Ukraine issues new ban on Russian language
Russian language and literature courses will no longer be taught in Ukraine, according to an updated curriculum posted by the Ministry of Education on its website on Tuesday.
Among the courses excluded were ‘Russian and Foreign Literature’, ‘Russian language for general educational institutions with instruction in Russian’ for grades 5-9, and instruction in Ukrainian or Russian for grades 10-11.
While nearly all Russian and Belarusian books will be dropped from the school program, the ministry notes that it will allow some works by authors who wrote in Russian but whose “life and work were closely connected with Ukraine,” such as Nikolay Gogol and Mikhail Bulgakov.
According to the updated curriculum, foreign literature courses in Ukrainian schools will now focus on works by writers such as Jean de La Fontaine, O. Henry, Anna Gavalda, and Joseph Roth.
The ministry also announced that it will be updating history courses in Ukrainian schools “to take into account new historiographic developments.” Specifically, it will update courses on Ukrainian and world history for grades 6 to 11 to include the ongoing military conflict between Kiev and Moscow.
Last month, Ukrainian officials introduced a new stage of the law on ‘Ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state language’, which introduces fines for speaking Russian. The law applies to workers in institutions such as government agencies, education, science, and media.
“Citizens of the country must use the Ukrainian language in all aspects of social life,” the commissioner for the protection of the state language, Taras Kremen, explained, calling on people to report offenders to local law enforcement.
Russian is a native language in much of Ukraine and predominant in many cities in both the east and south of the country. However, Kiev has been taking steps to outlaw its use in most fields.
Moscow has expressed concern for years over the clampdown on Russian. Last September, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that “discrimination against the Russian language in Ukraine has reached the scale of a disaster.”