Ukrainian President-Elect Unlikely to Lift Russian Status

Paton bridge over the river Dnieper, Mother Motherland monument in Kiev, Ukraine
After actor and comedian Volodymyr Zelensky’s landslide victory in Ukraine’s presidential elections, his campaign spokesperson, Dmytro Razumkov, said that the only official language in Ukraine is Ukrainian, according to the news outlet, Ukrainian Pravda. The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, is currently considering a bill that would require all media published in other languages to produce an identical Ukrainian version both online and in print. Radio and TV are also required to be in Ukrainian, with programs dubbed into other languages. If passed, the law would threaten the existence of several major publications, including the English-language daily, Kyiv Post, and alienate large Russian-speaking communities.  
When asked
whether Zelensky’s team are ready to politically support the law, which is
currently considering, Razumkov replied that, for a start, parliament must
agree on all amendments and then adopt the document. “Based on Zelensky’s
position voiced earlier, the only state language in Ukraine is Ukrainian,” he
said.“Development and support of the state language is one of the key prerogatives
of the president. But it should be done through encouragement, not with a
‘stick’. Using a ‘carrot’ can be much more efficient in this particular area,” explained
Razumkov. Earlier, as a presidential candidate, Zelensky promised to defend the
Ukrainian language.Prior to his bid for the presidency, Zelensky was best known for his
role in the Ukrainian comedy series, “Servant of the People,” where
he played a destitute schoolteacher who unexpectedly becomes president of
Ukraine after becoming famous for an anti-corruption rant that goes viral on
social media. In real life, his entertainment empire is estimated to be worth
tens of millions of dollars.
In the show, his character primarily
speaks Russian, along with many other cast members. Thirty percent of the Ukrainian
population speaks Russian.
In 2017,
Ukrainian became the required language of study in state schools from the
fifth grade, and Russian-language media were restricted in western Ukraine, where
Russian speakers are in the minority.


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