Ukraine oblige the use of national – Ukrainian language – as the language of formal communication of officials when executing duties, the language of work and administration of government bodies, representative and other bodies of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, local self-government, as well as the language of educational process in state and community educational establishments of Ukraine.

Taking into consideration the abovementioned, the Constitutional Court in the operative part of the Resolution determined that provisions of the first part of Article 10 of the Constitution of Ukraine according to which “the state language of Ukraine is the Ukrainian language” should be interpreted in such a way:

Ukrainian language being the state language is the mandatory means of communication throughout Ukraine for the state and local authorities (language of acts, work, paper work, documents, etc.), as well as in the other fields of public life as determined by law (fifth part of Article 10 of the Constitution of Ukraine).

“Together with the state language, local executive bodies, bodies of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and local self-government may use Russian and other languages of national minorities while exercising their powers and duties within the law of Ukraine.”

Thus, Article 10 of the Constitution recognizes and guarantees the right for comprehensive development and use of Russian and other languages of national minorities in accordance with laws of Ukraine. But the Constitutional Court Resolution on this article interpretation restricts essentially the field of use for languages of national minorities. The reason is that in most cases the phrase “mandatory means of communication” in the operative part of the Resolution is understood as “the only possible means of communication” by officials, that results in restriction and violation of rights for the use of native language, different from the Ukrainian one.

 

Article 8 – Education

 

The basic special regulatory legal act, which regulates legal relations in the sphere of education, is the Law of Ukraine “On Education”. Article 7 of this law provides that the language of education is determined by the Constitution of Ukraine and the Law of the Ukrainian SSR “On Languages in the Ukrainian SSR”.

In its turn, Article 53 of the Constitution of Ukraine ensures that citizens, who belong to the national minorities, are guaranteed in accordance with the law the right to receive instruction in their native language, or to study their native language in state and communal educational establishments and through national cultural societies. According to the article 25 of the effective Law “On Languages in the Ukrainian SSR” free choice of the language in education shall be inalienable Ukrainian citizens’ right. The right to be educated in national language shall be guaranteed to each child. This right shall be provided by creation of network of infant schools and schools, educating in Ukrainian and other national languages.

The operative part of the Constitutional Court Resolution #10-rp/99 states that on the basis of Article 10 of the Constitution of Ukraine and laws of Ukraine guaranteeing the use of languages in educational process, the language of study in state and communal pre-school, complete general secondary, vocational and higher educational establishments of Ukraine is Ukrainian.

In accordance with provisions of the Constitution of Ukraine, in particular the fifth part of Article 53, and laws of Ukraine, in state and communal educational establishments in educational process the languages of national minorities may be used and studied together with the state language.

So, general regulatory legal acts provide that only those citizens who belong to national minorities have the right to choose the language of study. But the Charter’s provisions are directed at the defense the rights of language minorities, but not national minorities (as language minority is superior to national one). So, general legislation in the field of education does not secure adequate level of regional languages defense in the field of education, as the Charter provides.

Legal relations in the field of pre-school education are regulated by the special regulatory legal act, the Law of Ukraine “On Pre-school Education”. Article 10 of this law ensures that a language (languages) in pre-school education is determined in accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine and laws on languages.

Article 26 of the Law “On Languages in the Ukrainian SSR” provides:

In the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, the upbringing in pre-school establishments, including orphanages, shall be in Ukrainian.

In places of compact inhabitance of citizens of other nationalities, pre-school establishments may be set up to bring up children in their national or any other language.

In pre-school establishments, separate groups to be brought up in any other language different from the language of the establishment as a whole may be set up, if necessary.

These Law provisions meet the requirements of subparagraph a (ііі) of the Charter, in spite of the fact the Law was adopted long before the Charter’s ratification. But the problem is that the legislation of Ukraine does not answer the question what the term “places of compact residence of citizens of other nationalities” means and does not determine the terms and the procedure of separate groups educated in other languages establishing.

Due to these circumstances decisions on establishing and functioning of such groups are taken exceptionally at the discretion of officials being in charge of management in the field of pre-school education. Taking into account that for the last fifteen years language policy in Ukraine has been generally directed to the increase of Ukrainian language percentage in all fields of public life, we can hope for a positive decision only in several cases.

Primary and secondary education process is regulated by the Law of Ukraine “On General Secondary Education”. Article 7 of this law ensures that the language (languages) of education shall be determined by the Constitution of Ukraine and the Law of the Ukraine “On Languages in the Ukrainian SSR”.

Article 27 of the Law “On Languages in the Ukrainian SSR” settles the following provision:

In Ukraine, educational work in general secondary schools shall be in Ukrainian.

In places of citizens of other nationalities compact residence general secondary schools may be established with educational work in their national or any other language.

As provided in part three of Article 3, schools may be established with the language of educational work to be jointly chosen by schoolchildren parents.

In general secondary schools, separate classes may be established with educational work in Ukrainian language or a language of the population of any other nationality.

The study of Ukrainian and Russian languages in all general secondary schools shall be mandatory.

The procedure for the study of Ukrainian language by persons arriving from other union republics or that of their exemption from the study of Ukrainian language shall be specified by the Ministry of Education of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

According to statistical information, the distribution of pupils of educational establishments by language of study (by region) is the following:

 

 

Distribution of pupils of educational establishments by language of study

(by region)

(as of beginning of school year; percent)

 Ukraine

Language of study

Ukrainian

Russian

2004/05

2005/06

2006/07

2004/05

2005/06

2006/07

77

78

79

22

21

20

Autonomous

Republic of Crimea

3.5

5

5

93.9

93

92

Vinnytsya region

99

99

99

1

1

1

Volyn region

99.6

99.7

99.7

0.4

0.3

0.3

Dnipropetrovs’k region

76.5

78

79

23.5

22

21

Donets’k region

25.5

29.5

33

74.5

70.5

67

Zhytomyr region

98.5

99

99

1.5

1

1

Zakarpattya region

86

86

86

1

1

1

Zaporizhya region

57

60

63

43

40

37

Ivano-Frankivs’k region

99.6

99.7

99.7

0.3

0.2

0.2

Kyiv region

98

99

99

2

1

1

Kirovohrad region

95

96

96.5

5

4

3.5

Luhans’k region

30

34

37

70

66

63

L’viv region

98.5

99

99

1.2

1

1

Mykolayiv region

85

87

89

15

13

11

Odesa region

62

65

68

36

33

30

Poltava region

96

97

97

4

3

3

Rivne region

99.9

99.9

100

0.1

0.1

Sumy region

92

93

94

8

7

6

Ternopil’ region

99.8

99.8

99.9

0.2

0.2

0.1

Kharkiv region

68

71

73

32

29

27

Kherson region

82

83

83.5

18

17

16.5

Khmelnyts’ky region

99.3

99.3

99

0.6

0.4

0.4

Cherkasy region

98

98

99

2

2

1

Chernivtsi region

81

81

81

1

1

1

Chernihiv region

98

99

99

2

1

1

The city of Kyiv

96

96

96.5

4

4

3

The city of Sevastopol

2

2

2

98

98

98

 

According to statistical information, distribution of pupils of educational establishments by language of study as of beginning of the school year 2006/07 by region is the following:

 

Educational establishments

Percentage

 

Total number of establishments

Ukrainian

Russian

Several languages

Ukrainian

Russian

   

 

Ukraine

20736

17119

1430

1993

82,6

6,9

Autonomous

Republic of Crimea

           

591

7

365

204

1

62

Vinnytsya region

1010

1001

9

99

Volyn region

789

787

2

100

Dnipropetrovs’k region

1030

839

124

67

81

12

Donets’k region

1158

287

243

628

25

21

Zhytomyr region

874

862

2

10

99

Zakarpattya region

699

573

2

36

82

Zaporizhya region

648

390

108

150

60

17

Ivano-Frankivs’k region

748

746

2

100

Kyiv region

784

766

18

98

Kirovohrad region

589

562

4

23

95

1

Luhans’k region

755

253

175

327

34

23

L’viv region

1449

1434

5

6

99

Mykolayiv region

618

564

20

34

91

3

Odesa region

933

598

111

217

64

12

Poltava region

824

803

3

18

97

Rivne region

734

733

1

100

Sumy region

630

568

21

41

90

3

Ternopil’ region

896

895

1

100

Kharkiv region

942

700

130

112

74

14

Kherson region

551

491

41

19

89

7

Khmelnytsky region

1041

1030

1

9

99

Cherkasy region

684

671

1

12

98

Chernivtsi region

442

347

1

15

79

Chernihiv region

742

733

1

8

99

The city of Kyiv

504

478

7

19

95

1

The city of Sevastopol

71

1

65

5

1

92

 

In the school year 1989/1990 there were 4633 schools in Ukraine, where Russian was the only language of study. Since 1990 the number of schools with Russian language of study has declined by 3 thousands in favor of Ukrainian and mixed schools, so the reduction is about 65%.

About 130 schools lose their status of schools with Russian language of study annually. In most cases the wishes of parents are ignored, that contradicts Articles 25 and 27 of the Law of Ukraine “On Languages in the Ukrainian SSR”. The Ministry of Education and Science considers that reduction of Russian schools in number from the moment Ukraine gained independence is a natural process, caused by the necessity to revise an “inclination” in favor of Russian-language education existing in the days of Soviet government.

As an instance we can mention the situation in the city of Kiev. According to the population census (2001) data in Kiev lived 2.5 mln. people, 600 thous. of them (24%) consider Russian language as their native one. But in Kiev as of 2007 there were only 7 from 504 secondary educational establishments with Russian language of study. Thus, only 1.5% of residents of the capital of Ukraine can meet their demands for education in their native language. Rights and freedoms of other Kyivans are violated brutally by officials, who make administrative decisions to reduce the schools with Russian language of study in number.   

In 16 western and central regions of Ukraine there are only 26 Russian schools – it is only 0.2% of general number of schools in the area.

In Vinnytsya, Volyn, Ivano-Frankivs’k, Ternopil’, Rivne and Kyiv regions, where more than 170 thousands Russian-speaking people live (according to the population census (2001) data), there are no schools with Russian language of study. In Khmelnytsky, Cherkasy, Chernihiv and Chernivtsi regions – there is only one school in each region with Russian language of study.

In 1996 in the city of Rivne all Russian schools were closed. Instead of them some classes with Russian language of study were established. Municipal Educational Council denied the application of citizens with the requirement to open a school with Russian language of study. The reasons were few pupils and the lack of facilities for maintenance of school with few classes.

In L’viv, as of the end of 2002, 7 thous. pupils studied in Russian-language schools and classes. However, the total number of ethnic Russians only of school age (not taking into account Russian-speaking children of other nationalities) was 16 thousands. In other words, 56% of pupils of Russian nationality had no possibility to study in their native language.

The number of schools with Russian language of study also reduces in eastern and southern regions of Ukraine.

Already in the school year 2000/2001 the share of Russian secondary educational establishments was less than the share of Russian-speaking population: 518 Russian schools in Donets’k region (41.6% of total number); in Zaporizhya region – 180 (26.9%); in Luhans’k region – 451 (55.1%); in Odesa region – 184 (19.7%); in Kharkiv region – 157 (16.1%).

In 1998 in Odesa there were only 46 schools (32%) with Russian language of study, taking into account that Russian-speaking citizens of the city made 73%. In 2003 in 58 schools of Odesa enrolment of pupils to Russian classes was stopped, not taking into account parents’ opinion.

According to the population census in 1989 in Kharkiv more than 72% of people considered Russian language as their native one. However, in the school year 1997/1998 only 60 Russian schools remained in the city. 33 schools were bilingual (that is less than a half of a general number), and the number of Ukrainian schools amounted 97.

At the beginning of 2006 in Horlivka (Donets’k region, where according to the poll of 2006 82% of respondents called Russian their native language) a plan of transition of 73% schools into Ukrainian language of study during five years was accepted.

Conflicts between local authority, on the one hand, and parents of pupils of those Russian schools, that must become Ukrainian in the form of order, on the other hand, were documented in Torez (Donets’k region), Bokovo-Platovo (Luhans’k region), in the city of Chernihiv and village of Radul’ (Chernihiv region), in Mikolayiv, in Izmayil and Bolgrad (Odesa region), Yalta (Crimea), Kharkiv and Chuguyiv (Kharkiv region).

In addition, amount of educational hours for the study of Russian literature in Russian schools was considerably reduced by administrative decision, and in most Ukrainian schools Russian literature is taught in short, as a part of foreign literature course and in Ukrainian translation.

Article 5 of the Law of Ukraine “On Higher Education” also states that the language of study in higher educational establishments is determined in accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine and laws of Ukraine on languages.

Article 28 of the Law “On Languages in the Ukrainian SSR” provides:

In Ukraine educational work in vocational schools, specialized colleges and higher-education institutions shall be in Ukrainian; as provided in the parts two and three of Article 3, it shall be also in the national language of the majority of population together with Ukrainian language.

Groups educated in a relevant national language may be established for national staff training in such institutions.

In such institutions, Russian-language groups may be established for citizens of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, who studied their national language in general secondary schools together with Ukrainian and Russian languages, for citizens of other union republics and foreign citizens, as well as in cases specified by relevant state authorities. The same state authorities shall specify education institutions with Russian language of education.

In all groups with Russian language of education and all non-Ukrainian-language education institutions regardless of their subordination, the study of Ukrainian language shall be ensured.

According to statistical information, distribution of students of higher education establishments of І–ІІ levels of accreditation by language of study (by region) is the following:

 

Distribution of students of higher education establishments of І–ІІ levels of accreditation by language of study (by region)

(as of beginning of academic year; percent)

 

 

 

Language of study

Ukrainian

Russian

2004/05

2005/06

2006/07

2004/05

2005/06

2006/07

Ukraine

84

85

85

16

14

15

Autonomous

Republic of Crimea

3

3

3

97

97

97

Vinnytsya region

100

100

100

Volyn region

100

100

100

Dnipropetrovs’k region

93

93

94

7

7

6

Donets’k region

21

35

38

79

65

63

Zhytomyr region

100

100

100

Zakarpattya region

98

99

92

6

Zaporizhya region

82

80

90

18

20

10

Ivano-Frankivs’k region

100

100

100

Kyiv region

98

100

100

2

Kirovohrad region

100

100

100

Luhans’k region

68

68

63

32

32

37

L’viv region

100

100

96

4

Mykolayiv region

100

100

100

Odesa region

73

87

87

27

13

16

Poltava region

100

100

100

Rivne region

100

100

100

Sumy region

100

100

100

Ternopil’ region

100

100

100

Kharkiv region

88

89

92

12

11

8

Kherson region

88

89

88

12

11

12

Khmelnytsky region

100

100

100

Cherkasy region

97

100

100

3

Chernivtsi region

99

99

99

Chernihiv region

100

100

100

The city of Kyiv

99

99

95

1

1

5

The city of Sevastopol

100

100

100

 

In its turn, according to statistical information, distribution of students of higher education establishments of ІII–ІV levels of accreditation by language of study (by region) is the following:

 

Distribution of students of higher education establishments of ІII–ІV levels of accreditation by language of study (by regions)

(as of beginning of academic year; percent)

 

 

 

Language of study

Ukrainian

Russian

2004/05

2005/06

2006/07

2004/05

2005/06

2006/07

Ukraine

80

82

83

20

18

17

Autonomous

Republic of Crimea

6

7

13.5

94

93

86.5

Vinnytsya region

99

99

99

1

1

1

Volyn region

100

100

100

Dnipropetrovs’k region

76

79

80

24

21

20

Donets’k region

29

34

37

71

66

63

Zhytomyr region

98

97

97

2

3

3

Zakarpattya region

97

97

96

Zaporizhya region

83

84

85

17

15

15

Ivano-Frankivs’k region

100

100

100

Kyiv region

100

100

100

Kirovohrad region

92

91

90

8

9

10

Luhans’k region

40

43

47.5

60

57

52.5

L’viv region

100

100

100

Mykolayiv region

99.7

99.8

99.8

0.3

0.2

0.2

Odesa region

75

76

76.5

25

24

23.5

Poltava region

97

99.1

99.6

11

3

0.4

Rivne region

100

100

100

Sumy region

100

99.8

99.8

0.2

0.2

Ternopil’ region

100

100

99.9

Kharkiv region

75

76

75

25

23

25

Kherson region

64

65

71

36

35

29

Khmelnytsky region

99.6

99.8

99.8

0.4

0.2

0.2

Cherkasy region

99.7

99.8

99.9

0.3

0.2

0.1

Chernivtsi region

100

100

100

Chernihiv region

96

96

96

4

4

4

The city of Kyiv

95

96

96

5

3

3

The city of Sevastopol

4

4

4

96

96

96

 

As of 2000 the share of students educated in Russian was less than the share of citizens considering Russian language to be their native one. 

As of beginning of the academic year 2000/2001 the total number of students educated in Russian in higher education establishments of Ukraine of I–II levels of accreditation amounted to 116196 (or 22%). In Dnipropetrovs’k region 9771 students were educated in Russian (26.4%); in Donets’k region – 38712 (75.7%); in Luhans’k region – 14155 (56.6%); in Odesa region – 11530 (41.8%); in Kharkiv region – 9727 (31.2%). Only in Crimea and Sevastopol the language of study in higher educational establishments of I–II level of accreditation was only Russian.

In 2000/2001 371873 students (26.5%) were educated in Russian in higher education establishments of III—IV level of accreditation. In Dnipropetrovs’k region – 40594 (37.9%); in Donets’k region – 92970 (77.2%); in Zaporizhya region – 15280 (29.7%); in Luhans’k region – 38972 (74.5%); in Kharkiv region – 60208 (34.1%); in Kherson region – 9995 (39.6%).

At the end of 2004 rectors of Russian-language higher education establishments suggested to stop the use of Russian on the first year of study.

In 2005 the Committee on Science and Education of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine recommended forbidding the graduates of Russian-language schools to pass entry examinations to higher educational establishments in Russian.

Since the academic year 2002/2003 in Luhans’k region (where the Russian-speaking population makes absolute majority) the language of study in the regional Luhans’k Pedagogical College is Ukrainian, and Russian is studied as a foreign language. Pressure is being put on another Luhans’k higher education establishment, The Eastern-Ukrainian National University named after Vladimir Dal, where the study is mainly in Russian.

According to Article 15 of the “Order of Granting Degrees and Academic Titles” ratified by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, abstracts of thesis must be written only in official (Ukrainian) language, that contradicts Article 30 of the Law “On Languages in the Ukrainian SSR”, which declares that “in Ukraine the results of a scientific research shall be issued in Ukrainian or Russian language”; the meeting of a special board for thesis defense “is held in official language”, although a “language of a thesis defense” may differ from the state one as agreed with a person who defenses a thesis.

No legal or financial measures for the establishment of a supervisory authority on regional languages study promotion were performed by Ukraine. And accordingly, no report on the state of regional languages in the field of education was developed and published.

Ukrainian authorities have not developed the mechanism of establishing and promoting separate groups studying in national languages. The term “enough number of people who expressed a wish to study in a non-state language” is not defined as well. The result is administrative and unreasoned procedure of making decisions regarding such separate groups establishment.

Practice shows that in most cases officials refuse to establish separate groups with a non-state language of study.

For example, in 2006 in Starokostiantyniv (Khmelnytsky region) the parents of 14 pupils handed in an application about enrollment of their children to the 10th form with Russian language of study. But in spite of this fact they were refused for the lack of enough number of applications. Moreover, some pupils whose parents handed in such applications were not allowed to continue studying in this school, even in Ukrainian.

In September, 2006 Olga Chabakova and Nataliya Karpus whose children were excluded from the 10th form of this school, addressed to the Starokostiantyniv District Prosecutor’s Office regarding children’s right to education violation. But they were refused in criminal case initiation. The next step of parents’ struggle was a claim to Khmelnytsky Regional Prosecutor’s Office, which in November, 2006 also refused to sustain the claim.

Chabakova and Karpus went to court to defend their children’s right to education. They asked the court for enrollment of their children to the school. The first instance sustained their claim, but the officials denied to satisfy it and appealed to a court.

The result was that the children missed the whole school year.  So parents had to seize to the Prosecutors Office again asking to stop unlawful acts of the school administration and the Executive Committee of the Regional Council as well. But there was not found any element of a crime in there actions.

The facts mentioned above were covered with mass media and shocked the publicity. But even such circumstances could not effect the situation with children’s rights violation. The parents used all the national means of their children language rights defense, but without any result. Most certainly they will take a decision to address international law institutions for their rights defense.

Thus, the procedure for the use of languages in the field of education is determined at the discretion of the officials. And it is almost impossible to complaint their acts by judicial or any other means within the law of Ukraine.

 

Article 9 – Judicial authorities

As stated above, Article 10 of the Constitution of Ukraine provides that the state language in Ukraine is the Ukrainian language. In Ukraine, the free development, use and protection of Russian, and other languages of national minorities of Ukraine, is guaranteed.

The basic special regulatory legal act in the field of the use of language in courts is Law of Ukraine “On Court Organization”.

Article 10. Language of legal proceedings.

1. Legal proceedings in Ukraine shall be in Ukrainian.

2. The use of other languages in legal proceedings is performed in cases and procedure, determined by law.

3. Persons who take part in a case and do not speak the language of legal proceedings shall be guaranteed the right to participate in the proceedings via a translator, and to speak in court in their native language. In cases determined by law this right shall be guaranteed by the state.

The use of languages in criminal proceedings is regulated by the provisions of Article 19 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine.

Article 19. The language of legal proceedings.

1. The language of legal proceedings in Ukraine shall be Ukrainian or language of the majority population of the area.

2. Persons who take part in a case and do not speak the language of legal proceedings shall be guaranteed the right to familiarize themselves with case materials, to participate in the proceedings via a translator, and to speak in court in their native language.

3. Investigation and court documents shall be given to them in a translation into their native language or any other language they speak.

The procedure for the use of languages in civil proceedings is determined by Article 7 of the Civil Procedure Code of Ukraine.

Article 7. The language of civil legal proceedings.

 1. Civil proceedings in Ukraine shall be in the state language.

2. Persons who take part in a case and do not speak the state language shall be guaranteed the right to make claims, give explanations, to participate in the proceeding, speak in court and make applications in their native language or any other language they speak, using services of a translator, in a procedure defined by this Code.

3. The language of court documents is the state language.

It should be noted that in the courts of our country the situation, when both parties do not speak good Ukrainian, is common. It influences negatively the quality of their rights protection.

The use of languages in administrative cases is regulated by Article 15 of the Administrative Procedure Code of Ukraine.

Article 15. The language of administrative proceedings.

1. Language of the administrative proceedings shall be the state language.

2. Persons who take part in the case and do not speak the state language or speak the state language not well have the right to use their native language or any language they speak, as well as services of a translator, in a procedure defined by this Code.

 3. The language of court documents is the state language.

 

So, in general the provisions of laws of Ukraine and Codes of Procedure meet the requirements of the Charter regarding the procedure for the use of regional languages. But according to the Resolution of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine in case #1-6/99 of December 14, 1999, the provision of the first part of Article 10 of the Constitution of Ukraine, under which “the state language in Ukraine is the Ukrainian language”, should be read like this:

Ukrainian being the state language is the obligatory means of communication in the whole territory of Ukraine at exercise of powers by governmental and local authorities (language of acts, work, paper work, correspondence, etc.), as well as in other public spheres of social life determined by law.

Taking into account that courts are state bodies, and the Resolution of Constitutional Court of Ukraine is obligatory in the whole territory of Ukraine, is final and without appeal, the use of other languages with the exception of the state language in courts is actually impossible.

From September 1, 2005 Ukrainian legal proceedings is performed in the state language only according to the new Civil Procedure Code and the Administrative Procedure Code.

From that moment Russian-speaking citizens shall give explanations to the court via translators only. The same means may be used by others nationalities representatives, residing in Ukraine. But the question of translators’ work payment has not been decided yet.

Such situation results significant problems with translators, planned to take part in proceedings. All of them shall have licenses confirming their competence in the field of law. But as practice shows, few professional translators have solid background in law terms translation. It can lead to mispresent evidences and testimonies of the parties of a case. It can result in a judgment which does not meet the circumstances of a case and does not defend rights and interests of Ukrainian citizens.

So we consider that the new rules in the field of law provide human rights restriction. Moreover, as practice shows, from the very beginning of legal proceedings plaintiffs and respondents make applications on the right to speak Russian, as the use of special terms and giving evidences is impossible in a language not well understood. And taking decisions on such applications depends on a good will of a judge only.  For example, in the courts of Chernihiv region from September 1, 2005 such applications have not being satisfied at all – it should be considered as language rights violation.

Besides, it should be noted that on February 28, 2007, in support of the earlier decision, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine refused to listen to the speech of Verkhovna Rada member, the representative of Socialist Party faction Sergiy Matviyenkov in Russian. This day the Constitutional Court was judging the case under the constitutional application of 47 members of Parliament on constitutionality of the Law of Ukraine “On the way of privatization of the state-owned block of shares within the charter fund of the open joint-stock society “Mariupol’ metallurgical complex named after Illich”. The member of Parliament explained the choice of the language by the fact that his speech contains a lot of technical terms and it would be better for him to use them in Russian.

However, judges declared that according to the legislation legal proceedings has to be conducted in official language or any other language via a translator. As none of parties declared a translator, Matviyenkov was asked to prepare his speech in Ukrainian.

 

Article 10 – Administrative authorities and public services

Article 6 of the Law of Ukraine “On Languages in the Ukrainian SSR” provides that the officials of state, party and public bodies, institutions and organizations shall speak Ukrainian and Russian, and if necessary, also any other  national language, to a degree essential to perform their duties. Also article 6 of the Law of Ukraine “On Public Appeal” provides that citizens have a right to appeal to the state authorities, local self-government, enterprises, establishments, organizations regardless of ownership form, associations of citizens, officials in Ukrainian or any other language acceptable for the parties.

Article 4 of the Law of Ukraine “The Procedure for Media Coverage of state bodies and local self-governance bodies activity in Ukraine” provides that language of information on state and local self-governance bodies activity dissemination is determined in accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine and the Law of Ukraine “On Languages in the Ukrainian SSR”.

Article 9 of the Law of Ukraine “On Information” provides that all citizens of Ukraine shall have the right to information, providing free receipt, use, distribution and storage of any data required for the realization of their rights, freedoms and lawful interests, as well as for performing their tasks and functions.

In accordance with the provisions of Article 38 of the Law of Ukraine “On Languages in the Ukrainian SSR”:

In Ukraine toponyms (names of populated areas, administrative and territorial units, streets, squares, rivers, etc.) shall be formed and presented in Ukrainian language. Toponyms may also be presented in a national language of majority population of a certain area.

Ukrainian toponyms shall be represented in other languages in transcription.

Toponyms from outside the boundaries of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic shall be presented in Ukrainian language in transcription from the original language.

The maps designed for the use in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic shall be prepared and published in Ukrainian language.

So, the names of populated areas can be given not in Ukrainian only in the territories where the majority of population is formed with national minorities’ representatives. It reduces considerably the scope of rights given by the Charter.

The procedure of appointment of officials does not consider the principle, which provides taking into account wishes of officials about appointment for service to the regions, where a regional language they speak is used.

 

Article 11 – Media

According to article 9 of the Law of Ukraine “On TV and Radio Broadcasting” TV/radio companies shall broadcast in the state (official) language in Ukraine. TV/radio companies perform their activity on the basis of broadcasting licenses, issued by the National Council of Ukraine for TV and Radio Broadcasting.

Broadcasting for certain regions can be made also in languages of national minorities living on this territory, according to the quota of every language determined in a broadcasting license.

But the criteria of such regions determination are not formalized in legislation. Due to this the National Council of Ukraine for Radio and TV broadcasting determines linguistic needs of every region at the own discretion and include them into competitive terms for obtaining a license.

TV/radio companies are legal entities, which in accordance with the legislation of Ukraine have the right to determine the principles of their own activity independently. Article 6 of the Economic Procedure Code of Ukraine provide general principles of management, which include the principle of freedom of entrepreneurial activity and the principle of limitation of government control of economic processes with the purpose of fair competition in the field of enterprise. In spite of all mentioned above, legal regulation in the field of TV and radio broadcasting gives the state possibility to influence economic activity of Ukrainian TV/radio companies essentially.

Basic regulatory legal act regulating legal relationships in the field of television and radio broadcasting is the Law of Ukraine “On TV and Radio Broadcasting”.

Article 10. The use of languages in informative activity of TV and radio companies.

1. The language of broadcasting of TV and radio companies shall be the official language.

2. Broadcasting for certain regions may be in languages of national minorities living on this territory.

3. If a language of original (or dubbing) film and/or other program is not Ukrainian, such films and/or programs shall be broadcasted under the condition of sound dubbing in the state language.

4. For national broadcasting the share of broadcast time in Ukrainian shall be not less than 75 percent  of general daily broadcasting.

5. Language of broadcasting for a foreign audience shall be Ukrainian and relevant foreign languages.

6. The language (languages) of the programs of TV and radio companies shall be determined by the terms of a broadcasting license.

7. For providing activity of multi-channel television networks these norms shall be used in part of broadcasting programs of enterprises, which have the license of the National Council.

According to information of the State Committee of Ukraine for Television and Radio Broadcasting, as of 07.01.2005 there were registered (and reregistered) 22794 print media, among them in Russian – 9775 print media, in Hungarian – 21, in Bulgarian – 9, in Polish – 46, in Romanian – 14, in Crimean Tatar  – 19, in German – 125, in Yiddish – 3, in Hebrew – 5, in Byelorussian – 7, in Uzbek – 2, Serbian – 1, Romany – 2, Karayim – 1, Greek – 3, Slovak – 2, Georgian – 1, Latvian – 1, Estonian – 1, Lithuanian – 1, Azerbaijanian – 1, Albanian – 1, Armenian – 4, Moldavian – 2.

For the period from March 1, 2006 to January 1, 2007 judicial authorities registered (and re-registered) 1924 print media.

There were registered 1042 periodicals with the national sphere of distribution. Among them: in Russian – 869, German – 16, Bulgarian – 3, Greek – 3, Byelorussian – 2, Czech – 2, Slovak – 2, Hungarian – 2, Serbian – 2, Armenian – 1, Yiddish – 1, Croatian – 1, Slovenian – 1, Macedonian – 1, Romanian – 1.

There were registered 882 periodicals with the local sphere of distribution. Among them: in Russian – 638, Hebrew – 2, Yiddish – 2, Crimea Tatar – 1, German – 1, Polish – 1, Bulgarian – 1, Romanian – 1, Gagauz – 1, Armenian – 1.

According to statistical information in 2005 the distribution of average daily TV and radio broadcasting by language was the following:

Language of broadcasting

 

TV broadcasting

Radio broadcasting

Hours

%

Hours

%

       
Total:

313.86

100.0

364.89

100.0

Ukrainian

275.12

87.7

340.63

93.4

Russian

36.30

11.6

12.96

3.5

Moldavian

0.10

0.03

0.40

0.1

Hungarian

0.18

0.06

0.51

0.1

Bulgarian

0.15

0.05

0.41

0.1

Gagauz

0.10

0.03

0.34

0.09

Tatar

0.77

0.2

0.20

0.05

Romanian

0.84

0.3

2.11

0.6

German

0.08

0.03

3.07

0.9

Armenian

0.05

0.02

0.07

0.02

Greek

0.07

0.02

0.04

0.01

Polish

0.03

0.01

0.03

0.01

Slovak

0.07

0.02

0.09

0.02

English

4.00

1.1

Czech

0.03

0.01

 

To get the right for broadcasting on certain frequencies, radio broadcasting company must obtain a license of the special department – the National Council for TV and Radio Broadcasting. In application for a license it is necessary to specify a percent of broadcasting in this or that language.

It is logical to assume that in the places of compact residence of national minorities broadcasting should be in a language of such minority. TV and radio broadcasting companies determine these percent in applications for a license at their own will, and then have responsibility for the document signed.

If a company states less percent of Ukrainian than it is recommended by the Council, probability of obtaining a license diminishes considerably. Besides, the Council performs monitoring of license terms observance. It is often used as a means of pressure on TV and radio broadcasting companies, which refuse to increase broadcasting in Ukrainian.

In October, 2006 TV and radio broadcasting company “Artex Studio”, broadcasting in the territory of Crimea, was monitored.

According to the results of the check the resolution of the National Council #877 was taken. It stated that “the studio had violated Article 6 of the Law of Ukraine “On Advertising” in part of the language of advertising, Article 9 of the Law in part of advertising differentiation from other information, Article 9 of the Law “On TV and Radio Broadcasting” in part of the score of national audiovisual product, paragraph 7 of Article 27 of the Law “On TV and Radio Broadcasting” in part of program concept”. It was decided to “perform a week monitoring of program content”, and then make another check according to the results.

Based on the results of the second check the Council has taken the following resolution: “to oblige “Arteks Studio” to stop immediately distribution of unproved statements about violation of language-ethnic rights of Russian-speaking listeners as it can result in national enmity. To explain that the use of TV and radio broadcasting station for personal aims is inadmissible (i. e. for distribution of one-sided and tendentious, artificially politically loaded information on the situation in information space of Crimea and failure to give different points of view of Crimea citizens regarding the issue discussed). The National Council has the materials and documents, showing the signs of intentional actions, directed at national enmity fomentation and exasperation, humiliation of national dignity, preventing the state body legal activity. They will be submitted to the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine”.

TV and radio broadcasting company went to the Economic Court of the city to appeal abovementioned decisions. The decision, sustaining the claim, was taken on January 26, 2007. But there is no guarantee that the next check of “Artex Studio” will not have the same results.

One more telling example of the National Council activity is the situation with Sevastopol Regional State TV and Radio Broadcasting Company with over 150 thousand subscribers (according to the official Ukrtelecom information), residing in the city of Sevastopol. The total population of the city is 377 thousand people, 90% of them consider Russian language as their native one (according to the population census 2001).

From 18 hours of radio-wire broadcasting the company has the right for only 2 hours to broadcast the programs of its own. But in accordance with the terms of the license, determined by the National Council, 50% of broadcasting shall be in Ukrainian. Thus, the local broadcasting company of the region with 90% of Russian-speaking population cannot meet their language demands as only 1 hour of the total radio-wire broadcasting is in Russian.

Moreover, the company is currently monitored by the National Council representatives. One of the checks resulted in the Resolution of the National Council for TV and Radio Broadcasting # 669 of July 19, 2006 “On the results of a plan check of the Sevastopol Regional State TV and Radio Broadcasting Company, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, license # 0229 of April 24, 2002”.  The purpose of the Resolution was warning the company, termination the license and service provision suspend. The last point of the Resolution was a request to the National Radio Company of Ukraine to provide programs broadcasting in the time slot previously broadcasted by the Sevastopol Regional State TV and Radio Broadcasting Company.

Thus, the decision mentioned above could result the situation when in a region with 90% of Russian-speaking citizens not a single minute of wire-radio broadcasting is in Russian.

The examples with “Artex Studio” and the Sevastopol Regional State TV and Radio Broadcasting Company are directly connected with failure of our state to perform obligations in the field of support and promotion of regional languages as the Charter provides.

 

Article 12 – Cultural Activities and Facilities

Opposite to Ukrainian-language writers Russian writers do not have state support.

During 1991–1997, the number of Russian drama theatres reduced more than three times: from 43 to 13.

Members of nationalistic groups hold protest actions against the concerts of Russian-speaking performers.

When the Law “On Advertising” came into force the advertising in Russian language was forbidden in mass media. It is forbidden to fill in forms on bank transactions and to conclude the banks and insurance companies’ agreements in Russian. By the order of the Minister of Internal Affairs protocols of administrative offences shall be filled exceptionally in Ukrainian.

In 2000 L’viv Municipal Council prohibited broadcasting of songs in Russian in public places of the city.

In the city of Rivne it is forbidden to place signboards of shops, firms, enterprises in Russian.

According to the order of Ivano-Frankivs’k Municipal Council on June 9, 2004 it was allowed to speak only Ukrainian in all educational establishments of the city, to hold public events and place announcements in public places exceptionally in Ukrainian. This order was judged in a court for several times. However, the local authorities refused to execute the court decision, continuing to insist on their actions legality.

In 2006 the Association for Promotion of Cinematography of Ukraine brought an action against the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. The reason for the conflict was the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers, declaring the quota of obligatory dubbing (sound and subtitles) of foreign films in Ukrainian. The Association considers this requirement to violate as Article 10 of the Constitution as the rights of national minorities representatives.

The Resolution “On some questions concerning the procedure of films distribution and demonstration” came into force on January 20, 2006.  The quota of obligatory dubbing in Ukrainian (sound or subtitles) of foreign films is declared by the document. It is provided that from September 1, 2006, 20% of copies of all films, intended for a distribution in cinemas, public broadcast or sale in a retail network shall be in Ukrainian. From January 1, 2007, the quota has to be increased to 50%, and from July 1, 2007 – to 70%.

The action was brought to the Kiev Economic Court on April, 24. The plaintiff requires adjudging the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers invalid due to the fact that its content violates Article 10 of the Constitution, which guarantees the free use of Russian and other languages of national minorities in Ukraine.

The Association tried to settle the issue in out-of-court procedure, but these attempts were not successful. According to the members of the Association it is necessary to make amendments to the Resolution and provide financing of dubbing from the state budget. But government authorities declined all reasons represented by the Association several times.

Apart from the state language policy the activity of the Ukrainian law-enforcement and judicial systems regarding campaign against the racism and non-tolerance is demonstrative as well. So, it is arguable that law-enforcement authorities of Ukraine do not have even statistic information on such type of crimes. No purposeful activity is performed in this field. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine gave no statistics regarding offences in this field, stated only that in 2006 there were registered 3 crimes in Kyiv provided by the Article 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (“Violation of citizens’ equality based on their race, nationality or religious preferences”). And judicial system has examined 12 cases under this Article for three years – 2003, 2004, 2006 (one person was convicted). And this is despite the fact that almost each week mass media report on crimes based of racism and intolerance.

In general, the domestic legislation in this field needs considerable improvement. The fact is that maximal approval of the abovementioned Article 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (“Violation of citizens’ equality based on their race, nationality or religious preferences”) is only 5 years of imprisonment. And even against this background law-enforcement and judicial authorities intent to classify crimes based on racial intolerance under other articles to conceal the real reason for crime and existence of this problem in Ukraine.

For the Public Report preparation numerous consultations were held and information was received from members of Ukrainian Parliament, Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Ministry of Finance of Ukraine, Supreme Court of Ukraine, State Court Administration, State Committee on Nationalities and Religions of Ukraine, State Committee of Statistics of Ukraine, National Council of Ukraine for TV and Radio Broadcasting, regional state administrations, political parties and non-governmental organizations.

To summarize all mentioned above it should be said that the most important stages of fulfillment of the European Charter of Regional and Minorities Languages is implementation of its provisions into domestic legislation of Ukraine and relevant financing of activities performed within its measures.

 

Conclusion

Taking into account abovementioned we can make the conclusion that Ukraine does not fulfill the provisions of the Charter as ratified by our country.

Once more we should notice the fact that the Law of Ukraine “On ratification of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages” is declarative and does not provide any new responsibilities for Ukraine, as paragraphs and sub-paragraphs of the Charter ratified provide less defense for the languages determined in Article 2 of the Law than current Ukrainian law does. Thus, the Charter ratification was caused only with the necessity to fulfil minimal requirements assumed by our country to be admitted to the Council of Europe; notwithstanding the aim of the Charter development and ratification was to provide relevant conditions for regional languages defence and to preserve language diversity of Europe.

Thus, we consider that the Law should be amended to meet the aims and principles of the Charter: relevant levels and extents of defense for languages with different number of representatives on the territory of Ukraine should be defined; the procedure of defining territories where the Charter’s provisions will be realized in relevant scope should be formalized in legislation. It is impossible to realize the aims of the Charter without making these amendments. It should be noticed that draft laws containing abovementioned amendments have been already registered by the Ukrainian parliament. They differ significantly from the draft law of the Ministry of Justice and Presidential Secretariat which is intended much more to raise more obstacles on the way of the Charter’s provision implementation in Ukraine.

Moreover, Ukraine has not taken any significant action for the Charter’s provisions implementation, and actually continued the policy of ignoring the problem of regional and minority languages, disregard of rights and freedoms of people – such communities’ representatives.

When ratifying the Charter our country chose the identical minimum level of protection for all of thirteen languages, which were recognized as regional or minority languages, without taking into account the number of native-speakers that actually resulted in reduction of rights of Russian-speaking citizens. As the special status of Russian language is provided by Article 10 of the Constitution of Ukraine, equating it to other minority languages violates the requirements of Article 22 of the Constitution of Ukraine, which excludes the content and scope of existing rights and freedoms diminishing.

The Charter, as ratified by Ukraine, considerably restricts the legal framework of Russian language functioning, providing support for the Russian on the level of other minority languages. It contradicts the objects of the Charter, under which the State is obliged to protect minority languages as per quantity of representatives of various language groups.

At the same time, the law on the Charter ratification does not have any mechanism to determine a territory of the Charter’s provisions application to each language. It also does not have any procedure of granting a status of “regional language” or “minority language” that made the provisions of the document “dead” in advance.

Moreover, Ukraine chose the required minimum of points (35) for the ratification. Almost all of them are declarative, that means they do not need state support or assistance. Although the Charter is ratified, the State has not assumed significant obligations regarding improvement the situation of regional and minority languages.

Financing measures, directed at the Charter implementation, is performed at the level of 900 thousand UAH per year (about 130 thousand euros). The procedure of money distribution is non-transparent, with no proper control and considerable groundless disproportion between expenses and number of each of thirteen languages representatives.

The legislation of Ukraine, regarding the procedure for the use of languages in Ukraine, has not been changed since the moment of the Charter ratification, in spite of plenty initiatives of members of parliament. Till present they have not passed any law, which would implement the provisions of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

The Constitution and laws of Ukraine declare language rights of the citizens of Ukraine – representatives of national minorities exceptionally, although the Charter provides protection for regional languages, regardless of their speaker’s nationality.

In addition, as determined by the Resolution of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine #10-rp of 12.14.1999, which is final and cannot be revised, the field of the use of languages of national minorities was groundlessly restricted to local self-government.

In the fields of science and education the policy of Ukraine is directed to gradual exclusion of other languages, primarily of Russian, out of education and scientific process and their replacement by the Ukrainian language. The same tendency is observed in the fields of television and radio broadcasting and film distribution.

From September 1, 2005 the language of legal proceedings in Ukraine is only Ukrainian that violates constitutional principles of citizen’s equality before the law, access to legal proceedings and contentiousness in court.     

Regional and minority languages in Ukraine are latently discriminated and persecuted by officials of different levels as well as the President of Ukraine, even in public. The most telling example is the situation with Russian language. In the school year 1989/1990 there were 4633 schools in Ukraine where Russian was the only language of study. Since 1990 the number of schools with Russian language of study has declined by 3 thousands in favor of Ukrainian and mixed schools, so the reduction is about 65%. About 130 schools lose their status of schools with Russian language of study annually. In majority of regions language minorities represented with hundreds of thousands people speaking the language of their nationality have no educational establishments of their own, are deprived of fundamental language rights.

One more tendency threatening regional or minority languages is the project of a new “correct” Charter translation, initiated by the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine and the National Commission for Strengthening Democracy and Rule of Law. The project of the translation violates human and citizen rights directly. It should be considered to be only an unsuccessful attempt of blocking the Charter implementation, although the Charter is already in effect. After all, the process of the Charter implementation took over 8 year in Ukraine due to the conflict – within the parliament and between the President and the parliament as well. As a result, the situation was resolved by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.

We consider the facts mentioned above to be the examples of language racism and discrimination at the state level. During 16 years since Ukraine had gained independence, it was not taken any significant step to solve the problem of national and language minorities’ rights ensuring. Instead, the policy of the State has a nature of inactivity, suppression of the problem and actual discrimination of minorities. Discriminating the communities of language minorities the state gives a negative example to the society and actually provokes social phenomena of domestic intolerance and racism in relation to any minorities representatives in Ukraine. And inactivity of the judicial and law-enforcement systems makes the protection and restoration of these human rights impossible that can result in considerable negative political and law consequences for the society; it also complicates the integration of Ukraine into European and World Community.

 

 

Member of Parliament of Ukraine                             V. Kolesnichenko

 

President of non-governmental organization

“Human rights organization “Common Goal”            R. Bortnik 

 



[2] In 2004–2006, according to information of the State Committee on Nationalities and Religions of Ukraine.

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