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Russian language debate renewed in Ukraine

  |   March 15, 2010 at 10:51 AM
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KIEV, Ukraine, March 15 (UPI) -- The debate on giving the Russian language official status in Ukraine has renewed since Viktor Yanukovych was elected president last month.

Yanukovyvh and his pro-Moscow platform was elected largely by a groundswell of support in the east, where Russian is commonly spoken instead of Ukrainian, the Russian RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Saturday, parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn called for an end to discussions to make Russian a second official language.

"We are well aware that in the present situation, if we assume hypothetically that Russian becomes a second state language, we would actually be left with one state language -- Russian," he said. "The Ukrainian language cannot withstand competition in the scientific sphere, in the field of information, and in communications."

Other government officials followed suit through the weekend, with some saying all public officials should have to be fluent in Ukrainian and others saying state broadcasters should give priority to reporting in Ukrainian, the Ukrainian News Agency said.

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