Statement of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation

regarding discrimination of Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine

Unofficial translation


regarding discrimination of Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine

The Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation expresses its deep concern about the fact that as early as September 2020, when the new Ukrainian legislation on education will enter into force, teaching in educational institutions (except for pre-school and primary levels) in Ukraine – country where Russian is the mother tongue for millions of people – will be almost entirely in Ukrainian.

In its Statement regarding the adoption of the Ukrainian Law on Education (resolution of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation No. 354‑SF of September 27, 2017), the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation noted that the Law is in conflict with the Constitution of Ukraine and obligations undertaken by Ukraine under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of 1 February 1995 and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages of 5 November 1992, infringes upon the interests of Russian-speaking population of the country and aims at across-the-board ukrainization.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe also stated, in its resolution 2189 (2017) of 12 October 2017 entitled ”The new Ukrainian law on education: a major impediment to the teaching of national minorities' mother tongues“, that the law seriously infringes upon the rights in the area of education previously guaranteed to national minorities. In addition to Russia, protests against the new Ukrainian law were also made by Bulgarian, Hungarian, Greek, Moldavian and Romanian authorities.

Nevertheless, despite criticism voiced by many countries and international organizations, the Ukrainian authorities continued to pursue their policy of massive violation of rights of the Russian-speaking population having institutionalized it in the Ukrainian Law on Functioning of Ukrainian as the State Language which came into force on 16 July 2019 and the Ukrainian Law on General Secondary Education of 16 January 2020. That was done in disregard of the Opinion of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (the Venice Commission) No. 902/2017 of 11 December 2017 according to which the Ukrainian law on education does not provide solutions for languages which are not official languages of the European Union, including, in particular, Russian as the most widely used non-state language in Ukraine. The Opinion specifically states that the less favorable treatment of these languages is difficult to justify, which raises the issue of their discrimination. Exclusions envisaged for languages of ”native populations“ which include in Ukraine a few ethnic groups living outside the country (in Crimea), and partly for official languages of the European Union only highlight the anti-human and predominantly anti-Russian nature of the new Ukrainian legislation on education.

The Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation notes that Ukraine’s pro-Western orientation after the coup in 2014 has not brought it closer to civilized democratic standards. On the contrary, it has moved it even further away from them. The current Ukrainian leadership continues the discriminatory policy of the former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko aimed at restricting the right of the Russian-speaking population to study in their mother tongue. The policy of forced ukrainization has been one of the key causes of intra-Ukrainian conflict in Donbass which has already resulted in thousands of victims. Instead of learning lessons from mistakes made by their predecessors who relied on nationalist ideas, the Ukrainian authorities continue with the same policy effectively blocking thereby all ways to peaceful settlement of the conflict. Urging the regions that opposed the coup in 2014 to reintegrate while denying the Russian-speaking population of Donbass its rights in educational and other humanitarian areas, Ukraine is in fact doing everything to undermine the process of national reconciliation and implementation of the Minsk agreements.

The Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation calls upon the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights and parliaments of European countries to protect the rights of Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine and will insist on the consideration of the situation in the international parliamentary organizations – the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

The Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation