The controversial Ukrainian language bill was passed today with 248 MPs voting, amidst scuffles between Party of the Regions and opposition MPs.

The 2000 amendments proposed to the bill were still being worked on, but these now fall. Speaker Lytvyn, who commented yesterday that more work was needed on the bill, was not present, but his deputy Adam Martyniuk, moved for the bill to be included on today's agenda. The Party of the Regions has used its majority to push the bill through and is delighted that it managed to outwit the opposition, who were completely unprepared for today's events.

Whatever the Party of the Regions may say about European standards, this bill is about appeasing their own supporters ahead of the October elections and gaining political advantage. One PR MP said gleefully " Look at the beauty of the game. We fooled them (the opposition) like kittens. I don't know what they'll do in the elections."

Many remain convinced that the bill means russification by the back door, and that there will be no benefits to the Ukrainian people. The Party of the Regions had no regard to the sensitivity of the issue and what it might mean for the de facto status of Ukrainian as the state language, and were clearly not interested in the views of leading academics about the divisiveness of the bill. This issue will haunt Ukraine for many years to come.

The Party of the Regions is already saying that their next step is to make Russian the second official language of Ukraine.

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Ukrayinska Dumka


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