PRESS RELEASE ON THE SITUATION AROUND UKRAINE
AKP Phnom Penh, September 16, 2020 --
On 11th of September, Mrs. Maria Zakharova, Spokeswoman of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation issued at briefing
statements on the issues of discrimination against the Russian language and
Russian-speaking citizens’ rights in Ukraine.
Discrimination against the Russian language and Russian-speaking citizens’ rights in Ukraine We feel compelled to state that the situation in Ukraine with regard to the
rights of the Russian-speaking population continues to degrade.
On September 1, secondary schools in Ukraine offering the curriculum in
Russian had to switch to the Ukrainian language as part of Kiev’s all-out
Ukrainisation policy, while schools teaching in EU member state languages
benefited from an extension until 2023.
In early September, a court in Odessa finally ruled that Russian no longer
enjoys the status of a regional language in the Odessa Region, despite the local
authorities’ efforts to defend the language spoken by most residents in that region
We have repeatedly called the international community’s attention to
Kiev’s policy of forcible Ukrainisation and gross discrimination against the
Russian language in violation of the country’s Constitution and its international
obligations. As a reminder, international human rights bodies, including the
Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, have recommended that the
Ukrainian side make appropriate changes to the legislation to ensure the linguistic
rights of the ethnic communities living in Ukraine. However, officials in Kiev
have not paid heed.
Just as well, they have ignored the attempts by certain political forces
inside the country to rectify the situation. Their appeals to the Constitutional
Court, as well as proposed bills aimed at protecting linguistic diversity, have been
Moreover, the Ukrainian government’s crackdown on the Russian
language has by now crossed all reasonable limits and gone as far as punitive
action against their own citizens. On August 21 in Kherson, the Ukrainian
Security Service arrested Tatyana Kuzmich, a teacher of the Russian language
and literature with a PhD, an author of textbooks, and a prominent social activist.
The respected Russian teacher was sent to a pre-trial detention centre on an
obviously trumped-up charge of treason. But the main “crime” she is actually
being incriminated in is working to preserve and promote the Russian language
in Ukraine, along with a visit to Crimea. These two actions are sufficient grounds
for someone to end up behind bars in present-day Ukraine.
Rossotrudnichestvo (Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of
Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Cultural
Cooperation) has appealed to the UN HRC and the OSCE to shed light on this
highly unacceptable situation.
For our part, we urge our European partners and international human rights
agencies to give an appropriate assessment of this fact and to help induce Kiev to
respect the rights of the Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine.