During the last two years the Ukrainian government has been making continuous steps to suppress everything that is truly Ukrainian in Ukraine – language, history, culture.

Last summer the Parliament adopted a law which exempts a person from learning and knowing the official (Ukrainian) language. As a result, in the streets there appeared more advertisements in Russian and fewer in Ukrainian. When the EU delegation headed by Stefan Fule met the Ukrainian government in Kyiv on February 7, the meeting was translated into Russian and English. There was no translation into Ukrainian. “Have we come to the wrong country?” – remarked one of the guests ironically.

From the National Evaluation Tests, annually conducted for high school graduates, there have been eliminated the events of the Ukrainian history which bear evidence of the Ukrainians’ struggle for their independence. Instead, there have been added “heroes” and “developments” that show Russia’s “positive” influence on Ukraine.

On February 5, my transistor radio got silent on the 72.8 FM band, which had been a channel of the Ukrainian radio  KULTURA. As it turned out, all (!) the three radio channels of state broadcasting in the Ukrainian language had been closed down. The euphemistic explanation was that the channels were stopped only “on the air” (due to less financing), but they could be accessed on the Internet (?!). It’s as if it were announced that Pushkin’s “Eugene Onegin” wouldn’t be published as a book, but it would only exist as Chaikovsky’s opera based on the book. How’s that? Radio and the Internet may complement each other but they are no substitution for each other.

2013-02-12Protest-2There followed protests. A tough statement was made by the Ukrainian Center of the International PEN Club. Also, hundreds of people came to the Cabinet of Ministers yesterday demanding that the channels be opened.

This morning I turned my radio on. I couldn’t believe my ears: Radio KULTURA was on the air again! That made my day! I was on top of the world.

After a few minutes, bringing the news on the hour, the same Radio KULTURA started singing (in a disgustingly saccharine voice) praises to the Ukrainian government saying how good and responsive the government was to have efficiently renewed the broadcasting 🙂


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