As a Crimean ‘referendum’ threatens dismemberment of Ukraine, American ideals of ‘Strength through Diversity’ and ‘E pluribus unum’ have gone unmentioned in the media – even though, unlike in the Russian Federation, all minorities in Ukraine continue to openly enjoy legal rights and official encouragement in all their activities. The newly-baked claims of some Russians in Crimea about “persecution” of minorities have not been borne out. Here are the facts about all minorities and their status in Ukraine, especially Russians and Crimea.
This law (“On Regional Languages”), introduced in July 2012, states that communities with over 10% of any ethnic minority in their population may declare the language of this minority as an official regional language for their region. This means that this region would use it locally as a formal alternative to Ukrainian, e.g. for bureaucratic procedures.
In theory, this is a brilliant idea, but things get more complicated once we look beyond the surface. The approval of the law spurred massive protests, and although I did not participate in these protests, I personally was truly mad. I always thought of this Law as nicely packaged cheating, and here is why.