Bill 7633 on the restriction of the use of Russian text sources in Ukrainian research and education: analysing language policy in times of war

Tetyana Lunyova, Ursula Lanvers, Oksana Zelik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For centuries, Ukraine has been a site of conficts over language rights. During
70 years of Soviet leadership, Ukraine experienced’relentless Russifcation’ (Reznik in Language of confict: discourses of the Ukrainian crisis (pp. 169–191). Blooms-bury Publishing, London, 2020 p. 170). After breaking from Soviet rule, the Ukrain-ian language became an increasingly powerful symbol and means of national iden-tity. Since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the language issues have gained yet more public and political attention. Addressing the urgency, the Ukrainian parliament adopted, in the frst reading, Bill 7633, aiming to restrict the use of any Russian sources in Ukrainian school and academia, a bill that was met with criticism and experienced intensifed debates. This article analyses a range of text sources (both governmental and non-governmental) debating Bill 7633, using Discourse Analysis, and reveals how ‘liberal values’ and ‘lived liberalism’ (Fedirko et al. in Social Anthropol/Anthropol soc 29(2):373–386, 2021) are practiced or vio- lated through problematising or justifying the Bill. Thus, the article contributes to the (recently emerged, i.e. since the start of Russian annexation of the Crimea in 2014) body of research on political and public discourses of the Ukrainian confict (Epstein in Studies in East Eur Thought 74(4), 475–481; Jones, 2020; Lanvers and Lunyova in Eur J Lang Policy 15(1), 25–68; Slobozhan et al. in Soc Netw Anal Min 12(1), 1–12, 2022). Results show a comprehensive range of arguments both for and against Bill 7633 in both governmental and non-governmental texts which is inter- preted as a form of liberalism in fragments (Fedirko in Social Anthropol/Anthropol
Soc, 29(2), 471–489, 2021). The conclusion debates the unreserved applicability of western conceptualisation of liberal language policy in the context of war and pro- longed linguistic contestations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages39
JournalLanguage Policy
Early online date5 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 May 2024

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2024


  • Ukraine
  • language policy
  • education
  • research

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