In the current plenary week, two bills were on the agenda, proposing to expand the use of languages of national minorities in the education system.
Both projects concern the right of national minorities (including Russian-speaking citizens) to receive education at all levels (both at school and in universities) in their native language. The appearance of these documents on the agenda is the third attempt this year to soften the language norms of legislation in education.
The first two failed. What are the chances of these projects now, analyzes «Strana».
Attempt # 3
This year, the deputies have more than once had a chance to soften the language norms in the legislation on education.
The loudest of all was the project submitted to the Rada by the majoritarian from Servant of the People Maxim Buzhansky. He proposed to equalize the rights of Russian-speaking citizens and representatives of other national minorities — to give a three-year deferral to schools with Russian as the language of instruction for the transition to Ukrainian.
According to the current legislation, from September 1, 2020, all Russian-language schools have switched to Ukrainian.
At the same time, schools with the language of instruction of other national minorities, for example, Hungarian, will switch to Ukrainian only after 3 years. The deputy saw obvious discrimination in this approach.
Buzhansky’s project was put on the agenda more than once, but then, under pressure from the nationalists, the leadership of the «servants of the people» gave a «back» and the question was not put to a vote.
As a result, until September 1, 2020, the corresponding bill was not considered by the deputies, and then it was completely withdrawn from consideration.
At a new session, in mid-September, the deputies considered another language project, the authors of which were a number of deputies from the Servant of the People. They offered to allow foreigners or stateless persons to study in foreign languages at Ukrainian universities, including Russian.
According to the authors of the project, if the law is adopted, foreign students could bring one billion hryvnia to the budget. The corresponding draft law was supported by only 210 people’s deputies. After there were not enough votes, he was sent for a second first reading. That is, theoretically, in the future it can be once again submitted to the hall for consideration. But when this will happen (and whether it will happen in principle) is unknown.
And against the background of such failed decisions on the «language» issue on the agenda for Wednesday, September 30, there are two bills at once, which are also designed to soften the norms that relate to the use of languages in the educational sphere.
They were co-authored by three deputies from the Opposition Platform — For Life, and again by a deputy from Servant of the People, Maxim Buzhansky.
The bill # 3077 was submitted by representatives of the Opposition Platform — For Life faction Nestor Shufrich and Vasily Nimchenko. In this document, the deputies propose to amend Art. 7 of the Education Law.
In particular, paragraph 1 of Art. 7 of the law, which states that the language of the educational process in educational institutions is the state language, it is proposed to supplement the sentence: “as well as the regional or minority language, if educational institutions are located in territories in which the regional or minority language is widespread and by decision of the relevant the local council applies measures aimed at the use of regional or minority languages ”.
The deputies also propose to prescribe that the state guarantees every citizen of Ukraine the right to receive education at all levels in the language of a national minority in state and municipal educational institutions, if they are located in the territory where the minority language is spoken.
In an explanatory note, the deputies recalled that some provisions of the law on education are discriminatory and contradict the Constitution of Ukraine.
«The adoption of the bill will ensure the protection of the linguistic rights of national minorities, will help relieve the tension in society, which caused the adoption of the law,» reads the explanatory note to the document.
Another bill # 3077-1 was co-authored by Maksim Buzhansky and People’s Deputy from the Opposition Platform — For Life, Oleg Voloshin.
This document also proposes to amend Art. 7 of the law on education. In particular, in paragraph 1 of Art. 7 of the law is proposed to stipulate that the state guarantees every citizen of Ukraine the right to receive education in the state language, as well as to be taught in the languages of indigenous peoples or national minorities. And we are talking about all levels of education — both schools and universities.
Item 3, Art. 7, which says that the state promotes the study in state and municipal educational institutions of languages of international communication, especially English, the deputies propose to supplement «and the Russian language.»
The explanatory note to the document states that thanks to its adoption, Ukraine will be able to fulfill the recommendations of the Venice Commission, as well as ensure the rights of all national minorities in Ukraine.
Thus, if one of these projects were adopted, every citizen of Ukraine would be able to receive education in the language that is native to him. At the same time, every citizen would have fully retained the opportunity to study the state language, that is, these projects in no way curtail any rights to study the Ukrainian language.
Both projects were submitted to the Rada in February this year. The profile committee (on education) sent them back for revision. In the summer, both projects were revised and resubmitted. They are now in a package of «educational» bills on the agenda for Wednesday, September 30th.
Will there be enough votes
Vasily Nimchenko in a conversation with «Strana» said that his faction had long insisted on bringing the «language» projects to the session hall. But, according to him, there is little chance that the project will be accepted.
“I think that in parliament there are at least 40% of adequate deputies who understand that all citizens of Ukraine should have equal rights, no matter what language they speak. 40% is not enough to pass the law, but maybe other deputies will understand that the right to receive education in their native language cannot be taken away. The fact that they were on the agenda is already good, in the previous convocation such bills did not reach the audience at all, «he tells Strana.
According to Vasily Nimchenko, who is also a retired judge of the Constitutional Court, the current law on education infringes upon the rights of national minorities.
“Discrimination on the basis of language is by no means permissible. Now the right to study in one’s native language is being violated. The Constitution gives the right to receive education in their native language for all groups, all peoples who live in Ukraine. That is, we see discrimination based on the language of millions of Ukrainian citizens, ”said Nimchenko.
At the same time, the co-author of the alternative project, Oleg Voloshin (the OPFL faction), believes that it will not come to consideration of these documents at all, since they are on the agenda almost at the very end. And there is simply not enough time for their adoption.
And Maxim Buzhansky said to «Strana»: «We will try. First of all, the chances depend on the turnout. «
Meanwhile, opponents of the adoption of these bills have already raised their wave of «zrada (betrayal)» in social networks. People’s Deputy from the European Solidarity faction, Mykola Knyazhytsky, said on his Facebook page that these are anti-Ukrainian bills.
“Unfortunately, the anti-Ukrainian essence of the representatives of the authorities of the“ Servants of the People ”and the OPFL is manifested in the Verkhovna Rada every day,” wrote Knyazhytsky. “It is bitter and ashamed to realize that the authorities treat Ukraine not as a state of the Ukrainian people, but as a territory of earnings and a place to be traded.”
Political scientist Ruslan Bortnik, in a conversation with Strana, recalled that during the elections, the rhetoric on the language of the current government officials was quite neutral and many of those who voted for President Vladimir Zelensky or the Servant of the People party believed that after the change of power they will not be infringed on the basis of language. And the fall in the rating is not least due to the fact that for a year and a half it has not made a single indulgence in this direction.
“Most likely, these bills will not be adopted even if they are put to a vote. And this will be another problem for the «Servant of the People». The “Opposition Platform” will receive its votes, since it positions itself as the only political force in Ukraine that is trying to ensure the rights of Russian-speaking citizens. “European Solidarity” will once again be promoted on the fact that they are opposing revenge. And «Servant of the People» will be the loser, especially in the south and east of Ukraine. A month before the elections, the voter is unlikely to forget this vote. Many Ukrainians are in favor of the opportunity to study in Russian. Our elites ignore this request and oppose people’s opinion. It is worth recalling that the last Russian-language school in Ukraine was closed under Zelensky, ”says Bortnik.
Galina Studennikova, Country