It’s easy for those who have never been on the receiving end to downplay or dismiss rampant discrimination against the Ukrainian language. But those who have can tell you that it’s very real and has been going on a long time.
From the vantage point of the Ukrainian diaspora in Canada, it has been fascinating (if distressing) to watch it happening in Ukraine. Still. Even 18 years after independence, there remains the possibility (if slightly less probability) that the Ukrainian language could well end up like aboriginal languages in Canada have.
As time goes by, it’s getting harder to justify opposition to Ukrainian being the official language of Ukraine. Nonetheless, as this article illustrates, some people still insist on trying their best to turn back the clock and hinder progress.
The Odessa court of appeals has upheld the decision of the Nikolayev City Council [which] on May 26 adopted a resolution granting Russian the status of a regional language…
Similar litigations are underway in Odessa, Donbass and the Crimea.
The councils of different levels in the south and east of Ukraine have been providing funding in order to protect and support the Russian language spoken by a large portion of the population.
As a presidential election slated for January 17, 2010 nears, the preservation of the Russian language and its status as a second official language become increasingly relevant for leading centrist and left-wing parties and organisations in Ukraine.
Now it just so happens that the city of Nikolayev, whose proper Ukrainian name is Mykolaiv, is a major ship-building centre of Ukraine … as it was during the former Soviet Union and tsarist Russian empires. Not that a minor detail like that would have anything at all to do with the chauvinistic attitudes of Ukrainian citizens in that part of Ukraine towards the Ukrainian language. I’m just sayin’.
Fortunately, as another article shows, some people are a lot more sensible, enlightened, and progressive.
Yevgeny Kisiliev, the television anchor who was the face of the Yeltsin revolution … [and] who had been Russia’s most influential TV journalist, [is] commuting to his new job as an anchor in Ukraine. … He speaks Russian and his guests speak whichever language they prefer. When they opt for Ukrainian, he understands “90 to 95 per cent”; “I practise Ukrainian every day,” he said.
Would that the good people of Mikolaiv, Odessa, and elsewhere in Crimea, as well as the Donbass, etc. would follow his example. Perhaps they’ll watch his program and eventually start to understand and practice Ukrainian as well.
To my mind, those who actually do view and treat the Ukrainian language with the respect it deserves are cut from the same cloth as English-speaking Canadians who enroll their kids in French language immersion classes (and vice-versa).
Such smart and visionary folk instinctively know what scientists recently revealed in a study. There is clear evidence that knowing how to communicate in more than one language is good for you… and your brain!