Kyiv bans Russian from cultural life
The Kyiv City Council has banned the public use of cultural products in Russian. The ban applies to books, songs, plays and other cultural works, even if they are by Ukrainian authors. But because the City Council lacks the authority to enact such legislation there are no penalties for violations for the time being.
Discrimination across the board
A large group of Ukrainians are being socially excluded, blogger Andriy Movchan laments on his Facebook page:
“That includes Kyiv residents, refugees from the eastern regions and all those for whom the Russian-speaking part of the city’s culture and history is an essential part of their identity. Until yesterday, when explaining the language situation in Ukraine, I’ve often had to convince foreigners that it’s an exaggeration to say that there are language bans in Ukraine; that while there is a problem of institutional discrimination against Russian speakers in a number of public spheres, there are no formal bans on the use of the Russian language. But after the Kyiv City Council decision, I won’t say that anymore.”
A cultural purge
Writer and scriptwriter Andrei Kokotyukha rejects the approach of cracking down on all things Russian on nv.ua:
“The second-hand market near Pochaina metro station is one of the few cult places for Kyiv book lovers. There you can find books translated into Russian for which there is no analogue Ukrainian version. I don’t know who needs Maurice Druon’s historical novels, Sidney Sheldon’s detective stories, Frederick Forsyth’s spy novels or Danielle Steele’s melodramas nowadays. But just because I don’t know doesn’t mean that such readers don’t exist. What I do know is that these and other translations in the Russian version pose no threat to the state.”