The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, has adopted the draft law on ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the national language.
Some 278 Members of Parliament backed the decision, according to an UNIAN correspondent.
Who is subject to the Ukrainian language law?
The law defines persons who are obliged to speak the national language and use it while performing official duties. Among them are:
- leaders of the state, lawmakers;
- judges, prosecutors;
- employees of the National Bank of Ukraine;
- officers who are in military service under the contract;
- teachers, doctors of state and municipal health care institutions.
This law is not applicable to the sphere of private communication and religious ceremonies.
What is the influence of the law on ordinary citizens?
The law provides that every citizen of Ukraine is obliged to speak Ukrainian as the language of his or her citizenship. It is noted that the state shall organize Ukrainian language courses for adults and provide an opportunity for citizens of Ukraine to learn the national language free if they had no such opportunity.
This law comes into force one month from the date of its publication, except for a number of provisions whose entry is postponed for several years.
According to the law, a person seeking Ukrainian citizenship is obliged to pass a Ukrainian language test. However, individuals who perform military service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and are given a state award and those whose citizenship of Ukraine is of state interest for the country have the right to acquire Ukrainian citizenship without taking the language test, but are obliged master it within one year from the date they are granted Ukraine's citizenship.
What is the National Commission for National Language Standards?
The provisions that the requirements for the level of proficiency in the state language necessary for obtaining citizenship of Ukraine are determined by the National Commission for National Language Standards shall enter into force two years after the law becomes effective.
Also there is a two-year delay in the entry into force for the rules on passing the Ukrainian language exam for obtaining citizenship of Ukraine.
The law stipulates that the documents proving the identity of a citizen of Ukraine should be in the national language, but those citizens who do not use Ukrainian as their native language have the right to transcribe their first and second names according to their national tradition.
The law provides that guidelines for the levels of proficiency in the national language should be developed and approved by the National Commission National Language Standards, taking into account recommendations of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).