Ukraine Parliament Votes in Favor of Restricting Russian Music, Books

Ukraine Parliament Votes in Favor of Restricting Russian Music, Books
Ukrainian members of Parliament of the Verkhovna Rada, the Supreme Council of Ukraine, on Dec. 6, 2018, (Genya Savilova/AFP/Getty Images)
Katabella Roberts

Russian music is set to be banned from being broadcast in Ukrainian media and on public transport after the country’s Parliament voted Sunday in favor of a new bill aimed at reducing Russia’s influence.

Members of Ukraine’s Parliament, also known as the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, also voted on Sunday in favor of a bill that would place severe restrictions on Russian books.

Parliament confirmed the bills had been passed in a Twitter post on Sunday, with the constitutional majority of the Rada voting “for” with 306 votes.

Under the first bill, music by post-1991 Russian citizens will be banned from being played in media and on public transport. The quotas on Ukrainian-language speech and music content in TV and radio broadcasts will also be increased.

The second bill bans the printing of books by Russian citizens who held Russian citizenship after the 1991 collapse of Soviet rule. However, the ban will not apply if the individuals agree to renounce their Russian passport and take Ukrainian citizenship.

It will also ban the commercial import of books printed in Russia, Belarus, and occupied Ukrainian territory. Books in Russian imported from any other country will require special permission.

Furthermore, as of Jan. 1, 2023, books will only be published and distributed “in Ukrainian, the languages ​​of the indigenous peoples of Ukraine, and the official languages ​​of the European Union,” according to the Ukrainian Parliament.

“Books in other languages ​​may be published and distributed if they are published in the original language,” officials said. “Translated literature must be printed and distributed in translations into Ukrainian or any official language of the EU or the language of the indigenous people of Ukraine.”

Both bills now head to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s desk where he is widely expected to sign them into law.

Ukraine’s culture minister, Oleksandr Tkachenko, said on Telegram on Sunday that he was “glad to welcome” the new restrictions on music and books.

“Unfortunately, the war proved that it was high time to switch to Ukrainian-language content. And this must be enshrined in law,” Tkachenko wrote. “The laws are designed to help Ukrainian authors share quality content with the widest possible audience, which after the Russian invasion do not accept any Russian creative product on a physical level.”

“Thank you to everyone who supported such decisions. We must replace Russian content with Ukrainian at all levels, from music to libraries,” Tkachenko added.

Ukraine has enacted a number of measures aimed at so-called “derussification” both prior to and since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, such as making Ukrainian the mandatory language used in daily life in public sectors.

However, Moscow officials said that law would create further divisions in the country and oppress Ukraine’s large number of Russian speakers.

The latest bills come shortly after the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, said it supports Ukraine being granted EU candidate status in the wake of Moscow’s invasion.

“The Commission recommends that Ukraine be given the perspective to become a member of the European Union. It should be granted candidate status on the understanding that steps are taken in a number of areas,” the commission wrote in an opinion.

Reuters contributed to this report.
Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.
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