President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has signed two legal guidelines that strictly reinforce his nation’s nationwide identification, banning Russian place names and making information of Ukrainian language and historical past a requirement for citizenship.
The strikes late Friday have been Ukraine’s newest steps to distance itself from an extended legacy of Russian domination, an more and more emotional topic since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine started final 12 months.
Already, numerous streets throughout Ukraine have been renamed and statues of Russian figures like Catherine the Nice have come toppling down. Whereas such efforts to clean away previous Russian names have been happening because the fall of the Soviet Union, they’ve picked up tempo because the conflict started in February 2022. in a course of referred to as “de-Russification.”
A brand new regulation that Mr. Zelensky signed on Friday prohibits utilizing place names that “perpetuate, promote or symbolize the occupying state or its notable, memorable, historic and cultural locations, cities, dates, occasions,” and “its figures who carried out navy aggression in opposition to Ukraine.”
Vakhtang Kebuladze, a philosophy professor on the Taras Shevhchenko Nationwide College in Kyiv, stated it was about time. He, like many different Ukrainian intellectuals, helps the erasing of Russian names, even these of nice writers like Leo Tolstoy.
“It’s not about literature,” Mr. Kebuladze stated on Saturday. “It’s in regards to the imperialistic presence of Russia in our streets and our cities.”
“We must always learn Tolstoy, we should always examine his literature. However why do we have to have a Leo Tolstoy Road within the middle of Kyiv?” he added.
(In March, Kyiv modified Leo Tolstoy Road to Hetman Pavlo Skoropadskyi Road, after a Ukrainian chief from the early twentieth century.)
Mr. Kebuladze additionally welcomed the brand new citizenship regulation signed by Mr. Zelensky on Friday that requires information of Ukrainian language and historical past.
Many Ukrainian residents are native Russian audio system — together with Mr. Zelensky. An estimated one in each three Ukrainians speaks Russian at dwelling, based on researchers, however lots of them — outraged by the violence of Russia’s invasion — have been switching to Ukrainian as a present of defiance.
However Mr. Kebuladze, who speaks Ukrainian, Russian and Georgian, stated it was OK for individuals to proceed to talk what they need at dwelling.
“It’s not about non-public language,” Mr. Kebuladze stated.
“We’ve got just one state language, Ukrainian,” he added. “And if individuals need to turn into residents, they need to know this language. It’s a part of our identification, our tradition, our historical past.”