THE MINISTRY FOR REINTEGRATION LAUNCHES WORK ON THE STRATEGY FOR THE DEVELOPMENT AND PROMOTION OF THE CRIMEAN TATAR LANGUAGE
Crimean Tatar language, as the language of one of the indigenous peoples of Ukraine, is an integral element of Ukrainian nation's identity and ethnocultural integrity. Implementation of the rights of native speakers, development of linguistic identity of indigenous peoples is guaranteed by the Constitution of Ukraine. These theses are also enshrined in the statement of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine regarding the guarantee of the rights of the Crimean Tatar people within the Ukrainian State (Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine No. 1140-VII dated from March 20, 2014).
At the same time, according to the UNESCO classification, Crimean Tatar language is among the severely endangered languages.
Additional danger in terms of preservation and development of Crimean Tatar language appeared as a result of illegal temporary occupation of the territory of Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, where reside the vast majority of native speakers.
Factors of danger, on the one hand, are the policy of the Russian occupation authorities to limit the scope of the Crimean Tatar language. On the other hand, the departure of some native speakers to the mainland Ukraine with subsequent dispersed resettlement, which imposes risks of assimilation and reduced language potential.
With this in mind there is an objective need to implement a set of measures at the level of the state language policy of Ukraine for the revitalization and development of the Crimean Tatar language, taking into account the current circumstances, which are largely formed by the temporary occupation of the territory of Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation.
Resolution of the UN General Assembly No. 74/396 dated from December 2, 2019 defines the period from 2022 to 2032 as the International Decade of Indigenous Languages. Ukraine is one of the initiators of this decision.
According to the Regulations on the Ministry for Reintegration of the Temporary Occupied Territories of Ukraine (approved by the Resolution of Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 376 dated from June 8, 2016 (as amended by the Resolution of Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 371 dated from May 6, 2020), the establishment of conditions for the free development of the Crimean Tatar language is included in the list of main tasks of the Ministry for Reintegration of TOT of Ukraine.
"The development of the Crimean Tatar language has two dimensions. On the one hand, it is self-sufficient, because the language is a unique component of culture. Its preservation and development are a self-sufficient goal. The first word should be made by expert linguists. However, we also consider the issues of language development in the context of practical steps for de-occupation and reintegration of Crimea. Ukraine as a state must take the initiative. So that there would be a lively connection with our citizens in Crimea on this issue," declared Oleksii Reznikov, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Minister for Reintegration of the Temporary Occupied Territories of Ukraine.
"During the month we have been actively consulting with Mejlis, scientists and teachers on the range of tasks we have to work on. As a result, there is a common understanding that language development issues are complex and require long-term efforts. Now it de facto belongs to the competence of various departments, a regulatory framework for interagency coordination is needed. Given the fact that at the UN level it has already been decided on the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032), the idea to develop a Strategy for the development and promotion of the Crimean Tatar language for the same period," noted Oleksii Reznikov.
He added that it should be a strategy not only in form, because, in fact, strategic decisions will have to be made. For example, it is necessary to determine on the basis of which alphabet the Crimean Tatar language should develop - is it Cyrillic or Latin? "We continue to print out textbooks for the school in Cyrillic, although most of the texts in electronic format are already in Latin. It is vital to approve the official spelling of the Crimean Tatar language, create a number of basic dictionaries. From the methodology point of view, the experience of standardization and codification of the Ukrainian language will be useful; we have already asked for assistance the colleagues who participated in this process. I am close to the approach that the Crimean Tatar language should be developed not only among the indigenous people, but also as a kind of "Ukrainian Turkic", promoting it among the Ukrainian citizens. After all, knowledge of the language is always an advantage. By the way, there are plans to add a translation into Crimean Tatar for the website of the Ministry for Reintegration of TOT," said Oleksii Reznikov.
In the context of practical work on the preparation of the Strategy of Development and Promotion of the Crimean Tatar language, the Ministry for Reintegration of TOT began to collect proposals from a wide range of specialists, including scientists-turkologists and linguists, teachers of higher and general secondary education institutions, representatives of NGOs, journalists and artists.
After the summary of the received materials, the Ministry for Reintegration of TOT will hold constituent meeting of the working group with the participation of representatives of interested executive authorities, Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, institutions of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, higher education institutions, media and NGOs. Draft concept of the strategic document is envisaged to be ready by the end of 2020.