Iryna Podoliak: Our main task is to make sure that the language situation in Ukraine changes significantly in the coming years

Deputies are about to start the second reading of the law on the state language. According to the author of the law, Samopomich deputy Iryna Podoliak, by the time of the second reading the concept of the law has not changed:

“In the first place, within the state, we are creating opportunities for people to master the state language.”

We are talking about the National Commission for the State Language, which will carry out certification and develop terminology. We are also talking about the institution of the Commissioner for compliance with the law on the state language.

The structure of the law has been retained as well. Iryna Podoliak notes, “The main purpose of the document is not to fight with any language, but to stop Russification.” The next task of this law is an integrating function within the state of Ukraine for the Ukrainian language.”

Iryna Podoliak also addresses the residents of the East and the South and asks not to believe provocative statements regarding the language law:

“In recent weeks, a huge campaign of lies has been launched in relation to this law. This campaign is conducted by the “birds of the Kremlin nest.” The information they are spreading is a blatant lie. No one is going to catch people on the streets, no one is going to punish them for the fact that they do not speak Ukrainian. This law does not apply to personal communication, to the religious life of people. This law concerns only the public sphere and those who want to make a career in public administration. This law also applies to the service sector. Our main task is to change the language situation in Ukraine in the coming years. No other state will take care of the Ukrainian language unless we do.”

Podoliak asks not to mix the law on national minorities with the draft law on the state language:

“We want Ukraine to be a comfortable, safe state for representatives of all ethnic groups that exist in Ukraine. But we must understand that Ukraine is not Russia; Ukraine is where the Ukrainian language is.”

The law provides for administrative sanctions for those enterprises, institutions, organizations that do not provide services in the state language. This will be a fine of 5,700-6,800 UAH. Criminal liability is not provided by the draft law.

The regulation about the need to obtain a certificate of knowing the state language by MPs was taken away. Because the Constitution has an exhaustive list of requirements and documents that must be submitted by candidates for the position of MP.

“We do not expect the situation to change overnight, and this is not our goal either. Because radical changes will not contribute to the main aim of this law – the integration of Ukrainian society. We understand that the state should create what it has not created for decades – the conditions for those people who, for certain reasons, do not speak the state language to have the opportunity to learn it.”


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