Language is part of Moscow’s propaganda, says security chief Alexey Danilov
The Russian language should be eradicated in Ukraine as it would be used by Moscow as a tool to exert influence over Ukrainians, one of the country’s top security officials has claimed.
The Russian language is nothing but a “element of enemy propaganda and brainwashing of our people,” Alexey Danilov, the head of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, said Friday during the program “Big Lviv Talks”.
The official also spoke out in favor of Ukrainians learning English.
According to Danilov, the very idea that Ukrainians should understand the Russian language is a “dangerous story.”
“Look, we don’t want nothing from them [Russians]. Why don’t they leave us alone? Let them go to their swamps and croak in the Russian language,” he stated.
The senior official went on to criticize experts and pundits who speak Russian during their appearances on Ukrainian television.
According to the 2001 census, approximately 14.3 million Ukrainians (29% of the population) speak Russian as their first language. Some other estimates place this number even higher.
The language is particularly prevalent in the eastern and southern regions of the country. Since the Maidan coup in 2014, Moscow has repeatedly accused the Ukrainian government of systematically discriminating against Russian speakers.
Perceived violations of language minority rights were also cited by secessionist movements in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, parts of which became the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk respectively.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently warned his country against the example of those who engage in “cancel culture”. Speaking at a press conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, he noted that about three million Ukrainians permanently reside in Russia.
“How to prohibit their language and their culture? We don’t have anything like that in mind.” Putin added.
Commenting on reports of a man being fined in Moscow for listening to Ukrainian music in his car, the president said attempts to ban the Ukrainian language in Russia were “illegal in itself.”