Ukraine to impose restrictions on Russian books and music

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Two new laws in Ukraine aim to restrict books and music from Russian citizens.

The laws will prohibit the printing of books by Russians who held Russian citizenship after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Unless Russians give up their passports, their books will not be printed in Ukraine.

Laws prohibit companies from importing books printed in Russia, Belarus and Russian-controlled territory of Ukraine. They also need special permission to import Russian-language books from other countries.

An additional law would ban the music of post-1991 Russian citizens in Ukrainian media and in public places. There would also be quota increase the amount of Ukrainian language heard on TV and radio.

Ukrainian Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko said he was satisfied with the new laws. They still need to be signed by President Volodymyr Zelensky before coming into force.

The Ukrainian cabinet’s website quoted him as saying, “Laws are designed to help Ukrainians authors share quality content with the widest spectators.” He said Russian creative content would not be accepted in physical form due to the Russian invasion.

Even some Ukrainian lawmakers, whom the public sees as pro-Russian, supported the new laws.

Natalia Churikova, editor-in-chief of Radio Ukraine, is seen in her studio in Prague, Czech Republic, March 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

The new rules are part of a movement in Ukraine called “derussification”. This is the latest wave of cultural rupture with Russia that has occurred since the end of the Soviet period in 1991.

Some see the laws as part of a process over the years to remove the legacy domination by Russia. After the collapse of the USSR, there was “decommunization,” or the suppression of communist ideas and culture. Henceforth, “derussification” aims to undo the link with Russia and the policies that harm Ukrainian identity.

Support for this process grew after the 2014 invasion of Crimea and the separatist movement in eastern Ukraine. But since the February invasion, support for “derussification” has taken on new meaning.

A Soviet monument to friendship between Ukrainian and Russian nations is seen during its demolition, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in central Kyiv, Ukraine, April 26, 2022. (REUTERS /Gleb Garanich/File Photo)

A Soviet monument to friendship between Ukrainian and Russian nations is seen during its demolition, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in central Kyiv, Ukraine, April 26, 2022. (REUTERS /Gleb Garanich/File Photo)

In the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, hundreds of places need to be renamed to remove the connection to Russia. In April, a monument which celebrated the relations between the Ukrainian and Russian peoples of the Soviet period was torn down to the cheers of the crowd.

The government in Moscow does not agree with the process. Russian officials say Russian speakers in Ukraine, about 30% of the population, are forced to speak Ukrainian and are oppressed by Ukrainian politics.

I am Faith Pirlo.

Max Hunder wrote this article for Reuters. Faith Pirlo adapted it to learn English.

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words in this story

quota – nm a specific amount or number that should be reached or allowed

legacy not. something from someone in the past that affects the present

monument – nm a man-made building to mark an event or a memory

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