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Yanukovych signs language bill into law

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Aug. 8, 2012, 5:18 p.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

Viktor Yanukovych signs controversial language bill.
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Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych has signed the bill on the principles of state language policy, his press-service reported. 

He also orders that working group be set up to develop proposals on use of languages in Ukraine. 

The working group has to include public activists and language experts from the spheres of education, science, and art.

The presidential decree reads that the key task of the working group will be the comprehensive development of the use of the Ukrainian language in all spheres of public life on the territory of the country, guaranteeing the free development, use and protection of all native languages of Ukrainian citizens, the fulfillment of obligations undertaken in international agreements related to the issue, and further implementation of European standards in this sphere.

Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine passed the bill on the principles of state language policy initiated by the Regions Party on July 3. The document significantly expands the sphere of use of Russian and languages of other national minorities in the regions where they are used by at least 10% of population. Members of the Regions Party parliamentary faction Vadym Kolesnichenko and Serhiy Kivalov are the authors of the bill.

The approval of the document by the parliament triggered a number of protests across the country. In particular, a hunger strike and a mass protest were staged near the Ukrainian House in Kyiv following the vote.

Verkhovna Rada Chairman Volodymyr Lytvyn refused to sign the document and tendered his resignation, but the Verkhovna Rada rejected it. Lytvyn has then signed the bill on July 31st.

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