The Language Issue in the Evolution of Ukrainian Constitutionalism
Title: The Language Issue in the Evolution of Ukrainian Constitutionalism
Author: ULASIUK, Iryna
Citation: Revista de Llengua i Dret, 2010, 54, 135-165
ISSN: 0212-5056; 2013-1453
Ukraine has had a long history of various official (non-Ukrainian) languages which were administratively imposed by the frequently changing governing regimes. The Russian linguistic influence was particularly strong with the result that the Ukrainian and other languages enjoyed a position inferior to that of the Russian language. While theoretically persons belonging to a national minority could rely on a legal framework, including at the constitutional level, in order to defend their language rights, it is observable that as is usual in many multilingual societies, important differences were noticeable between constitutional guarantees and reality in Ukraine. The historical challenges of nation and state building in Ukraine set the stage for current state-ethnic relations in Ukraine, and determined the main trends in language policy. The foundations of the language policy are laid down in the 1996 Constitution of Ukraine. This paper highlights some aspects of the position of the state language and minority languages in the constitutional development of the Ukrainian state before and after its independence.
Subject: Ukraine; language rights; minority rights; constitutionalism; language of the State
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