Evening Moscow, View of the Moscow Kremlin, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and the University. Russia
More than 60% of Ukrainian citizens want the Ukrainian language to be the only official state language in the country, according to the results of a new poll released at the end of last month.“A total of 63% [of respondents] believe that the Ukrainian language must be the only official state language, 17% want the Russian language to be official, while 15% would like to see it as official in some regions,” according to the survey conducted by the Sociological Group Rating.The idea of granting official status to the Russian language is most popular in the regions of Zaporizhia, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv, and Odessa.The poll was conducted among some 40,000 respondents from all the regions of Ukraine from November 16–December 10.However, Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson from the Russian Foreign Ministry, has demanded “at least some status” for the Russian language in Ukraine, claiming that “the majority” of Ukrainians speak it. “Most of the country speaks Russian. While city leaders, government representatives, and journalists speak it, they cannot give it at least some status in a state whose culture was created including using this language,” Zakharova told a Moscow briefing, according to an UNIAN correspondent in Russia.At the same time, she expressed surprise over the round table held in the Ukrainian parliament on violations of rights of indigenous peoples in Russia, including encroachments on freedom of speech, conscience, and assembly, as well as violations of the right to study in their native language. “It’s as if Ukrainian lawmakers have nothing else to do than discuss the situation with indigenous peoples in the Russian Federation,” she said, calling the situation “ridiculous.” Zakharova went on to claim that Ukraine’s government had itself hindered basic rights of national minorities in Ukraine. Russia has no Ukrainian-medium schools, despite 1.8 million Ukrainians living in the country, according to the latest census.
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