Terug

Statement of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation regarding Discrimination of Russian-speaking Citizens of Ukraine

 

Unofficial translation

 

The Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation expresses its deep concern about the fact that as early as September 2020, when the new Ukrainian legislation on education will come into force, teaching in educational institutions (except for pre-school and primary levels) in Ukraine – country where Russian is the mother tongue for millions of people – will be almost entirely in Ukrainian.

In its Statement regarding the Adoption of the Ukrainian Law “On Education” (Resolution of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation No. 354-SF of 27 September 2017) the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation noted that the law is in conflict with the Constitution of Ukraine and obligations undertaken by Ukraine under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of 1 February 1995 and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages of 5 November 1992, infringes upon interests of Russian-speaking population of the country and aims at across-the-board ukrainisation.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe also stated, in its Resolution 2189 (2017) of 12 October 2017 entitled "The new Ukrainian law on education: a major impediment to the teaching of national minorities' mother tongues", that the law significantly reduces the rights in the area of education previously guaranteed to national minorities. In addition to Russia, protests against the new Ukrainian law were also made by Bulgarian, Greek, Hungarian, Moldavian, Polish and Romanian authorities.

Nevertheless, in spite of criticism voiced by many countries and international organisations, Ukrainian authorities continued to pursue their policy of massive violation of rights of Russian-speaking population having institutionalised it in the Ukrainian law “On Ensuring the Functioning of Ukrainian as a State Language” which came into force on 16 July 2019 and the Ukrainian law “On Complete General Secondary Education“ adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on 16 January 2020. That was done in disregard of the Opinion of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (the Venice Commission) No. 902/2017 of 11 December 2017 according to which the Ukrainian law “On education” provides no solution for languages which are not official languages of the European Union, in particular the Russian language, as the most widely used language apart from the state language in Ukraine. The Opinion specifically states that “the less favourable treatment of these languages is difficult to justify and therefore raises issues of discrimination”. Exemptions envisaged exclusively for languages of "indigenous peoples" which include in Ukraine a few ethnic groups living outside the country (in Crimea), and partly for official languages of the European Union only intensify the anti-human and predominantly anti-Russian nature of the new Ukrainian legislation on education.

The Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation notes that Ukraine’s pro-Western orientation after the coup d’état in 2014 has not brought it closer to civilised democratic standards. On the contrary, it has moved it even further away from them. Current Ukrainian leadership has continued the discriminatory policy of the former Ukrainian President Petr Poroshenko aimed at restricting the right of the Russian-speaking population to study in their mother tongue. The policy of forced ukrainisation has been one of the key causes of intra-Ukrainian conflict in Donbass which has already cost thousands of lives. Instead of learning lessons from mistakes made by their predecessors who relied on nationalist ideas, Ukrainian authorities continue with the same policy blocking thereby all ways to peaceful settlement of the conflict. Urging the regions that opposed the coup d’état in 2014 to reintegrate while denying the Russian-speaking population of Donbass its rights in educational and other humanitarian areas, Ukraine is in fact doing everything to undermine the process of national reconciliation and the implementation of the Minsk Agreements.

The Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation calls upon the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, and parliaments of European countries to protect the rights of Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine and will insist on considering the situation in international parliamentary organisations – the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.