Oleksandr Vilkul, candidate for president, spoke out sharply against the pro-government language bill No. 5670-d fr om the parliamentary stand. The opposition leader noted that the draft does not even touch the protection of the Ukrainian state language, which we unconditionally respect. It dwells on prohibition of other languages in our multilingual, multi-ethnic and multicultural country. He also suggested that a library of native literature should be founded in the Verkhovna Rada and handed a copy of “Kobzar” over to the speaker Andrei Parubiy, reminding that Taras Shevchenko wrote his works both in Ukrainian and in Russian.
We kindly remind that Verkhovna Rada plans to begin the second reading of the draft law No. 5670-d “On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language” on February 28. The bill was adopted in the first reading in October 2018. Oleksandr Vilkul, who systematically and consistently advocates the right of local communities to determine for themselves which regional languages to use and how to use them (especially in education) does not only sharply criticize the law, but also demands a moratorium on draft bills that split society on points of language, history and faith.
“The authorities are only interested in how to consolidate parts of the radical-minded voters through dirty speculations on the rewriting our history, on speculations in matters of faith, religion, and on the language issue. Let alone the fact this language bill contradicts many articles of our Constitution. Our authorities trod it down long ago. It contradicts our commitments signed under the European Integration Agreement; it violates the European Charter for Regional Languages. I'm not talking of the East, but the authorities, with their language policy, have set us loggerheads with many countries of the West - Hungary, Romania, Poland, in particular. Are they separatists as well?” - the MP pointed out.
Oleksandr Vilkul has quoted the poem by Taras Shevchenko that is being promoted in the Internet these days: “I write in Ukrainian as well as in Russian”.
Addressing Parubiy, an opposition candidate for president said: “Taras Shevchenko, who you declare to be a prophet, Kobzar, wrote poems in both Ukrainian and Russian. Tell me, please, wh ere shall we assign put 54% of the literary heritage of Taras Shevchenko, written in Russian? Whether he should also be marked as “separatist”? Is he a traitor? He is our story. He is our culture. And I suggest you should think about it and leave cave-inhibiting nationalism behind”.
We kindly remind, that Oleksandr Vilkul has repeatedly advocated humanitarian and linguistic decentralization in multilingual and multicultural Ukraine. People should have an opportunity to chose which regional languages to use, which holidays to celebrate, which monuments to build and which names to give to their cities, for themselves in local referendums, in accordance with European practice. The leader of the opposition submitted the draft law on local referendums to the Verkhovna Rada in 2015, but the coalition continues to block it.