Prohibition to use Russian information sources in education and science

07 December 2022
Prohibition to use Russian information sources in education and science
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Draft bill # 7633 of August 4, 2022 

Cosponsors: a group of 22 MPs with Inna Sovsun as the first signatory 

Status: adopted in the first reading 

Who is affected: scientists, educators, students, and schoolchildren 

Summary of the bill: 

  • foundations of the state policy on education will be supplemented by the requirement to protect the sphere of education from the Russian imperialism 
  • in the educational curricula, it will be prohibited to use references to information sources created: 
      • on the territory of the aggressor-state 
      • in the state language of the Russian Federation 
      • by citizens and legal entities of the Russian Federation 
  • it will be allowed to use Russian information sources exclusively for: 
      • education of the representatives of the Russian minority 
      • critical analysis of the processes happening in Russia 
      • studies of Russia. 

What is right: 

  • the aim of the bill is to protect educational and scientific spheres from the harmful influence of Russian imperialism and chauvinism 

What is wrong: 

  • the criteria proposed in the bill for banning Russian information sources will be ineffective: 
      • prohibition to use information sources created on the territory of the aggressor state will cover only the period after Russia proclaimed its independence in 1991. Years before that will not be covered by the law since these territories were a part of the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire, not the Russian Federation as an independent state. However, Russian chauvinism and imperialism are old phenomena dating back not three decades but several centuries. That is why only a small corpus of information produced by the enemy will be banned 
      • a total ban on all information in Russian will close a significant amount of scientific, politically neutral information for Ukrainian science and education. Also, a substantial part of works of Ukrainian science and education were written in Russian 
  • permission to use Russian sources only if they are to be “critically analyzed” contradicts the definition of analysis as one of the methods of science. An analysis is based on objective data and not subjective or political opinions. Therefore, it cannot be critical or complimentary by default. In a democratic state, under no circumstances science can be turned into a propaganda tool. 

Alternative solution: 

  • to ban Russian information sources only if they contain manifestations of Russian chauvinism and imperialism 
  • to limit the use of untranslated Russian information sources 
  • to continue with the programs of mass learning of English as a language that provides access to the largest volume of information sources 
  • to introduce incentives for translating scientific literature into Ukrainian.