[Marxism] Crimea

Joseph Green jgreen at communistvoice.org
Sun Nov 30 22:09:14 MST 2014

Roger Annis wrote:

> Ukraine´s constitution does not recognize
> a Tatar nationality.

Oh really? Only in a one-sided reading. In reality, the Ukrainian and Crimean 
Constitutons recognized the existence of national minorities or ethnic 
groups, and provided certain guarantees for their languages. In the 
translations I am looking at this moment, the Crimean Constitution refers to 
ethnic groups, and that of the Ukrainian Constitution refers to national 
minorities, although without naming them. 

Crimea was officially an "autonomous republic" in Ukraine and had a 
constitution. The article 10 of the constitution of this republic stated, 
with respect to the Ukrainian, Russian and Crimean Tatar languages: 

"Article 10.Securing Application and Development of Official Language 
[Ukrainian--JG], Russian, 
Crimean Tatar and Other Ethnic Groups´ Languages in the Autonomous Republic 
of Crimea
 "1. In the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, alongside with the official 
language, the application and development, use and protection of Russian, 
Crimean Tatar and other ethnic groups´ languages shall be secured.
 "2. In the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Russian, being the language spoken 
by the majority of population and the language acceptable for purposes of 
interethnic communication, shall be used in all spheres of public life. 
 "3. In the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, citizens shall be guaranteed the 
right to be educated in their native language at children´s preschool 
establishments, to learn the native language, to be taught in the native 
language at educational establishments of state, republican and/or municipal 
form of ownership or through ethnic cultural societies or in accordance with 
the procedure established by Ukrainian legislation and the statutory acts of 
the Supreme Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea within its terms of 

> Poroshenko has recently announced
> that multilingual Ukraine will become an officially unilingual country.  In
> other words, the controversial measure to that effect that was proposed then withdrawn
> last March is now back on the order paper.

It's a nationalist error that Ukraine has only one "official" language. But 
this has occurred simultaneously with a recognition of other languages. The 
various versions of the constitution of Ukraine since independence have given 
guarantees to Russian and other languages. The national constitution states 
the following (note also that its reference to other national minorities is, 
among other things, a reference to the Crimean Tatars):

"Article 10:

 "The state language of Ukraine is the Ukrainian language.

 "The State ensures the comprehensive development and functioning of the 
Ukrainian language in all spheres of social life throughout the entire 
territory of Ukraine.

 "In Ukraine, the free development, use and protection of Russian, and other 
languages of national minorities of Ukraine, is guaranteed.

 "The State promotes the learning of languages of international 

 "The use of languages in Ukraine is guaranteed by the Constitution of 
Ukraine and is determined by law." 

 From Article 53:
"Citizens who belong to national minorities are guaranteed in accordance with 
the law the right to receive instruction in their native language, or to 
study their native language in state and communal educational establishments 
and through national cultural societies."


Of course, one has to know what went on in practice as well as the formal 
guarantees. But this cuts both ways. One shouldn't just jump up and down 
about the official language and declare that Ukraine is about to eliminate 
Russian. That's hardly credible.

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