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Kolesnichenko: Criticism of language law in Europe a sign of interest in destabilizing Ukraine

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July 26, 2012, 7:18 p.m. | Politics — by Interfax-Ukraine

Deputies of the Ukrainian opposition fight with lawmaker Vadym Kolesnichenko (centre) of the pro-presidential majority during a session of parliament in Kyiv, as opposition parties protest a bill proposed by the ruling party which would make Russian an official state language along with Ukrainian on May 24, 2012.
© AFP

SEVASTOPOL - The negative position of EU High Commissioner on National Minorities Knut Vollebaek on the language law demonstrates the interest of European politicians in destabilizing the situation in Ukraine, a co-author of the law, Regions Party MP Vadym Kolesnichenko, has said.

"Yesterday, Mr. Knut Vollebaek spent only thirty minutes meeting with me. At the same time, he had already managed to meet with [chairman of the council of the Batkivschyna united opposition Arseniy] Yatseniuk and other new experts on the language issue. This negative position by Knut Vollebaek demonstrates that many European politicians are interested in destabilizing the situation in Ukraine," Kolesnichenko said.

He said he could not understand why Vollebaek has the courage to make comments on the bill, because the only expert body in this matter, which is recognized by the laws of Ukraine, is the Venice Commission. The Venice Commission, in turn, according to Kolesnichenko, made a positive assessment of the bill on principles of state language policy.

"It is interesting that all countries in which Vollebaek worked as a diplomat have faced inter-ethnic conflicts," he said.

Kolesnichenko also noted that the OSCE commissioner, during his visits to Ukraine, always has time to meet with Hungarians, Romanians and Tatars, rather than with the most numerous national minority in Ukraine - Russians.

"I was struck by Knut Vollebaek's remark that the bill is not financially secured. I told him that earlier Ukrainian citizens received any documents using their own money, and now, using their own money, they will get documents in their native language," he added.

"It's very strange to hear a statement by Yatseniuk that the right of Ukrainian citizens to use their native language has allegedly been violated. The point is that the European Parliament, the [Committee] of Ministers of the Council of Europe and the UN have quite a different opinion on this issue. The position of the abovementioned structures lies in the fact that the right of citizens in our country to use their native language are not secured," Kolesnichenko said.

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