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Ukraine's parliament in Kyiv on Jan. 1, 2012. (Prisma/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
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Ukraine's parliament passed a law on June 4 establishing English as a language of international communication, lawmaker Yaroslav Zhelezniak said.

The law also defines specific positions that require knowledge of English, and establishes protocols for the usage of English in various government and public sector offices. It also added an amendment to provide budgetary support for movie theaters that show English-language films.

The law passed with 236 lawmakers in support and three voting against the measure.

The draft law was first passed in November 2023 and excluded a controversial amendment that would have ended the common practice of dubbing English-language films into Ukrainian.

This clause, which required all English-language films in Ukrainian cinemas to be shown in English with Ukrainian subtitles by 2027, became the focus of a petition over the summer.

"Dubbing has long become a separate cultural phenomenon" that contributes to the popularity of the Ukrainian language in Ukraine, the petition said.

Showing films in their original language with subtitles could result in "a noticeable decrease in the number of viewers in cinemas," the destruction of the Ukrainian dubbing industry, and an increase in viewers watching "movies on pirate sites in Russian," the petition said.

Now that the clause has been removed from the draft law, those who advocated for the preservation of dubbing can "rest easy," Zhelezniak said.

A study conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) in March 2023 found that 51% of respondents said they had some knowledge of English, but only 23% said they could read, write, and communicate at everyday levels.

The survey also found that an overwhelming majority (93%) of parents with children under the age of 18 wanted their children to improve their level of English. Another 51% of parents said their children were learning English in school, and 27% said they were learning in school and had additional time spent outside of school.

Polish was the second most common foreign language reported, with 22% of respondents saying they had some level of knowledge, followed by German at 14%. The Russian language was not included in the survey.

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