Azarov: Language policy legislation should protect rights of people

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July 14, 2012, 8:39 a.m. | Politics — by Interfax-Ukraine

An opposition protester holds an umbrella with the colors of the Ukrainian flag as he protects himself against hot weather in front of the parliament in Kiev on July 6, 2012, during a permanent rally against a controversial bill elevating the status of Russian. The parliament adjourned on July 6 for a summer recess despite failing to resolve a crisis over its rushed passing of the bill. In its final session, the Verkhovna Rada voted not to even consider whether to accept the resignation of speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn who announced he would quit after not being warned the chamber was preparing to pass the bill. The Rada is not due to convene again until September 4 and the recess essentially leaves Ukrainian politics in limbo as the speaker's signature is required for the bill -- adopted on July 4 -- to be considered approved. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY

Ukrainian Premier Mykola Azarov has said that Ukraine's language legislation should protect people's right to use their native language.

 "The root of the problem is that we should give our people a possibility to live in comfort, not to restrict their right to read books, watch movies in a language that is natural to them," the premier wrote on his page in Facebook on Friday.

"I hope that after some time more and more people in Ukraine will share the idea that human rights should be in first place and the legislation should be based on this axiom," he added.

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Roman Dawydiak July 14, 2012, 11:07 a.m.    

So how should we address Mr. Azarov now that he has become a "human rights" advocate? Should it be Mykola or should it be Nikolai? Will the Ukrainian language be considered non grata during Ministerial meetings? Will Azarov address the the people of Ukraine in the Russian language? Will President Yanukovych address the people of Ukraine in the Russian language? No matter. All of this posturing leads in in only one direction. They are both committed to Great Russian chauvinism.

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elmer-елмер July 14, 2012, 7:03 p.m.    

Putler just kept Governor Yanusvoloch waiting for 4 hours while he visited his biker friends in Zookraine.

After his meeting with Governor Yanusvoloch, Putler went to visit Victor Medvedchuk, who was in Kuchma's regime at Medvedchuk's villa.

zArazov is perfectly happy being a vassal of Putler.

seig heil
der fuhrer fascist yanusvoloch

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cedrik July 14, 2012, 1:33 p.m.    

Ahh, the face of the 'loyal opposition on the other side of the world' shows itself again. Said face obviously can not understand the law as written, encompassing not only Russian, but Tatari, Slavonik, Rumanian, Bulgarian, Polish, English, and half a dozen other languages. All the far western branch of the 'loyal opposition' can understand is the one word, 'Russian', and like a resident of the Yellow House continue to repeat the one word endlessly, as if that one word means something in this law.

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elmer-елмер July 14, 2012, 7:11 p.m.    

You think you're clever, but you're snot.

The reason this whole language bill was brought up ----- again, just prior to elections -------- is one word.

The word that you so enjoy - Russian.

The whole reason that the sovok mafiosi are peddling the bill is that they think that the word does mean something - that they might buy a few votes from a few idiots in Donbass.

Everyone in Zookraine can see past this joke.

You and the Party of Regions are the only idiots who keep peddling false justifications for this "protection bill."

The "protection bill" for languages that are not in any danger was passed through flagrant and callous disregard of Parliamentary norms and procedures.

In other words, the sovok mafiosi from the Party of Regions have no respect for Ukraine or its government.

Which is why, of course, Putler just kept Governor Yanusvoloch waiting for 4 hours for their scheduled meeting.

Why should Putler respect Zookraine or Governor Yanusvoloch when the Party of Regions have no respect for Ukraine or its government?

You also have absolutely no respect for Ukraine.

You're obviously having a great time peddling sovok mafia nonsense.

seih heil
der Governor Yanusvoloch

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cedrik July 14, 2012, 11:32 p.m.    

Take your Midol, Elmer/et al, you are bleeding through your pad.

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Roman Dawydiak July 16, 2012, 4:51 a.m.    

Alas poor Cedrik; is Elmer giving you another headache? Try taking two extra strength and write him in the morning.

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Roman Dawydiak July 16, 2012, 4:55 a.m.    

P.S. You can fill in the blank Cedrik.

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cedrik July 16, 2012, 7:11 a.m.    

Push your luck.

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Roman Dawydiak July 22, 2012, 11:25 p.m.    

Intelligence is much more useful than depending on luck. You should try that if at all possible.

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Eugene Al Gagins July 15, 2012, 2:44 a.m.    

I am not sure that Polish, Romanian and Hungarian are not in danger. There are the evidences of the opposite.

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Eugene Al Gagins July 15, 2012, 3:03 a.m.    

My dear fellows...Russian speaking people of Ukraine, Ukrainian speaking people of Ukraine, Polish speaking people of Ukraine.... may ask you to tell me about whom this girl is writing: (please see the text below)

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Eugene Al Gagins July 15, 2012, 3:04 a.m.    


Oh why do you worry so about my identity

I know that I'm not Polish or Slovak

I'm rather like a Russian....

But not really you see

And when the Ukrainians want to claim me as one of their kind

You beg me to listen to something that should be stirring inside

Something that runs deep and poignant

Like a common memory

Is it the elusive and haunting image I sometimes think I see,

Or the whisper of peoples' voices gently calling out to me

Wait, visions of the past seem to be forming in my mind

And I find myself experiencing the hopes and dreams of many lifetimes

Instinctively I know these faces belong to me,

For I see so many things in them that I also see in me

Suddenly I feel the loss and pain of a heritage

Forcibly taken from the generations before me

And I know mow that no man can keep me

From reaching back and reclaiming that forbidden ancestry

Stunned with this awareness, I quickly pull away,

Too filled with emotion to turn around and stay

Yes, I do see, I finally understand

This is my place in history, my inheritance

This is who I am

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Eugene Al Gagins July 15, 2012, 3:08 a.m.    

This little poem was written by one lady who is native to Western Ukarine. Her kind & her culture & her language was suppressed under both the rule of Polish and the rule Ukrainians, but her soul still clings to her roots and her language. I wish we could save this language... but too late. A language native to the territory of modern Ukraine.

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Eugene Al Gagins July 15, 2012, 3:14 a.m.    

There was a lot of injustice in the past from many regimes, many parties, political movements. Let us draw a line and start living in piece w/o looking on the bad things of the past but with the hope into the bright future where all ethnic groups have the right to promote their native language.

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bkrevel July 14, 2012, 7:54 p.m.    

For someone who lives in Ukraine......why do you promote slimeovych and his roosyan agenda.

Why would you,,,,,?

Do you think/believe Ukraine should be a Russian province?
If not,,,,why your your loyalty to putler?

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cedrik July 14, 2012, 11:36 p.m.    

At least I live here. Do you? The only loyalty I have is to my family and my Church. Where is your loyalty, my friend? ByT? I doubt you live here, witness your post times.
And you really have to stop cloning yourself in to so many names on this 'forum'. At least try to change your language in your numerous posts. Lemme see here....bkrevel, Al Bala. Elmer, Khvlia, et al. Do you really enjoy talking to yourself? Freud could do a little something with that.

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Eugene Al Gagins July 15, 2012, 2:50 a.m.    

1. The United States of America is not a province of Great Britain.

2. Canada is not a province of France

3. Chile is not a province of Spain

4. Brazil is not a province of Portugal

5. South Africa is not a province of the Netherlands

I have got a dream and my dream is to see Ukraine a democratic country where the rights of people are protected, the right to use, read, enjoy...promote their native langauge, be proud of their native language.

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AL BALA July 14, 2012, 10:07 p.m.    

Gee ?

Tatar ?

Crimean Tatars fear that their language is affected negatively by the strengthening of the Russian

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AL BALA July 14, 2012, 10:46 p.m.    

Azarov the Anti-Ukrainian, from the Anti-Ukrainian government said :

"The root of the problem is that we should give our people a possibility to live in comfort, not to restrict their right to read books,

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AL BALA July 14, 2012, 11:44 p.m.    

Gee ?

Only insanity will say that there are a lack of Russian books or newspapers in Ukraine !

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AL BALA July 14, 2012, 11:42 p.m.    

Church Slavonic words translated into Ukrainian literary language in the second half of the XVI century .

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Eugene Al Gagins July 15, 2012, 2:38 a.m.    

I was born in a Russian-speaking city, Odessa. My family is Russian speaking. My parents, two grand parents from Odessa and great grand-parents were speaking Russian as a native language. (The other two grandparents are Polish (from Lvov) and Latvian (from Riga)).

The city of Odessa, founded by order of Catherine the Great, Russian Empress in 1789. De Ribas and Franz de Volan recommended the area of Khadzhibei fortress as the site for the region's basic port: it had an ice-free harbor, breakwaters could be cheaply constructed and would render the harbor safe and it would have the capacity to accommodate large fleets. The Governor General of Novorossiya, Platon Zubov (one of Catherine's favorites) supported this proposal, and in 1794 Catherine approved the founding of the new port-city and invested the first money in constructing the city. So, the native language of people in Odessa has been Russian for over 200 years since its inception.

For example, in 1917 Odessa proclaimed an independent republic which was a short-lived state for less than a year. This is a link from Wiki that has the picture of local money at that time.
The language used for money was Russian, which is a native language of our city!

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myron kry July 16, 2012, 7:38 p.m.    

Catherine the Great may indeed have founded Odesa during her reign of the empire in search of a port city. However, I think it is important to state that this city was built on Ukrainian territory which was part of the empire. In hundreds of villages surrounding Odesa were natives who to this day still speak in Ukrainian even with centuries of russification.
The 'founding' of Odesa would be no different then the English establishing a port in Ireland or Scotland and calling it English. So the validity of this being a Russian city does not hold.
I recently returned from visiting Odesa and can unequivocally say that no one is disrespecting or not protecting the Russian language. On the other hand, I find it odd that many Odesians cannot respect the national Ukrainian language which, by the way, predated Russian in that region well before any of the Russian empires.

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myron kry July 16, 2012, 7:42 p.m.    

To qualify, my definition of 'respect' of the Ukrainian language means to learn it.

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Eugene Al Gagins July 17, 2012, 12:13 a.m.    

Myron, when Odessa was founded. Ukrainian was not spoken in the neighboring villages. Russian Empire conquered those area from Ottoman Turks and not only brought Russian settlers to the area but also strongly encouraged the relocation of Ukrainian peasants from what is now Western Ukraine. Odessa oblast is not historically a land of Slavic people. Both Russians and Ukrainians moved there after the military campaigns against Ottoman Turks.

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Eugene Al Gagins July 17, 2012, 12:26 a.m.    

I studied this topic and the documents assure that there were no tangible numbers of Slavs. The only exception were Lipovans, Old Russian believers who settled in the areas of Odessa oblast & neighboring Romania about 400 years ago and Bulgarians. But there were our Christian brothers & sisters of other nationalities suffering from Turks: Romanians, Greeks. The victories of Russian empire not only gave new lands to Russian & Ukrainian settlers but also alleviated the pressure on Greece and other Christian nations in the area.

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Eugene Al Gagins July 15, 2012, 2:40 a.m.    

The state is made for people of that state and not the opposite. Russian is our native language and we want to live happy lives at our home and make sure that our native language is protected and respected. People in Odessa respect Ukrainian, so please respect our rights and our native Russian language that has been spoken in Odessa since its build up in the end of XVIII century.

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Roman Dawydiak July 15, 2012, 11:39 a.m.    

My Dear Eugene: You are either a supporter of the POR and/or simply do not understand the acute differences in the language issue. Let me put this forward to you in a simple and direct format. 1) Ukraine is an independent State. It is not part of the Russian Federation. 2) Odesa is part of Ukraine. 3) The Ukrainian language is the Official lingua franca of Ukraine. 4) The Constitution of Ukraine specifically states that the Ukrainian language is the Official language of Ukraine. The same Constitution also protects all minority languages and their cultures in Ukraine and that includes Russian. 5) The legislation introduced by the POR deliberately attempts to circumvent the Constitution of Ukraine by allowing other languages to replace the Ukrainian language in all spheres of life wherever their numbers equal or exceed 10% of the local population where local authoities deem it fit to do so. As such there is no protection of the lingua franca of Ukraine and there is no incentive for those certain local populations to learn the Official language of Ukraine. 6) It is absolutely absurd to claim that the Russian language in particular is being discriminated against (apart from the dubbing in theatres-I would agree that is a bit over the top). The issue here is a universal language that can be understood by everyone in Ukraine. There will of course be a transitional period or overlap. This is not to say that people cannot flourish using another language or celebrating another culture. The alternative can only be internal strife and continued divisions and this is not the direction of a progressive society. It's as simple as that.

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Eugene Al Gagins July 17, 2012, 12:16 a.m.    

My Dear Khvylia, I will be very glad to explain to you the arguments/opinion & the heartbeat of millions of citizens of Ukraine favoring the new law. The law which is the best law from Ukrainian government I have seen in the last 20 years. Unfortunately, this is the only normal law from the current president.

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elmer-елмер July 17, 2012, 9:23 p.m.    

Khvylia is right - you are wrong.

A recent poll showed that 65% of Ukrainians recognize this bill for what it is - another pre-election ploy, which has been tried in previous elections.

The bill is absolutely not necessary - it is a diversion designed to distract voters from the fact that the Party of Regions is composed of sovok mafiosi, and has failed to deliver on any of its promises.

життя покращилося вже сьогодні?

Life has gotten better?

Not under Governor Yanusvoloch or the Party of Regions.

All they have done is pass laws to grab more power - and through abuse of government, more money for themselves and yanusvoloch and his sons.

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Eugene Al Gagins July 18, 2012, 2:50 a.m.    

Dear Elmer. I am not into politics. I know that there is absolutely no difference between Tymoshenko, Yushenko...and other former/current "leaders" of our country. They may have different colors and languages but they belong to the same type. A type that is infinitely cruel, inhumane with huge lust for money and never respecting the basic human laws. They are all the same. The next president will be another animal going to the power as a glacier flattening all on its way.

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Eugene Al Gagins July 18, 2012, 2:51 a.m.    

I am talking about languages and culture. I want to protect and preserve our culture and our native language in Odessa, our wonderful city.

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Eugene Al Gagins July 18, 2012, 2:59 a.m.    

Every citizen is valuable and equally valuable. Human life is precious and very short. So, if 10% of people want to preserve their language and culture I will give them full support to do so... Different parts of the territory of modern Ukraine have different past, different history, different ethnic groups/mix native to the territory. The diversity is a treasure. If one goes the path of Ukrainization they are the same as any previous politician who wanted to eliminate one culture and substituted with simple as that.

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Eugene Al Gagins July 18, 2012, 3:03 a.m.    

Example: My grandmother lost its native city. Lvov even in the 70th has very little to do with Lwow in the 30th. Buildings are the sames but people are different. Such atrocities should not happen again - we live in the XXI century. Odessa will preserve its native language!

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Mykhayl July 18, 2012, 8:55 p.m.    

Слава Ісу~


In the Carpathians they will teach Hutzul and in Lviv Lemko for those expatriated from Lemkovina to make Poland? How about just making Ukraine!

Despite what your Babushka said serf your computer and find out other perspectives. Even a Matushka doll has many different incorporated realities, if only size. Odessa's early growth owed much to the work of the Duc de Richelieu, who served as the city's governor between 1803 and 1814. Having fled the French Revolution, he served in Catherine's army against the Turks. He is credited with designing the city and organizing its amenities and infrastructure, and is considered one of the founding fathers, together with another Frenchman, Count Andrault de Langeron, who succeeded him in office. Richelieu is commemorated by a bronze statue, unveiled in 1828. His contributions are mentioned by Mark Twain in his travelogue Innocents Abroad: "I mention this statue and this stairway because they have their story. Richelieu founded Odessa - watched over it with paternal care - labored with a fertile brain and a wise understanding for its best interests - spent his fortune freely to the same end - endowed it with a sound prosperity, and one which will yet make it one of the great cities of the Old World". By the 1920s Odessa had become large, complete with electrified urban transport and European architecture. Odessa District Court building and Monastery Church St. Panteleimon (used under the Soviets as a planetarium from 1961–1991).

In 1819 the city became a free port, meaning it was known by every Black Sea shanghai pirate and smuggler. It became home to an extremely diverse population of Albanians, Armenians, Azeris, Bulgarians, Crimean Tatars, Frenchmen, Germans (including Mennonites), Englishman, Greeks, Italians, Jews, Poles, Romanians, Russians, Turks, Ukrainians, and traders representing many other nationalities and Gypsies, Romany, Bohemian hence numerous "ethnic" names on the city's map. Odessa's cosmopolitan nature was documented by the Great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, who lived in internal exile in Odessa between 1823 and 1824. In his letters he wrote that Odessa was a city where "the air is filled with all Europe, French is spoken and there are European papers and magazines to read".

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elmer-елмер July 18, 2012, 3:50 a.m.    

You are just as dishonest as zArazov and the rest of the Party of Regions.

And you are merely parroting their false rationale.

What threat is there to the Rashan language today?

None - absolutely none.

What the law does is to allow 10% of the populace in any area of Ukraine to force the government to convert to a non-Ukrainian language in Ukraine.

Simple as that.

Thus, the example has already been given - in Crimea, the language will be Tatar, nor Rashan.

When you talk about "our wonderful city of Odesa," you remind me of the scene in the movie "Casablanca," when the Nazi officer is interrogating Humphrey Bogart.

"And what do you think of the Nazis in our beloved Paris?"

To which Humphrey Bogart replies:

"When you get there, I'll let you know."

Khvylia is right - you are wrong.

Notwithstanding you invoking your grandmother.

The fact that you refer to Lviv - Львів - as "Lwow" says a lot about you.

Just like the Nazis' "beloved Paris" - the sovok mafia "beloved Odesa, and beloved Lwow."

The falsity of your arguments is easy to see.

Your "beloved grandmother" must have taught you how to lie.

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Eugene Al Gagins July 31, 2012, 5:38 p.m.    

Dear Elmer,

One beauty of this thread is that people can express their opinions. Another beauty of this thread is that one can also learn from others, listen to their opinion and develop empathy. And the other beauty of this thread is that people whose vision is different may find touch points on how to collaborate with each other.

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Eugene Al Gagins July 31, 2012, 5:42 p.m.    

Specifically talking about Lvov I do regret that severe waves of the expulsions of Poles took place and Lwow was Ukranionized by Soviet. The city lost a lot. I would be happy to hear Polish language at every corner in Lvov together with Ukrainian. Now it is only history...sad...

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Eugene Al Gagins July 31, 2012, 5:44 p.m.    

My grandmother passed away in 2007 but I will never forget that she was Polish from Polish city Lwow.

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AL BALA July 23, 2012, 4:50 p.m.    

Azarov has advised television switch to Russian

Prime Minister of Ukraine told 1 +1 TV channel to broadcast in Russian.

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