The two laws in Ukraine against Russian music and books

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The Ukrainian parliament passed two laws introducing strict restrictions on the distribution and reproduction of Russian music and books in the country, in an attempt to break the residual cultural ties between Ukraine and Russia. A law prohibits the printing of books by authors who retained Russian citizenship after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, unless they renounce their passport and acquire Ukrainian citizenship; the other prohibits the reproduction of music by Russian artists – again post-Soviet – on Ukrainian media and public transport, simultaneously increasing Ukrainian-speaking programs and music on radio and TV.

The book law also blocks the importation of Russian books printed in Russia, Belarus or the Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories. The two laws will have to be signed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to enter into force: but it seems to be a formality, given the broad and cross-sector support they have received from parliament.

Ukrainian Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko said he was satisfied with the new restrictions: “These laws are designed to help Ukrainian authors to share quality content with the widest possible audience, which after the Russian invasion fails. more to accept on a physical level no Russian creative product ». The vice president of parliament, Olega Kondratyuk, wrote on Facebook that “from January 1, 2023, books will be published and distributed only in the Ukrainian state language, in the languages ​​of the indigenous peoples of Ukraine and in the official languages ​​of the European Union” .

The laws passed by the parliament are the latest example of a process that until recently in Ukraine was called “de-communization” and which is now, more and more often, more explicitly called “derussification”. In 2019, a law was passed that required civil servants to know Ukrainian (Russian is also spoken in Ukraine, and in some areas Russian is considered the first language); and in the last few weeks, after the invasion began, many Ukrainian localities had decided to change their names to remove any reference to their ties with Russia.

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