Crime & Justice

Ukrainian language to gain ground in public sphere as law comes into force

Kyiv, Jul 16 (EFE).- The Ukraine language law — aimed at breaking away from Russian influence — came fully into effect on Friday after the law was ruled constitutional by the Constitutional Court of Justice of Ukraine on Wednesday.

“Today, the provisions, which aim to increase the presence of Ukrainian in the public sphere and to solidify its status as a state language, enter into force,” said Taras Kremin, Commissioner for the Protection of the State Language in Ukraine.

The law was approved Wednesday after being under review over complaints by a group of 51 MPs brought to the constitutional court in 2019, saying the law discriminated against Russian-speaking citizens.

The norms apply to media outlets, the film industry, education, books and businesses and aim to expand the use of Ukrainian language in the country.

The law was first adopted in 2019, several days after president Volodimir Zelenski took power.

It included a clause that the implementation of some of its provisions would be delayed, in order to give businesses and the public sector time to transition. The transition period expired Friday.

Kyiv says the language law is ‘affirmative action’ necessary to protect and promote the Ukrainian language after centuries of oppression under Soviet rule and the Russian empire.

From Friday, concerts, shows, theatre performances and other cultural events must be held in Ukrainian or with Ukrainian translation.

Publishing houses will have to publish at least 50% of books in Ukrainian, while 50% of bookstores’ inventory will have to be in Ukrainian.

The most significant change concerns the film industry, with all movies and TV series in foreign languages to be dubbed in Ukrainian.

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