Archive for April 22nd, 2012

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Ukraine’s European Charter for Regional or Minority languages budget

April 22, 2012

It’s Sunday.  I don’t want to rant.  It seems I have ranted for most of the week and I only write about one topical and current Ukrainian issue each day.  I can assure you there is much more than one Ukrainian issue to rant about each day, but I try to bump my gums about those things that don’t necessarily get reported on by the media as much as they could or should be.

After all, if you want to read the standard media agenda for Ukraine when it comes to reporting, you would read the standard media regurgitation from any number of sources main stream sources.  That generally, like the politics here, is personality driven with hardly a mention of policy unless it is an after-thought.

When you do get “experts” commentating it is to state the blindingly obvious that in no way requires any qualifications in political science, economics or  anything more than common sense.  Recently an “expert” stated the electricity prices in Ukraine will begin to rise towards the end of the year.

Well, no shit Sherlock!  Ukrainians pay an electric bill equivalent to about 26% of the cost to generate the said electricity.  Of course it has to rise as the government cannot afford to continue to subsidise it to that extent.  However prices are not going to rise before the next election in October for political reasons and is will make sense to incorporate any rises in the 2013 budget rather than the last few months of 2012.  Does it take an “expert” to state the obvious?

Anyway, returning to the subject of the post, we all know about the “language issue” in Ukraine which (wrongly) is simply seen as Ukrainian verses Russian by those looking to score political points given the very large Russian speaking minority.  The fact is, Ukraine recognises far more ethnic minorities and minority languages than Russian and those languages are protected by not only by the Constitution but also by Ukraine’s ratification of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages many years ago.

Russian simply happens to be one of those languages recognised and due to the volume of Russian speakers, not to mention the usual meddling and propaganda from  Moscow, it creates a political (and when stirred by the politicians), and public issue.

When all is said and done, however, the official State language for Ukraine is Ukrainian.  People will speak what language they want to regardless of that fact, just as they Welsh will speak English or Welsh as they prefer.  The Swiss and the Belgians do the same amongst the multiple languages used in those nations.  It really shouldn’t be the big deal that it all too often becomes given that numerous nations have numerous languages used within them around Europe.

So, returning to the title of this post, and the budget allocated by the Ukrainian government in support of regional and minority language (and culture) in the national budget in accordance with the European Charter, just what sum of money has been allocated?

The answer is here.  UAH 1.7 million ($212,500) for the numerous minority languages and UAH 964,000 ($120,500) for minority cultural development.  A grand total of $330,000.

Unfortunately English isn’t a recognised regional or minority language in Ukraine, otherwise this blog (and my others) may well attract something in the region of about $3 in governmental development aid from such a massive budget.

If you are wondering which languages Ukraine does list with the ECRML, they are Belorussian, Bulgarian, Crimean Tartar, Gagauz, Greek, German, Hungarian, Jewish, Yiddish, Moldavian, Polish, Romanian, Russian and Slovakian.

I am not sure whether to give credit for the recognition of Ukraine’s responsibilities under the ECRML and doing something, however small, to adhere to those responsibilities in austere and gloomy economic times, or whether to ridicule the sums involved which may just (if you are lucky) meet the cost to purchase a reasonable apartment near the sea in Odessa.

Oh well, it’s Sunday and I don’t want to rant.  Time for some locally made Cognac and a nice cigar.  Tomorrow’s another day and my new kitchen is getting delivered.  That’ll give me something to rant about I’m sure!

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