The city council decreed that Ukrainian would be used exclusively for teaching in public schools
Kyiv City Council on Thursday voted to remove the Russian language from the Ukrainian capital’s public school curriculum, citing national security concerns.
According to the statement on the council’s website, the ban also covers nursery schools.
Vadim Vasilchuk, chairman of the council’s commission on education, said the measure “will prevent an escalation of tensions in society and strengthen the protection of educational space in Kyiv from hybrid activities of the enemy state.”
“Language matters and in times of war it is a matter of national security”, Vasilchuk added. The lawmaker said all classes would be conducted in Ukrainian, the country’s only official language.
The move came after Alexey Danilov, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, last month described the Russian language as “an element of enemy propaganda” this “must completely disappear from Ukrainian territory.”
In August, Ukraine’s education ministry said almost all works by Russian and Belarusian authors would be removed from literature classes.
Ukrainian activists and officials have also demolished monuments to Alexander Pushkin, a Russian national poet and novelist, who lived in the 19th century. A bronze bust of Pushkin was removed from its pedestal in the northern city of Zhitomir on Friday, while a monument in kyiv was demolished last month.
The rights of the large Russian-speaking minority have been a hotly debated issue since Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
The Donetsk and Lugansk regions split from Ukraine in 2014, following the kyiv coup and following attempts by Ukrainian officials to restrict the use of Russian in public life. They formed the people’s republics of Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk (LPR).
Ukraine finally passed a set of laws that severely limit the use of Russian in public services, media and education.
Moscow has repeatedly accused Ukraine of discriminating against Russian speakers. In the days leading up to the Russian military operation in Ukraine launched in February, President Vladimir Putin said the Ukrainian authorities were pursuing policies of “derussification and forced assimilation”.
The DPR and LPR, along with two other former Ukrainian territories, joined Russia after holding referendums in late September.
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