OSCE to study situation of ethnic Russians in Ukraine

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From: MINELRES moderator <minelres@mailbox.riga.lv>
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 19:24:27 +0200 (EET)
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Subject: OSCE to study situation of ethnic Russians in Ukraine

From: MINELRES moderator <minelres@mailbox.riga.lv>

Original sender: Felix Corley <fcorley@mail.ndirect.co.uk>

OSCE to study situation of ethnic Russians in Ukraine

The Associated Press

KYIV, June 26 - The Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe (OSCE) is investigating recent friction in Ukraine between
Ukrainians and the country's ethnic Russian minority, a senior
official said Monday.

Max van der Stoel, the OSCE's High Commissioner on National
Minorities, has been in Ukraine since June 19 on a fact-finding
mission, gathering documents for the organization.

He visited the cities of Odessa and Kharkiv and the Black Sea Crimean
peninsula, which are home to large communities of ethnic Russians and

Van der Stoel also visited the western city of Lviv, site of recent
tensions between nationalist-minded Ukrainians and Russian-speakers.

These frictions were provoked by the beating death of a Ukrainian
composer who protested against Russian pop music playing in a local
bar. Following the incident, angry nationalists demanded that Russian
music be virtually banned from the city and tried to push
corresponding legislation through the Lviv city council.

Neighboring Russia has repeatedly accused Ukraine of violating the
rights of ethnic Russians and Russian-speakers living in the former
Soviet republic. Ethnic Russians comprise about 20 percent of the
country's 50 million people and many Ukrainian citizens speak only

However, many Ukrainians say the Russian attacks are politically
motivated, and nationalists accuse Moscow of imperialist designs.

The government says there is no discrimination against Russians

"I have absolutely no grounds to think that the needs of the
Russian-speaking populace in Ukraine are being ignored," Deputy Prime
Minister Mykola Zhulinsky said Monday, according to Ukrainian media.

He cited Russian-language schools, theaters, universities and
newspapers, adding that the government was even concerned that the
Ukrainian language, relegated to secondary status in the Soviet era,
wasn't spreading fast enough.

Van der Stoel urged Ukraine to fully adhere to its own laws on
national minorities, but declined to say whether he noticed any
discrimination of ethnic Russians, Ukrainian media reports said.

Van der Stoel was due to leave Ukraine later Monday for Russia, where
he will look into the status of ethnic Ukrainians there, the Interfax
news agency reported.

- from Kyiv Post, 27 June 2000

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