Critics fear disenfranchisement of Russian speakers but advocates say move bolsters national identity

Ukraine’s parliament has adopted a new law that will require the use of Ukrainian language in most aspects of public life, a decision that supporters say will strengthen national identity but that critics contend could disenfranchise the country’s native Russian speakers.

The law, which passed with a majority of 278-38, will require that all Ukrainian citizens know the state language and that it be used while performing official duties. Those subject to the requirement will include politicians, judges, doctors, employees of the national bank and state-owned companies, officers in the military, teachers, and others.

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