Culture with no barriers
On September 19, 2018, Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine Roman Waschuk strongly criticized a ban on Russian-language cultural products introduced in Lviv by the regional council the day earlier.
“As a diasporic native speaker of Ukrainian,” the Canadian Ambassador stated in his tweet that the restriction “as formulated” was “narrow-minded, discriminatory and just plain dumb.” He was supported by British Ambassador to Ukraine Judith Gough who tweeted that the Lviv region was “better than this.” Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul also joined his diplomatic colleagues via Twitter, calling this local decision unjustifiable.
“I hope authorities in Lviv will reconsider and I hope advocates for democracy in Kyiv and elsewhere in Ukraine will also speak out.”
On September 18, 2018, the Lviv’s regional council adopted a new law introducing a moratorium on the public use of Russian-language cultural products in the respective region, with 57 out of 84 members voting for the motion. According to the document published on the council’s website, it aims to “avoid the escalation of tension in society and prevent the incitement of ethnic hatred,” as well as to “protect the Ukrainian information space from the hybrid influences of the aggressor-state and overcome the consequences of prolonged linguistic Russification.” The restriction is meant to be effective “until the complete termination of the occupation of the Ukrainian territory.” Meanwhile, the law lacks specifications on the issue of its implementation and does not contain a definition of a cultural product. At the same time, Lviv’s regional council intends to present a petition to the Ukrainian Parliament for extending this moratorium for the entire country.