The working group, instructed to finalize the law on principles of national language policy, prepared its new version.

The group decided to change even its name and entitle the document "On the order of applying languages in Ukraine." As one of the meeting participants said, the purpose of renaming was to "reduce the status of the document." "The original name was too pretentious. The principles of national policy are already outlined in the Constitution," he explained.

The bill retains the status of Ukrainian as the state language and contains measures to protect it. In particular, the use of the state language is compulsory in courts and paperwork, in the activities of public authorities, the armed forces, science and education, advertising fields. The law establishes the 75 percent quota for broadcasting in the Ukrainian language (now - 25%) of the total daily broadcast. Broadcast of programs and films in other languages must be accompanied by Ukrainian dubbing or subtitling.

The document does not provide for obtaining regional status by the languages of national minorities. It indicates that the members of territorial community, using certain minority language, may initiate "measures to protect it," providing at least 30% native speakers of the total the number of inhabitants of a settlement. Now the recognition of the regional language is permitted in the settlements, where the share of native speakers is at least 10%. Moreover, it will become much more difficult to request for measures to protect the minority language.
"We have completely changed the concept of protection of regional languages. The native speakers of such language may file their proposal to the local authorities, who, in turn, will have to file them to the regional councils and then to the Verkhovna Rada, which is to adopt the law on promotion and protection of regional language," one of the draftpersons Serhiy Holovaty said. It is assumed that in case the Parliament adopts a law to support a particular language in a particular area, it will be allowed to use it in all the areas along with the state one.

According to the member of the working group, adviser to the President Hanna Herman, a proposed version of the bill yesterday was supported by overwhelming majority of the group. "This is a working proposal. It will be submitted to the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine for examination. So the figure of 30% may not be the final one. At the meeting, Leonid Kravchuk stood for 30%, I talked about 20%. Following the conclusions of the NASU experts, the final version of the bill will be approved," Herman said.

In her view, the 30% limit is not to reduce the use of regional languages, less common than Russian. "There are other suggestions how to support the languages of national minorities. For example, we offer to separately consider measures to protect the Crimean Tatar language within the Crimean Autonomy and include them in the bill as a separate item," the advisor to the President said.
Director of the Ukrainian branch of the Institute for the CIS countries Volodymyr Kornilov is among the members of the group who are not satisfied with the provisions of the bill. In his opinion, the proposed document "restricts use of regional languages and violates the rights of citizens". "In some regions Russian could be used as a regional language along with the state language, in spite of a 30% quota. However, this limitation makes impossible to use other regional languages.
Besides, it becomes very difficult to achieve this – people shall make petitions, contact the local council ... The bill proposes to create action groups and petitions on the basis of the law on local referendums, which does not exist. This bill has no chance to be adopted by the Verkhovna Rada," Kornilov said.

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