Yesterday, July 31, speaker of Ukraine's parliament Volodymyr Lytyvn signed the infamous law on language policy and submitted it for the President's signature.

The signing of the document caused heated discussions among politicians and experts.

The ruling party believes the language law will stop political confrontations in the society. President's aide on constitutional and legal modernization Maryna Stavniychuk notes that the significant part of the draft bill does not correspond with the Constitution and international norms. Another aide Anna Herman assures that the final decision of the President will be fair.

ForUm has asked politicians and experts to estimate the Lytvyn's decision to sign the document, as well as further fate of the very law.

Petro Poroshenko, economy and trade minister of Ukraine:

- President Yanukovych will not sign the law on language policy. Considering the current situation, I doubt the law will be signed. It won't do Ukraine any good.

We should apply maximum efforts to stop the law from coming into force. Apart from splitting the country, the law will cause economic and financial damage to the budget. Realization of this law with its financial consequences is not among the budget priorities.

Stanislav Kulchinski, historian:

- I believe the President will introduce some amendments and the draft bill will become a law. In my opinion, these amendments will not be very significant, just to declare the official status of the Ukrainian language.

The realization of the law will be complicated, as it requires serious financial support, while the government has not allocated any means for this in the state budget. Besides, the law will change nothing in real life. The Russian language will continue to dominate in the Russian speaking regions, while the Ukrainian language will remain the state language.

I really doubt this law will somehow provoke russification of Ukrainian speaking regions of the country. Frankly speaking, the law merely confirms the state of things existing for years.

Volodymyr Tsybulko, political scientist:

- Even if the law comes into forces, its realization will be delayed, as there are no legal mechanisms to finance these changes. It means the law will remain on paper.

It turns out that the parliament has 'suspended' this technical law, not adopting it in full but not abandoning it completely as it may be used as an election campaign factor or certain legislative initiative.

At the same time, the language legislation of Ukraine does need some improvement regarding the adjustment to the European language charter.

Volodymyr Ohryzko, former foreign minister of Ukraine:

- I believe that having signed this law the final verge of cynicism has been crossed. It is obviously an anti-Ukrainian law, which splits the society and brings mistrust and conflicts. I hope president's aides will convince him not to sign this document, but to submit it to specialists and public activists for consideration. Otherwise, the whole governmental structure risks to explode.

Half-measures, like insignificant amendments by the President, will not solve the matter. The Ukrainian language is the state language and its status must be secured by a separate law. On the other hand, we must adopt another law on languages of national minorities, which will stipulate the rights of these languages once and for all.

Oleksiy Garan, scientific director of the political school under "Kyiv Mohylianska academy":

- The fact that speaker Lytvyn signed this law proves his political position is far from being a principle stand. The law was passed with violations and now the politician would have to offer excuses to the voters, like he tried to impede, he was against the adoption, he was a hero and so on. But in fact, his heroism has a low price and his resignation was just a game.

Though I don't think this decision will affect Lytvyn's chances in a single-mandate constituency, but it would have been better if he had not signed it.

Taras Berezovets, political strategist, director of Berta Communications Company:

- Volodymyr Lytyvn signed the law because he had received three passing seats in the list of the Party of Regions. Besides, recently he ordered a public survey in Zhytomyr region, where he intends to run for parliament. The goal was to find out whether the signing the law will somehow affect his winning chances. Probably, after receiving the results Lytvyn chilled out and put his signature.

As for the future for this law, it is not a fact it will be signed by the President. Yanukovych is now trying to calm the things down, and signing the law will put at risk his efforts.

Vitaly Kulik, director of the research Center on civil society problems:

- The situation has complicated, as immediately after signing the law on languages Lytyvn submitted his own draft bill "On application order of languages in Ukraine", which provides for abolishment of the law on language policy. The explanatory note to the Lytvyn's draft bill says that the provisions of the law on language policy contradicts the Constitution and do not meet the ratification of the European charter on regional and minority languages.

I believe the President will take a well-thought-out decision to please all political forces. I don't think Brussels will understand if Kyiv starts taking undue freedoms with its international obligations. I think the final decision will be made in autumn.


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