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Kolesnichenko: Local councils have no right to give status of regional to languages

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Aug. 23, 2012, 12:11 p.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

Language protest in Kharkiv
© RFE/RL

None of Ukraine's regions have given Russian the status of a regional language, co-author of the law of Ukraine on the principles of the state language policy, Regions Party MP Vadym Kolesnichenko told TSN.ua. 

"None of local government agencies have a right to decide on declaring a regional language. This is the state government's right. Local authorities only have a right to inform the population and instruct local government agencies to draft a program on the implementation of the law," Kolesnichenko said.

He stressed that one should read better relevant instructions of regional councils and make sure that they are just informing the population that a certain percentage of people on their territory use Russian language.

"They say that a program should drafted, problems related to funding, its distribution between kindergartens and schools should be settled once parents collect applications indicating what language they prefer for education of their children," the MP said.

As reported, the law on the principles of the state language policy in Ukraine, which significantly broadens the use of the Russian language and other minority languages in the country, entered into force after its official publication on August 10. According to the document, if the number of native speakers of one of these languages is 10% or more of the population of the territory on which the language is used, then measures aimed at use of regional and minority languages will apply.

Odesa regional and city councils, Kharkiv, Kherson, Mykolaiv and Sevastopol city councils, Krasny Luch Town Council in Luhansk region, Zaporizhia, Donetsk, Kherson and Dnipropetrovsk regional councils have approved a decision to declare Russian a regional language.

In addition, the Crimean parliament instructed the government to draw up proposals on the implementation of the language law by October 10, 2012. 

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