Language law: Ukrainians complain over violations in service sector, ombudsman says

18:00, 23.01.21 – UNIAN

The largest number of complaints were sent from the capital city of Kyiv and Kyiv region.

Ukrainian Language Ombudsman Taras Kremin says 195 complaints and appeals have been registered since the law on the obligatory use of the Ukrainian language in the service sector came into force.

“Exactly a week ago, on January 16, Article 30 of the Law of Ukraine on ensuring the functioning of Ukrainian as the official language came into force. During these days, the Secretariat of the Commissioner for the Protection of the State Language received 195 complaints and appeals from citizens, the largest number of which were from the capital city of Kyiv and Kyiv region (74), the smallest – from the south and east of Ukraine. Lviv residents sent 17 applications, residents of Odesa and Kharkiv – 12 each,” he wrote on Facebook.

According to Kremin, most, or 117, complaints related to the absence of the Ukrainian version of the websites of online publications and online stores.

“Some 34 Ukrainians declared about the violation of their rights in the service sector, 25 about outdoor advertising in a non-state language, four violations of the language legislation in the field of education, and three violations over the use of a non-state language by officials,” Kremin said.

The ombudsman added over the past week about 50 people had called the Secretariat’s hot line to provide additional information.

Language law: Background

  • On January 16, 2021, the provisions of the law on the obligatory use of the Ukrainian language in the consumer services industry came into force.
  • Article 30 of the Law of Ukraine on ensuring the functioning of Ukrainian as the official language stipulates that all service providers, regardless of their form of ownership, shall serve consumers and provide information about goods and services in Ukrainian.
  • On April 25, 2019, the language bill, which suggests the gradual implementation of its provisions, was passed by the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament.


  1. I’m sorry, but to me, this law is dumb and useless. With Ukrainian taught in schools, the Russian language will eventually fall to the wayside all by itself. People of the Soviet-era are dying off, leaving the stage for the new Ukraine. Besides, the employees are expected to speak Ukrainian but even the president does not know how. Isn’t it a wee bit unfair and disingenuous? It would be far better to pass laws against pro-Ruskie (Pew-tinism) media and politicians and to concentrate on the fight against corruption and to really enforce such laws. This language law is just a facade. While trying to say, “We are Ukrainian and are propagating our culture.” it really is another cheap way of veiling the true essence of the government, that of ineptness, corruption and pro-Ruskienism. Many will fall for this ruse.

    • This law was finally passed near the end of the Poroshenko term. I agree with what you say but it really doesn’t make sense to speak Russian in Ukraine. Especially when Putin has made it an issue and it is part of ruSSification. I’ve always felt betrayal and mild anger when I hear the Moskali tongue in the home of the Kyrivan Rus and I’m not even Ukrainian. :)) Ever been to a shop in San Diego or Phoenix and the person at the counter tells you “No espeake Engles.”?

      • Of course, you are right. But, to force this law upon the people is lame. Russian will go the way of the Dodo bird all on its own. The lawmakers should make more sensible laws and not waste time with such trivial things. I know several Ukrainians who can only speak Russian. That is a reality for many. They feel discriminated against, even though they are 100% Ukrainian. What about them?

        • I believe they can still use Russian but the service industry has to make sure Ukrainian language is available like with menus, directions, etc. I’m sure they can speak Russian at home or on the street but I believe the law is to help the service industry ensure Ukrainian is available.

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