13.12.2001 | Grigoriy Shved, the first deputy of the head of the Mariupol town department of the Voters Committee

Russification or idiocy?


In the beginning of December I and several acquaintances of mine came across with some facts of the pressure on the side of tellers (during the national census) concerning language. Before the census started officially (on 5 December) the tellers conducted the so-called ’instructing’ census, during which they also visited me. On Saturday, 1 December a teller wrote down some data about me in a notebook and only after my insistent remind she agreed to come to me during the official census with the official questionnaire and to feel it in my presence. Most of my answers were accepted calmly, but when it came to the question ’Your native language?’ and the girl heard the answer ’Ukrainian’, she asked me several times why I speak Russian with her, whether I actually know Ukrainian and if I insist on my answer. She wrote down ’Ukrainian’ about my native language in the notebook and I hope that it the same answer will be written in the questionnaire. I heard similar stories from some other people, so I believe that it is a result of some instruction. The local organizers of the census negate all accusations concerning the attempts of russification, but it would be naive to expect them to confess. Along with the doubts as to the ’language’ peculiarities of this census, the are some questions about the procedure itself. The cases, when, even after 5 December, the data were filed not in the questionnaires, but in some notebooks were rather frequent. So, it is not clear whether the information will be reflected truthfully in the results of the census.

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