Chairman of the Constitutional Court Valery Zorkin said at the St. Petersburg Legal Forumthat Russians living in Ukraine were deprived of guarantees of national identity and the right to use their native language. RIA Novosti reports:
“President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin, leaving Crimea and regions with Russian population to Ukraine, deprived 12 million Russian people of legal guarantees, said Valery Zorkin, chairman of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, at the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum.
“In Belovezhya, when the USSR was dissolved, Boris Yeltsin left behind Ukraine both the Crimea, and the legendary Sevastopol (the 'diamond of Russian military prowess'), and several regions, in fact Russian both in population and in history. That is, up to 12 million Russian people were left without any legal guarantees of their national and cultural identity and, as it turned out later, were deprived of the right to their native language by the Nazi regime, ”said Zorkin.”
In fact, the Constitution of Crimea as part of Ukraine contained guarantees for the rights of residents to use their native language. Article 10 stated:
"one. In the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, along with the state language, the functioning and development, use and protection of Russian, Crimean Tatar, as well as languages of other nationalities is ensured.
2. In the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the Russian language, as the language of the majority of the population and acceptable for international communication, is used in all spheres of public life.
3. In the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, citizens are guaranteed the right to education in their native language in preschool institutions, to learn their native language, to study in their native language in educational institutions of state, republican and communal forms of ownership or through national cultural societies or in the manner determined by the legislation of Ukraine and regulatory -legal acts of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea within its competence”.
Further articles consolidated the use of the Russian language in documents certifying the status of a citizen, legal proceedings, notarial proceedings, the work of the post and telegraph, service enterprises, and so on.
In Donetsk and Lugansk regions, the Russian language officially received the status of a regional language in 2012. The 2012 law providing for this status was only repealed in 2018, in the context of a hybrid war unleashed by Russia against Ukraine. Before the adoption of the new law on the state language, education in more than half of the schools in these two regions was conducted in Russian, although the number of Ukrainian schools gradually increased.
In the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" in 2020, Russian was recognized as the only state language, although it is spoken mainly in cities; The predominantly Ukrainian -speaking rural population of these territories turned out to be deprived of those same “legal guarantees of national and cultural identity,” but for some reason Zorkin is not worried about this.