03:18 GMT +310 December 2018
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    Crimean authorities discriminating Russian language

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    MOSCOW, June 1 (RIA Novosti) - The refusal of authorities of the Crimean autonomy (Ukraine) to distribute official information in Russian contradicts the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, said State Duma (the lower house of the Russian parliament) deputy Konstantin Zatulin.

    "This is a direct violation of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. The charter allows to use, for instance, the Russian language alongside with the official Ukrainian language in the regions with the dominating Russian population," he said. "Crimean residents may seek protection of their interests in European institutions."

    "Everyone, including Ukrainians and Tatars, speaks Russian in the Crimea. In the 1990s, three language were used in the Crimea - Russian, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar," Zatulin said.

    Ukrainian politicians allege that Russian can be used in the regions dominated by Russian speakers, however, this is nothing but pre-election doublespeak, he said.

    "Ukraine keeps telling us tales about Russian to calm us down. However, the Russian language and education is being discriminated in many regions, particularly, Western Ukraine," the deputy added.

    According to him, the decision to cancel information spread in Russian is a result of Anatoly Matviyenko's appointment to the post of the autonomy's head after the orange revolution.

    "The Crimean elite hoped that Matviyenko was not the worst case and would be ready for compromise but they were wrong. Matviyenko is the leader of the Sobor nationalist party which formed an alliance with the bloc of incumbent Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko," Zatulin said.

    The elections to the Crimean Supreme Council and the Ukrainian Supreme Rada will be held in March 2006. "The discrimination of Russian will cause general nervousness and Crimeans will not vote as they are expected to do," Zatulin concluded.

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