A position of Ukrainian language in 2012 or how ridiculous claims „Banned russian language” are. And why you shouldn’t judge Ukrainians which speak up absolutely against russian language in Ukraine now.
In 2012, for the first time since independence, the share of schoolchildren studying in Ukrainian decreased, and less than half of the total number of books published was in Ukrainian.
In October 2012, only 28% of the prime time on the top 8 TV channels was devoted to Ukrainian-language programs, 44% to Russian-language programs and 28% to bilingual programs.
These figures are slightly better than last year (2011), when Ukrainian-language programs accounted for only 22% of the airtime, but we cannot speak of the dominance of the Ukrainian language in the national television space.
On the 6 top-rated radio stations, songs in Ukrainian account for only 3.4% of the total number of songs in prime time (2011 - 4.6%). At the same time, songs in Russian account for 60% of the total number of songs.
More than 60% of the total circulation of newspapers, 83% of magazines, and about 87% of books (most of which are imported from Russia) are published in Russian in Ukraine.
Out of 290 restaurants in 29 cities, only 50% of them have signs in Ukrainian, 46% have menus in Ukrainian, and only 36% have employees who answer Ukrainian to Ukrainian-speaking customers (in another 11%, employees switched to Ukrainian during the conversation).
68% of films in legal distribution are dubbed in Ukrainian, and the remaining 32% have Ukrainian subtitles. Among the subtitled films, the majority are Russian-made films dubbed in Russian, respectively.
In 2011/12, 81.9% of schoolchildren were taught in Ukrainian, which is 0.3% less than a year earlier. This is the first time since Ukraine's independence that the proportion of students studying in Ukrainian has decreased.
Schoolchildren in 23 of Ukraine's 27 regions are mostly taught in Ukrainian. The exceptions are Donbas and Crimea, with less than 8% of children in Crimea studying in Ukrainian.
In 2011, almost 80% of school leavers chose Ukrainian as the language of instruction for external independent testing. This share varies greatly by region and is almost 100% in Lviv, 97% in Kyiv, 80% in Dnipropetrovs'k, but only 32% in Donetsk and 8% in Crimea.
The legal situation of the Ukrainian language in 2012 deteriorated catastrophically due to the scandalous adoption of the unconstitutional law "On the Principles of State Language Policy".
On August 8, President Viktor Yanukovych signed it.
After that, Russian was granted regional language status in many regions. In particular, in Dnipropetrovs'k, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk, Odesa, Kherson, Mykolaiv and Kharkiv regions.
In addition, the Russian language was supported in 9 cities: Izmail, Odesa, Sevastopol, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Yalta, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Krasnyi Luch.
Hungarian was also made a regional language in Berehove district of Zakarpattia region.
Russification of Ukraine didn’t stop in 1991. It was continued passively because Ukrainian language was marginalised and actively because pro-russian politicians made their job. From 2019 started so-called “soft Ukrainisation” when Ukrainian language in public services started to
be required, but cases of fines for ignoring these regulations were quite rare. Now russian language became an even bigger trigger than it was before. Former Russian speakers unexpectedly find out that their grand-grand parents were Ukrainian speakers but due to
decades-long Russification policy they switched to Russian and now decide to return to their mother tongue. Interest in history grows, same as desire to liberate ourselves of cultural occupation (via demolishing occupiers monuments, renaming streets named by murderers of
Ukrainians, explaining how Russification happened, sharing awareness that language matters, because it is a tool in Russian hands etc). We will move forward in this matter, it’s also a part of our fight for freedom. Forget this “but many Ukrainians speak Russian”, not anymore.
To sum up: the language which actually was “banned” in Ukraine is… Ukrainian.