On 18 September, regional councillors in the Ukrainian city of Lviv banned all Russian-language cultural products such as books, films and songs, reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
The open-ended moratorium, which aims to “overcome the consequences of prolonged linguistic Russification”, will remain in place until Russia’s “occupation of Ukrainian territories comes to an end”, referring to the contested area of Crimea.
AFP reported the decision will affect cafes, restaurants and any public transport playing Russian-language music, as well as books, films and public readings. The moratorium does not as yet “specify any time limits or the mechanism of implementation and punishment”.
The move was heavily criticised by Western diplomats, including the Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine Roman Waschuk, who tweeted, “The Lviv oblast ban as formulated is narrow-minded, discriminatory and #justplaindumb. And I say this as a diasporic native speaker of Ukrainian, and consistent advocate of affirmative action for cultural products in that language – but also #diversity”.
British Ambassador to Ukraine Judith Gough tweeted, “C’mon Lviv oblast, you’re better than this… (And I say this as a fan/student of both the Ukrainian and Russian languages) #tolerance #diversity”.