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30.01.2008

Photo of the Minister of Education burned in the Crimea

   

The Ukrainian Community of Sevastopol, which is an association of six city civic organizations, is demanding that the Ukrainian authorities bring charges against the organizers of the recent protest action in Simferopol during which a photo of the Minister of Education and Science Ivan Vakarchuk was burned. 

They have issued a statement in which they say that they have no intention of silently watching actions denigrating the Ukrainian State, language and national dignity of Ukrainians and Tatars as are, in their words, regularly organized in Sevastopol and Simferopol.  They are convinced that it is no coincidence that Tuesday’s statement by the Sevastopol City Council declaring the city a “NATO-free area” and support for a protest action) coincided with the ban on allocating land for a Soborna Mosque since they believe that Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars are the most denigrated groups on the Crimean peninsula.

The statement also calls on the Ukrainian authorities to put an end to what they say is discrimination against Ukrainian culture and language in the Crimea.

On 24 January in the centre of Simferopol there was a protest action against external testing in the Ukrainian language for school leavers organized by pro-Russian forces. During the action a photo of the Minister of Education was hung up and burned.

It should be mentioned that the Minister’s Order specifically allows students in the Crimea studying in the Russian language to take these external tests in Russian.

Based on information at http://human-rights.unian.net/ukr/detail/187103

We would also note that for some time Crimean newspapers have been full of quite hysterical articles on the subject of language, with statements suggesting that soon people would be arrested for speaking Russian.  Perhaps there was a genuine misunderstanding or even at the outset an intention (although this is denied) to require students studying in Russian to take the tests in Ukrainian, however the degree of animosity and tension raised by such publications is hardly conducive to good relations in the Crimea.

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