Knowledge of the Ukrainian language is a duty of every citizen of Ukraine.
This is stated in the decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, which considered the constitutionality of the law on ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language.
"It is a duty of every citizen of Ukraine to speak Ukrainian as the language of their citizenship. At the same time, every citizen of Ukraine is free to choose the language or languages for personal communication," the document, which was published on the Constitutional Court website on Thursday, July 15, says.
It says that the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language and its support by the state must be combined with respect for the languages of national minorities historically living within Ukraine and ensuring the protection of the language rights of persons belonging to such minorities.
"The Ukrainian language is an inseparable attribute of Ukrainian statehood, preserves its historical continuity from the ancient Kyiv era. The Ukrainian language is an indispensable condition (conditio sine qua non) of the statehood of Ukraine and its unity," the Constitutional Court says.
They say that the norms of the law on ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language in no way discriminate against Russian-speaking citizens and do not limit the list of languages of indigenous peoples and national minorities, as stated by MPs who submitted the law to the Constitutional Court.
"The Constitutional Court has found that the impugned law does not contain provisions that may restrict the free development, use and protection of languages having the legal status of national minority languages (including Russian), as well as those provisions that would prevent the state from promoting identity, in particular language, indigenous peoples and national minorities of Ukraine," the department of communications of Constitutional Court reports.
It is said that the Court found that the legislative settlement, which aims to establish the Ukrainian language as the state language, also protects the democratic system of our state, and the means chosen by the legislator within the framework of the differentiated approach applied in the law is proportional to the legitimate purpose which was pursued in the challenged law.
"The Court considers that the impugned law is a legal instrument for overcoming the consequences of the long stay of different parts of Ukraine in other states and the general Russification of Ukraine, which lasted for centuries during the stay of Ukraine in first tsarist Russia and then the USSR, and is the proper legal basis to introduce institutional mechanisms to ensure the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language with the ability to apply affirmative action measures in favor of the Ukrainian language, without hindering the development, use and protection of languages of national minorities of Ukraine," the Constitutional Court said.
It is also reported that the Constitutional Court did not find a violation of the right of legislative initiative of the MPs of Ukraine during the consideration of the disputed law at the plenary sessions of the Verkhovna Rada and its adoption.
The decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine is binding, final and not subject to appeal.