Peter Tolstoy, Deputy Speaker of the State Duma, who is also the Vice-Speaker of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), in conversation with Rossotrudnichestvo commented on the ban on communication in Russian in a multi-ethnic state.
"As of January 16, Ukraine began implementing a new stage of the language law. The document itself entered into force in 2019, but some of its articles had a delayed effect. For instance, the ban on the use of the Russian language was implemented gradually, and from September 1 last year the last Russian school disappeared. As gradual it was, from the outset, it was clear that no good could come of this.
And now, a year and a half later, it's time for the articles related to services and trade to come into force. Now the service in shops, cafes, gas stations and pharmacies can be provided only in Ukrainian. The so-called language ombudsman will be responsible for unconditional implementation of the law.
At the January PACE session in Strasbourg we plan to raise the question about the inadmissibility of such language tyranny and the forced Ukrainianization. This is not just another ban, this is a violation of basic human rights - the right to communicate in a native language in a multi-ethnic state, in a state where Russian is a native language for millions of citizens.
Moreover, this stance of the Ukrainian authorities is further evidence that Ukraine has no plans for reconciliation with the Russian-speaking Donbass. What about the residents of Odessa, Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk?
Over the last few days I have received numerous messages via social networks from Ukrainian citizens who thank us for our position and ask us to protect their interests in the international arena. It is noteworthy that they ask this of members of the Russian delegation, not of the Ukrainian one. This is a perfect assessment of our Ukrainian colleagues at the PACE by their own citizens.