Donetsk, Jul 22 - DAN. The discrimination against the Russian-speaking population in Ukraine is raising increasing concerns, chairwoman of the DPR parliament committee on criminal and administrative legislation Yelena Shishkina told the Donetsk News Agency on Thursday, in comments on Russia’s lodging its first ever complaint with the European Court of Human Rights against another country, Ukraine.

On Thursday, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office said that the complaint covered ten basic categories of violations such as Kiev’s responsibility for civilian casualties, illegal deprivation of freedom and cruel treatment, including in Donbass, suppressing the freedom of expression and persecution of dissenters, discrimination against Russian-speaking population, depriving DPR and LPR citizens of the opportunity to participate in the elections to key government bodies etc.

“The discrimination against Russian-speaking population in Ukraine raises increasing concerns, especially with respect to enjoyment of language and education rights. The situation is admissible when the protection of the state language goes along with repressions against ethnic minorities. The UN Human Rights Council and its special procedures keep silent about the outrageous violations of rights of millions of people,” she said.

The parliamentarian reminded that in September 2020, Ukraine launched the process of forcing the national minorities’ languages out of the public and education spheres in accordance with the law on education. The Russian language which is native to 30 to 50 percent of the country’s population was subjected to special discrimination, as Kiev provided special preferences for EU languages. As a result, the opportunities to get secondary education in Russian decreased in Ukraine by more than 80 percent.

“Russia has supported and will continue to support Russian-speaking citizens living in Ukraine,” said Shishkina in connection with Russia’s forwarding the complaint to the ECHR. “We’ll do everything to protect the rights of the Russian-speaking community (in Ukraine) <...> defend such priorities as fighting the discrimination against linguistic and religious minorities. We’ll put in maximum effort to make sure that human rights be viewed as the factor that contribute to rapprochement, not disunity.”

In February 2017, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics adopted a program to support compatriots living in the Kiev-controlled territory of Donbass. Its objective is to strengthen cultural, humanitarian and professional ties and provide social and public services in education, welfare, culture, science and even sport. The DPR announced at the Russian Donbass forum in January 2021 that the program would cover all Ukrainian regions.*jk