As part of the program to support and develop multilingualism and cultural diversity, the Day of the Russian language is celebrated annually by the United Nations countries on June 6, which coincides with the birthday of a distinguished Russian poet Alexander Pushkin.
Russian is one of the UN official languages; it is the most widely spoken language in Europe, and one of the most popular languages in the world – in the top ten by the number of speakers. There are more than 150 million Russian-speaking people in the world and another 100 million speak Russian as a second language. Interestingly, it is mandatory for astronauts who are going to work on the International Space Station to learn the Russian language.
Under the Decree of the Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic of 29 May 2015 No. 226, in order to preserve, support and develop the Russian language as the national heritage of all peoples in the post-Soviet area, the means of international communication and an integral part of the cultural and spiritual heritage of world civilization the Russian Language Day is celebrated in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
The Russian language is sacred for every citizen of the Republic. It plays an important part as a unifying factor for the residents of Donbass and the fraternal peoples of the Russian world. Preservation the national-cultural identity and historical memory became the foundation of the protest movement, which expressed disagreement with the criminal regime in Ukraine, which came to power as a result of coup d’etat in 2014 under the banner of far-right radical groups.
Armed aggression unleashed against Donbass residents, persecution of those who disagree with the hatred-based and discriminatory policies of the authorities, the creeping encroachment on the rights and freedoms of Russian-speaking citizens – to name but a few unlawful actions of official Kiev aimed at eradicating everything Russian. Thus, the adoption of the law “On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language” has caused a lot of discussions within the country and on the world stage regarding infringement of the rights of national and linguistic minorities, which are guaranteed by the Constitution and the current legislation of Ukraine, the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and other binding international treaties that have been signed, including the Minsk agreements.
The development and support of a mother tongue must not be implemented through coercive measures and threats, but through popularization, cultural development and international cooperation based on the principles of equality and justice. In the Donetsk People’s Republic, this field is given special attention: creative, educational and awareness-raising events are held, youth projects and initiatives of intellectuals are supported, extensive work is being carried out as part of the integration program with the Russian Federation. In order to preserve and develop the Russian language as a fundamental element of the culture of Donbass, the year 2019 has been declared the Year of the Russian Language in the Donetsk People’s Republic.