The bill on the principles of the state language policy passed by the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada on July 3 would have suited both opposing parties if all amendments to it had been accepted, Verkhovna Rada Chairman Volodymyr Lytvyn (in the center) said.
“The law on languages in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
adopted in 1989 has become outdated and requires adjustments, taking
into account modern realities. If we talk about the essence of the
problem, all languages have the right to exist, but not at the expense
of the official one. Over 2,000 amendments have been proposed to the
bill initiated by [Vadym] Kolesnichenko and [Serhiy] Kivalov, and I
personally proposed 10. If the amendments and adjustments that I
proposed had been accepted in full, I believe this law would have met
the spirit of the time and would have suited everyone, including those
supporting a sole official language and those who call for expanding the
rights of ethnic minorities in the national-cultural and everyday
affairs,” Lytvyn said in an interview published in the Ukrainian edition
Lytvyn said he cared more about the essence of the bill rather than the time when it could be made into law.
Asked whether the language bill could result in the introduction of
the second official language in Ukraine, the speaker said, “Nobody is
formally proposing the introduction of the second official language.”
“Moreover, the Ukrainian language’s status has been emphasized, and
the matter is mostly about increasing the role of the so-called regional
languages,” Lytvyn said.
“However, what should not be ignored is that the Russian language is
stronger on the former Soviet territory. A lot are concerned that the
Russian language’s dominance would in fact make it the second official
language in Ukraine, and it would in fact oust the Ukrainian language.
Therefore, what is needed is broad dialogue on this theme and the
understanding that people cannot be forced to love this or that
language. It should also be understood that a language is a key element
of the constitutional system in a country,” he said.
Lytvyn announced his intention to resign on July 4 as a sign of
protest against the way the language bill was passed on July 3.