The document envisages the implementation of several dozen measures over three years.
The Kyiv City Council approved the City Council Concept affirmation of the Ukrainian language in all spheres of public life in the city of Kyiv for 2023-2025.
This document is very important because language is the main feature of a nation. But, unfortunately, in Ukraine (also in the capital) many people still speak Russian – the foreign language of the aggressor country.
LANGUAGE SITUATION IN THE CAPITAL
When developing the Concept, its authors cited interesting statistics based on a survey on the language situation in the capital.
After all, it is known that Kyiv, like all of Ukraine, underwent Russification for many years until 1991. Moreover, in Soviet times, speaking Ukrainian in the capital was even considered unprestigious. And if a person spoke Ukrainian, they said he was from the village.
But with the change of history, the situation gradually changed. So, over the past 22 years, the prevalence of the Ukrainian language in Kyiv has increased from 15 percent in 2000 to 44 percent in 2023.
Today, 47 percent of the total number of surveyed Kyivans speak Ukrainian at home.
A large number of residents of the capital (33 percent of the total number of respondents) switched to Ukrainian during the full-scale war. But there are still those who continue to speak Russian.
“Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine significantly accelerated the transition of many Ukrainians (in particular, Kyivans) to Ukrainian. But sociolinguistic studies confirm the presence of bilingualism in the capital. In particular, 86 percent of Kyiv residents consider Ukrainian to be their native language. But only 44 percent speak it in everyday life,” she told “Vechirnyi Kyiv” head of the working group for the development of the Concept, deputy head of the KMDA, deputy of the Kyiv City Council (UDAR faction) Hanna Starostenko.
According to a sociolinguistic study, the main factors preventing people from starting to communicate in Ukrainian are habit (47 percent), insufficient and inconsistent popularization of Ukrainian culture in society (24 percent), personal fears and insecurity (21 percent).
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE CONCEPT
The main goal of the Concept adopted by the city is to help people overcome the negative factors they mentioned during the survey and to introduce the Ukrainian language in all spheres of public life.
“This is very important, especially in the conditions of martial law. Today, we see a great interest in learning the native language among people who have been speaking Russian for many years. In particular, those who studied in Russian-language educational institutions in Soviet times, and internally displaced persons. However, not everyone has the necessary knowledge and habit to communicate fluently in Ukrainian,” Hanna Starostenko stressed.
HOW WILL THE CONCEPT BE IMPLEMENTED
The document envisages the implementation of several dozen measures. This will happen in stages over the next three years.
In particular, it is the creation of Ukrainian language courses and conversation clubs. And also — their weekly holding in each of the 139 libraries of the city of Kyiv. At the same time, extensive information is provided so that people know where they can improve their Ukrainian language.
Also, in the capital, they are going to open the Kyiv Office of Language Culture as the main center for improving and spreading the Ukrainian-speaking environment in Kyiv.
Among the activities is the creation and implementation of a specialized Ukrainian language course for people with disabilities. Also, organization of stand-up shows for young people, stand-up courses, Ukrainian book exchange parties.
And also — screening of Ukrainian film classics or modern Ukrainian cinema in the premises of public spaces “Vcentri HUB”. Development and implementation of educational programs in the Ukrainian language for informal education of parents of children of different ages.
And, of course, holding round tables, forums, seminars, contests, family festivals, discussions with leaders of public opinion and other events related to the formation and implementation of the state language policy…
You can familiarize yourself with all the measures that the implementation of the Concept provides here.
“This Concept covers not only educational institutions, but also the cultural environment, public transport, and the sphere of services. We strive to ensure that as many citizens as possible speak Ukrainian. As for the measures, how exactly we will do it, it is primarily the opening of the language center. Also, we will definitely expand the network of clubs for communication in Ukrainian, where anyone who wants to can improve their conversational level. In addition, we will implement a powerful information campaign, we will attract more Kyivans to the project,” she told “Vechirnyi Kyiv” deputy of the Kyiv City Council (Batkivshchyna faction) Alla Shlapakwhich participated in the development of the provisions of the Concept.
According to the deputy, each of us should, by our own example, switch to Ukrainian (in particular, in everyday life). After all, the more often our friends and relatives will hear our native language, the easier it will be for them to switch to Ukrainian. This will also be our contribution to Victory.
UKRAINIZATION SHOULD BE GENTLE
The concept was developed at the initiative of the Civic Council under the executive body of the Kyiv City Council (Kyiv City State Administration).
“We approached the mayor with this proposal a year ago. In November last year, the working group became operational. I especially want to thank the head of the working group, the deputy head of the KMDA Hanna Starostenko, who withstood pressure from all sides (there were serious discussions and battles). As a result, the Concept turned out to be good and constructive. What is important, the project of this decision was supported by all deputy factions of the Kyiv City Council. The language issue united the session hall,” the head tells “Vechirnyi Kyiv”. Public Gennadiy Kryvosheya of the Council of the KMDA.
According to the chairman of the Civic Council, the Concept was written mainly (more than 80 percent) by representatives of civil society. That is, those people who constantly deal with the problem of mastering the Ukrainian language, worry about the operation of conversation clubs in the capital, monitor what language officials speak, and make sure that Ukrainization complies with current legislation.
“It is about “gentle Ukrainization”, not about imposition. For example, when a child goes to school, it is not a task to make him speak Ukrainian, if he communicated in another language before that. The goal is to give the child the necessary level of knowledge of his native language so that he can master school subjects. We should not pressure, but create conditions so that children and young people themselves are interested in switching to communication in Ukrainian,” says Hennadiy Kryvosheya.
However, despite the adoption of the Concept, a big problem remains — funding for the implementation of its measures has not yet been determined.
“An appropriate program must be approved. However, some measures envisaged by the Concept should be implemented now, without waiting for budget funds. You can attract grant or sponsorship funds or conduct events on a volunteer basis. And in the fall, when the new school year starts in schools, I would like to have a program that provides budget funding,” the head of the Civic Council emphasized.
As “Evening Kyiv” reported, a survey was conducted in the capital’s educational institutions regarding the Ukrainian language and the language environment of schoolchildren in everyday life. More than 25,000 students of grades 8-11 of general secondary education institutions of the capital took part in the survey.
According to the results of the survey, almost all students (95%) feel proud of their country. This figure doubled to 46% when compared to previous studies.
In general, the majority of students (76%) believe that Ukrainian should be the only state language in Ukraine. Respondents consider the Ukrainian language important because it unites Ukrainian society (67%).
86% of students note that most of their surroundings communicate in one way or another in the Ukrainian language.