Verkhovna Rada passes bill to make Ukrainian Ukraine’s only official language

Personal communication excepted


Channel 12 UA:

The bill defines the Ukrainian language as the only official language in Ukraine. The document regulates the use of language in all spheres of public life, but does not apply to personal communication.

It is argued that every citizen of Ukraine is obliged to speak the state language, and the state, for its part, will provide opportunities for this. Foreigners will have to learn Ukrainian in order to obtain Ukrainian citizenship.

The document requires high-ranking officials and civil servants to speak Ukrainian. E.g,  the President, the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada and the Prime Minister, their deputies, the head of the SBU, the Prosecutor General, the head of the National Bank, members of the Accounts Chamber, authorized HR Human Rights Representative, chairman of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, chairman of the Council of Ministers of Crimea, and so on.

Also, the obligation to speak Ukrainian is extended to officers, law enforcement officers and representatives of special services, lawyers, notaries, heads of state and municipal kindergartens, schools, institutions of secondary and higher education; teachers, educators and scientists; doctors of state and municipal institutions, other officials.

According to the draft law, working communications should take place in the Ukrainian language, as well as clerical work and circulation of documents. Legal proceedings are to be conducted in the state language, exceptions according to the procedural code. The Ukrainian language is used in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and during the crossing of the state border.

The document specifies that every citizen of Ukraine has the right to receive an education in the state language. In kindergartens, along with the Ukrainian language, use of the language of national minorities in accordance with the law. External independent testing from 2025 will be available only in Ukrainian (with the exception of [competence in] foreign languages). The language of science, culture, publishing, television and the press, computer programs, advertising, postal services, all to be in Ukrainian, taking into account existing laws.

Serving consumers in different areas should in Ukrainian and in any other at client request. In particular, transport services are to be provided in the state language.

The bill provides for the creation of a National Commission on State Language Standards. They want to authorize this body to approve the standards of the Ukrainian language, in particular the requirements for their level of proficiency. The document regulates how many people are members of the National Commission and the rules they will work under.

It is established that the only document that confirms the level of knowledge of the Ukrainian language is the state certificate.

In addition, the draft law provides for the introduction of the post of ombudsman for the protection of the state language. It is assumed that citizens will be able to access the ombudsman if their right to the Ukrainian language has been violated. Such an authorized person will be able to make a decision on conducting a language examination. Recall, on February 28, the Constitutional Court made a decision on the unconstitutionality of the law “On the basis of the state language policy” No. 5029-VI (the so-called Kivalov-Kolesnichenko law) due to violations during its adoption.

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