"Language inspectors" to hunt down Russian in Ukraine under possible new law
In Ukraine in the near future, hefty fines for “neglecting linguistic standards” could be enforced. Among other offenses, translating proper names and the titles of government agencies into Russian will be charged.
In especially "malicious" cases, offenders will be prosecuted with criminal cases. For example, addressing President Poroshenko as “Petr Alekseevich” [the polite Russian form of addressing someone - JA] or naming the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs in Russian, even in a Russian text, will be criminal.
The corresponding bill No. 5670 is being studied by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (which would henceforth also have to be called by its Ukrainian appellation). This document was submitted on January 19th, 2017 by a group of deputies mainly from Western Ukraine and Kiev. Among its authors are the infamous Anna Gopko, Oksana Syroid, Semen Semenchenko, Andrey Teteruk, and others.
The aim of the new legislation is “developing the Ukrainian language as the language of the titular nation.” This bill would replace the existing law titled “On the Principles of State Language Policy.”
Defending the language of the “titular nation” would fall to a special commissioner and assistants, or language inspectors, consisting of around 30 linguists and jurists. These linguists and jurists would look into cases in which citizens are incapable of accessing services in the Ukrainian language.
In the case of “abuse of the Ukrainian language,” the Ministry of Internal Affairs is to be appealed. Any statement concerning the Ukrainian language considered to be disapproving of the latter could be interpreted as the desecration of state symbols and be criminally prosecuted.
Under “creating obstacles for the functioning of the Ukrainian language” could be considered even such things as a manager addressing a worker in Russian if it suddenly turns out that the worker himself wished to be addressed in Ukrainian. It would be enough to record the manager’s words and appeal to language inspectors.
It is presumed that violations of the state language law by officials would be punished with an administrative fine, a repeat offense including a nearly doubled fine and deprivation of the right to hold state office. For failure to fulfill the demands of a language inspector President Petro Poroshenko has repeatedly proposed measures for accelerating the spread of the Ukrainian language to consolidate “Ukrainian identity."