Ukraine’s Communist Party has condemned Lviv regional council’s decision to ban the public use of the Russian language as unconstitutional. Located near Ukraine’s western border with Poland, Lviv has a population of 725,000, making it the country’s seventh-largest city. Lviv province has 2.5 million residents, many of whom are Russian-speakers.
Fifty-seven of 84 Lviv regional councilors approved the region-wide moratorium on September 18, applying to all Russian-language books, films and songs. The measure is intended to continue until “the complete cessation of occupation of the territory of Ukraine,” referring to the Crimean peninsula, which voted to reunite with Russia in 2014 after Russian troops moved in to secure the Sevastopol naval base in the wake of the Maidan coup in Kiev of February that year.
The council is also appealing to the national parliament to adopt similar measures, which could be explosive among the Russian-speaking third of the population.
The Communist Party said the ruling amounted to “ethnocide” and “the construction of a mono-ethnic state in Ukraine.”
It pointed out that President Petro Poroshenko has proposed a Ukrainian-language citizenship test, and that the very day after the Maidan coup the parliament cancelled ratification of the European Charter on regional and minority languages.
“One tongue, one nation” had been a nazi slogan, the party observed.