Yushchenko Demands Ukrainian Translations For All Foreign Films

KIEV, Ukraine -- President Viktor Yushchenko said Tuesday that all foreign movies - which in Ukraine typically are broadcast in Russian - should be translated into Ukrainian.

He asked Prosecutor General Oleksandr Medvedko to take all measures to ensure that a requirement to translate foreign films into Ukrainian is put back into place.

In January, the government of then-Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov issued a decree saying that by September, at least 20 percent of foreign movies shown in theaters should be translated into Ukrainian, with that percentage going up to 50 percent by January 2007 and 70 percent by July 2007.

However, movie distributors, who mainly buy films in Russia, complained of financial losses, and last month, an Appeals Court overturned the order.

The language issue is sensitive in Ukraine, where Russian was heavily promoted during Soviet times.

Ukrainian nationalists see protecting and promoting the Ukrainian language as a way to prevent meddling from Moscow.

The Party of the Regions, whose head, Viktor Yanukovych, is now prime minister, campaigned on a promise to make Russian a second state language.

Six regional governments in the east and south, where Russian is mainly spoken, earlier this year granted Russian a special status - decisions that were heavily criticized by Yushchenko.

Source: AP