Sushko: Ukraine’s new law on education provides a way of uniting Ukraine

PONARS Eurasia
09 Oct 2017

(Ukraine Weekly) KYIV – Ukraine’s new law on education, which the Presidential Administration says is more inclusive towards minorities and will improve their integration into society, has received backlash from at least three countries in the region.

Russia, Hungary and Romania, all of which have sizable or concentrated minority enclaves in the country, have criticized the law that President Petro Poroshenko signed on September 25 and which went into effect three days later.

The law “raises the role of the official Ukrainian language in the learning process” and emphasizes the “importance of steadfast observance during education of the humanitarian rights of national minorities who live on the territory of Ukraine,” the presidential administration said in an official statement published online on September 25.

If existing policies prevented minorities from “effectively integrating into Ukrainian society and advancing their education and careers,” said Oleksandr Sushko, research director at the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation in Kyiv, then the new law gives them a future for living in a homogenous environment while they speak their language at home or in their place of domicile.

“I think this is inclusive and a way of solving this problem [of not integrating] and of uniting Ukraine,” he added. “It provides better conditions for minorities to learn Ukrainian and their own [languages] – I realize they’ve lived this way for more than two decades and it’s an abrupt interruption.” [...]

When asked about Hungary possibly stoking a separatist revolt in Zakarpattia, Mr. Sushko of the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation said it’s “more risky to have the existing status quo of big groups of citizens disconnected from Ukrainian society.” [...]

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