The Federal agency on CIS affairs believes that the status of the Russian language in Ukraine will become a subject of negotiations between presidents Yanukovych and Medvedev.
The same day Moscow will hold World congress of Russian nationals, and the status of the Russian language in Ukraine will be one of the main subjects of discussion.
ForUm decided to ask experts and MPs on 'timing' and efficiency of the regular talks between Ukraine and Russia on language issue, as well as reasons, moving Russia to raise this question now.
Volodymyr Ohryzko, former Foreign Minister of Ukraine:
- Russian scripts don't change. Same old for the same purpose - to subdue Ukraine, to put an end to its European development and to bring it back into the empire. This strategy they try to carry out with different methods. Now they remembered about the language, tomorrow they will recall grain quotas, and after tomorrow metal quotas.
We should react to these methods of potential influence on Ukraine. If we keep silence they will continue, if we react they will draw back. These are traditional methods of influence, and there is nothing to talk about.
I would like Ukraine's authorities to tell Russia once and for all that the language issue is our internal affair, and we will solve it by ourselves.
Petro Symonenko, Communist party leader, MP of Ukraine:
- The communist party's principle position is to make the Russian language the second state language of Ukraine. We constantly submit draft bills on this issue, but for a variety of reasons none of them has ever been adopted.
Now, together with the Party of Regions and Lytvyn's party we have prepared a draft bill allowing the Russian language to exist in our country as the second state language.
I am convinced this issue must be resolved, and I believe the fact that the leaders of both states will discuss it will speed up the solution of this problem.
Yuri Shukhevich, son of UPA commander Roman Shukhevich, political activist, dissident and USSR political prisoner, Hero of Ukraine:
- Russia raises the language issue because of the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Ukraine. We also should not exclude gas conflict. President Yanukovych realizes he can lose the economic war between our states, that's why he is led by ideology of Medvedev. The latter, in his turn, wants to buy the status for the Russian language at the cost of gas negotiations.
I don't know which position Ukraine will take, but I believe we should explain Russia that this is our internal matter and is not under discussion.
Myroslav Popovych, director of Philosophy Institute of the National Academy of Science, Ph.D.:
- This is one of the issues Russia will always use in case of any mutual conflicts. In fact, they don't demand to protect the very language, but just want to press on the weak point of the Ukrainian authorities. You remember, the Party of Regions promised in its election campaign to grant the Russian language with the status of the second state language, but in practice it does not want to do so, as it will affect already falling rating.
Russia, in turn, wants total control over the territory of former USSR. Today Russia developed Customs Union, and speaking about the status of the Russian language, Russia means Ukraine's membership in this Union.
I don't think Ukrainian authorities would agree, as they understand the matter concerns not the language itself.
Taras Chornovil, MP, member of "Reforms for the future":
- This is a proof of Russia's total attack, which shows Russia is not going to make any concessions in the bilateral relations.
The position of our neighbor is strict: for the moment of Russia's entry into WTO and in the process of cooperation with EU and NATO Russia does not want to have any rivals, opponents or any other independent players.
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