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Ukraine's parliament supports draft law making English official language of international communication

by Elsa Court November 22, 2023 1:32 PM 2 min read
The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, during a session on Oct. 19, 2023. (Iryna Herashchenko/Telegram)
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Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, supported the draft law on the status of the English language in Ukraine in its first reading, MP Yaroslav Zhelezniak reported on Telegram on Nov. 22.

If passed in the second reading and approved by the president, the law would establish English as an official language ​​of international communication in Ukraine.

This would require many of those working in the public sector, such as those working in healthcare, transport, education, or the emergency services, as well as civil servants and public officials, to speak English.  

The vote on the draft law saw 278 lawmakers voting in favor, with none voting against. There were five abstentions, and 37 lawmakers did not vote.

The parliamentary committee did, however, exclude a part of the draft law that envisaged the end of dubbing films in the Ukrainian language.

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.  

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