UARU
President-Elect Zelenskiy Will “Thoroughly Analyze” New Language Law Once He Takes Office
25 April, 2019

Ukraine’s president-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy has announced that he will undertake a thorough analysis of the newly-adopted language law once he takes office, to "ensure constitutional rights and interests of Ukrainian citizens are respected." 

In his Facebook post, Zelenskiy added that his team will "respond accordingly" to the analysis "within constitutional powers of the president and in the interests of the people."

READ MORE: Ukrainian Parliament Adopts Language Law

This comes mere hours after Ukraine’s parliament adopted the law, which stipulates the only official language in Ukraine to be Ukrainian and therefore makes "any attempts to implement multilingualism in Ukraine" to be against the Ukrainian Constitution and seen as those "provoking a language schism in the country, as well as ethnic strifes aimed at a forceful change or overthrow of the constitutional order." It also makes Ukrainian mandatory for use in most of the public sphere, including high-level official political events, court hearings, in catering, as well as in product and service labelling. It excludes, however, religious services and citizens' private conversations.

In his Facebook statement, Zelenskiy, a Russian speaker from the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, agreed that Ukrainian should be the only official language in the country, but expressed doubts about the way this law is going to be implemented.

“My position is that the state should contribute to the development of the Ukrainian language by establishing incentives and positive examples and not by pursuing bans and punishments, complicating bureaucratic procedures and by multiplying a number of officials instead of reducing it,” Zelenskiy wrote.

Ukraine’s president-elect believes the fact that the draft law, which is soon to be signed by its huge supporter, outgoing President Petro Poroshenko, was considered during the election cycle made it a “hostage of political rhetoric.” He added that the law was passed without a sufficiently broad discussion with the public.