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Iryna Podoliak: “We are approaching a historic Rubicon in the issue of the Ukrainian language”

On Thursday, October 4, the Verkhovna Rada will consider four bills on language. According to MP Iryna Podoliak from the Samopomich Union parliamentary faction, we are now approaching a historic milestone regarding the issue of the Ukrainian language in modern Ukraine.

She is convinced that the final version should be adopted before the start of the presidential campaign, because very often the language becomes an issue of manipulations during the election race in order to bring about fear and conflicts in the society instead of peace and confidence. “I consider a bill #5670-d, which I co-authored, the most balanced one. Without a doubt, there is a threat MPs will try to kill the bill in the session hall, hiding behind beautiful and patriotic slogans, on the one hand, and horror stories about the Russian language on the other, to avoid adopting the law. This is the Kremlin’s plan – to have no law adopted or to have such a law adopted, which from the legal point of view will be a weak act that will not be properly implemented. Iryna Podoliak notes, “The draft law 5670-d provides for the regulation of the use of the Ukrainian language in all spheres of public life – education, science, culture, civil service, legal proceedings – but not in personal communication or religious rites. In addition, unlike other proposed legislative initiatives, 5670-d regulates the use of the Ukrainian language exclusively, and also creates an institutional infrastructure that will let the law be truly implemented instead of being just a mere declaration.”

“All other bills mention different languages – of national minorities, of indigenous peoples, the Ukrainian language,” says Iryna Podoliak. “They contain some regulations that are incompatible with the Ukrainian or European legal field as well as the threats of disintegration of the society.” She continues, “A lot of materials have been processed during the preparation of the bill 5670-d, a lot of specialists and public figures were involved in developing it. This bill is called a “public” bill. Another advantage of the document is that it launches system changes. There are no prohibitions and pressure, only a systematic progressive organization of the process of using the Ukrainian language.

Iryna Podoliak concludes, “Generally speaking, this bill is for the future; its aim is to let the young people who connect their lives with Ukraine speak of their land in the Ukrainian language.”

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