Oleg Okhredko: Ukrainian language is disappearing rapidly in Crimea

The motive of the national is the spirit, and the existence of the spirit is the language.
William Humboldt

Since 2000, the world has been celebrating the International Mother Language Day, or International Mother Language Day, every year since February 21st.

However, this is not a festive mood for everyone – for thousands of Ukrainians in the temporarily occupied Crimea, it is a day of resistance, a day of struggle.

This is understood by Russian invaders, trying to uproot and root the Ukrainian language, as it did centuries ago. And if in the life of a flourishing language lives, then in the official field – here. Despite the occupation documents (the Constitution of the annexed peninsula provides for three languages ​​- Ukrainian, Crimean Tatar and Russian), the Ukrainian language is rapidly disappearing. This is especially true in the field of education.

According to the United Nations, “in Crimea, the number of students in Ukrainian-speaking classes has fallen sharply from 12,694 children in 2014 to 318 children in 2018.” Notwithstanding the decision of the United Nations International Court of Justice on April 19, 2017, which obliged Russia to make education available in Ukrainian, the occupying power continues to destroy the education system for the Ukrainian-speaking population.

The number of children who study in the Ukrainian language cannot be traced because statistical information is practically absent and it is practically impossible to verify it.

Thus, despite the fact that the occupying Ministry of Education of Crimea specifies the school # 20 in Feodosiya in Ukrainian, the teaching there is mostly Russian. In addition, there are no Ukrainian-language Russian-language textbooks on the annexed peninsula (we will leave the content of such textbooks for now).

And even the ministerial statistics of the invaders indicate a rapid decrease in the number of students studying in Ukrainian:

A) the invaders indicate that more than 10,000 students study in the Ukrainian language in full and optional, although it is not possible to verify this, but in this area the number has decreased by 2,300 children in the year (more than 18%)

Number of students studying Ukrainian in Crimea

Number of students studying Ukrainian in Crimea

Number of students studying Ukrainian in Crimea

B) As in the previous year, in the temporarily occupied Crimea, there is one school with the Ukrainian language of education (the so-called education takes place in grades 1-9, and grades 10 – 11 only in Russian). And the number of schools in which classes with the Ukrainian language of instruction decreased from 2.5 times – from 12 to 5 (the number of classes decreased from 19 to 8), the number of children enrolled in these classes decreased from 239 to 105).

Number of students studying Ukrainian in Crimea

Number of students studying Ukrainian in Crimea

To sum up, it should be noted that the Ukrainian language was and is the language of resistance!

2017/2018 n. years 2018/2019 n. years
Total students in the temporarily occupied Crimea 193 thousand 200 thousand
Crimean Tatar language 19254 27700
schools with Crimean Tatar language of education 15 15
classes 201 224
students 3651 4258
schools with Russian language education 37 27
classes 137 126
students 1730 1834
5381 (3%) 6092 (3.1%)
Ukrainian language 12892 10600
schools with Ukrainian language education 1 1
classes 9 9
students 132 144
schools with Russian language education 12 5
classes 19 8
students 239 105
371 (0.2%) 249 (0.12%)

Information from the website of the Ministry of Education, Science and Youth of the temporarily occupied Crimea (as of January 31, 2019).

Oleg OkhredkoAuthor: Oleg Okhredko , expert, analyst at the Almenda Civic Education Center.

Link to the source of information