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24 October 2022

In the middle of the war, the Language Commissioner has his hands full fighting off language threats on the home front. Since the start of 2022 thousands of complaints have been filed about the use of unauthorized languages in public discourse. 

As the army is beating back the Russian invaders in the trenches, other Ukrainians are doing their bit for the victory on the home front.


Take the Language Commissioner, whose job is to enforce provisions of a 2019 law regulating the use of languages. Recently he gave an update on compliance with the law’s provisions on the use of languages in advertising and public notices. 

The Commissioner reminded that, under the law, all advertising and public notices must be in the state (Ukrainian) language, subject to a number of permitted exceptions. Thus, in specified circumstances, it may be lawful to use in advertising languages of the EU countries, as well as the Crimean Tatar language.

The Commissioner indicated still persisting numerous violations of the rule even though it has been in effect since January 2020.


Thus, in the first nine months of 2022 the Commissioner received 2,177 complaints of concerned individuals on the law’s violations. Of those 17.8% related to the use of unauthorized languages in outside advertising, billboards, signs and notices. Those were taken down after the Commissioner contacted the local authorities with relevant requests.

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