Russian Language Receives Initial Approval in Ukraine

Russian Language Receives Initial Approval in Ukraine

Published: June 6, 2012 (Issue # 1711)

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s parliament has given tentative approval to a hotly contested bill that would allow the use of the Russian language alongside Ukrainian in some regions.

Defying vehement protests by the opposition, pro-government lawmakers passed the bill in the first of two readings Monday. The previous discussion of the bill late last month caused a violent fight between lawmakers that left one parliament member hospitalized with a head injury.

Under the bill, Ukrainian would remain the only official language in the country, but Russian could be used in courts, hospitals and other institutions in Russian-speaking regions.

Members of the pro-Western opposition argue that the bill would stifle the development of the Ukrainian tongue as millions of Russian speakers would have no incentive to learn and use it.

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