President Vladimir Putin Warns Against Making An Issue Of Russian Language In Ukraine

Vladimir Putin has cautioned against making an issue out of the Russian language in Ukraine, noted participants in a meeting with the president in the Kremlin - representatives of public organisations of Russia's ethnic Ukrainians. Well-known satirist Mikhail Zhvanetsky, in particular, noted with satisfaction that at the meeting Putin had come out against "playing up the problem of the Russian language". In Zhvanetsky's opinion, one need not "shout" about this problem, but let it be decided by "life itself". As the satirist said, in Odessa, the city he was born in, the executive committee, for example, decided to consider Russian an official language in the city. People's Artist of the USSR Vasily Lanovoi noted that after the break-up of the USSR it took us "ten years to begin to understand that we are of the same blood and we feel ill without each other". The days have come when we should "listen to Russian and Ukrainian songs and speak on radio and television about what unites us," he said. In the view of Vladimir Seminozhenko, vice-premier of the Ukrainian government, Ukraine's position on the Russian language is "not to make abrupt gestures and aggravate" the far from simple relations in this field. He noted that sometimes attempts are made "to speed up" the solution of this problem bypassing existing legislation. Pyotr Simonenko, chairman of the Communist Party of Ukraine and deputy to the Supreme Rada (parliament), said that the Communist faction in the parliament has repeatedly called for adopting a law making the Russian language the second official language in Ukraine. In his opinion, adoption of such a law would "remove the problem" of Ukrainisation of Ukraine.

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