7 Oct 2019 21:36

Russian-language schools' switch to Ukrainian from 2020 is discrimination - Russian Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW. Oct 7 (Interfax) - The Russian Foreign Ministry has taken note of Ukrainian Education Minister Anna Novosad's announcement that all Russian-language schools in the country will start teaching in Ukrainian from 2020 under education legislation signed into law on September 28, 2017.

"We remind that the education law was criticized by the Council of Europe's Venice Commission which recommended substantial amendments to it. However, these were ignored by Ukraine. We regret to state that Kyiv is officially continuing with the previous government's policy aimed at total and forcible Ukrainianization of the country," the ministry said.

"Furthermore, the Russian language is still subjected to double discrimination, because the switch to Ukrainian by schools teaching in minority languages, among which are some European Union ones, is being postponed until 2023.

"We have repeatedly pointed to the perniciousness of such a policy in the multi-ethnic, multilingual Ukrainian society. History teaches that such actions lead to nothing good. A state built upon suppression of a national-language identity and violation of human rights will never be strong and stable. We are urging the authorities in Kyiv to protect the declared European human-rights values and review their language policy.

"Pan-European and international human rights groups will give an articulate and principled evaluation of Kyiv's actions violating not just the provisions of the country's Constitution but also its international commitments in the sphere of human rights and to protect national minorities."

On October 4 Novosad said that Russian-language schools would start teaching in Ukrainian next September.