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Zelensky signs law banning import and distribution of Russian books

by Martin Fornusek June 22, 2023 2:39 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky during a press briefing in Kyiv on June 2, 2023. (Photo: President's Office)
President Volodymyr Zelensky during a press briefing in Kyiv on June 2, 2023. (Photo: President's Office)
This audio is created with AI assistance

President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on June 22 that he signed the law banning the import and distribution of books from Russia and Belarus, adopted last year by the parliament.

"I signed the Law 'On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine Regarding the Establishment of Restrictions on the Import and Distribution of Publishing Products Concerning the Aggressor State, the Republic of Belarus, and the Temporarily Occupied Territory of Ukraine," Zelensky wrote on Telegram.

The text was also sent to the EU to assess whether the law infringes on minority and language rights, he added.

The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, adopted the bill banning books published in Russia, Belarus, or the occupied territories of Ukraine in June 2022. The legislation still required a presidential signature.

Ukrainian cultural figures requested Zelensky to provide his signature, arguing the law will support domestic publishing and free the information space from Russian influence.

In May 2023, a petition was launched asking for an immediate signing of the bill, gathering over 26,000 signatures.

Zelensky initially responded to the petition by mentioning concerns of the Justice Ministry that the bill may violate certain articles of the Constitution. The Foreign Ministry warned that it does not comply with the EU norms on human rights.

Both ministries asked the president to veto the law, Zelensky said.

Kate Tsurkan: Elizabeth Gilbert’s Russia novel and the boundaries of art in wartime
American author Elizabeth Gilbert ignited a heated online debate when she decided to postpone the release of her new novel, “The Snow Forest,” which is set in Russia. Many Ukrainians (and not only) thought that it was insensitive for a bestselling author to choose Russia as the backdrop to their
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