The official language of Ukraine is Ukrainian, an East Slavic language which is the native language of 67.5% of Ukraine's population. Russian is the native language of 29.6% of Ukraine's population (mostly urban areas) and the rest (2.9%) are native speakers of other languages. Ethnologue lists 40 minority languages and dialects; nearly all are native to the former Soviet Union. According to a survey conducted in 2006-2007 by Gallup, formerly the American Institute of Public Opinion, 83% of the respondents preferred to conduct the Gallup interview in Russian.
According to Article 10 of the Constitution of Ukraine the state has an obligation to ensure the comprehensive development and functioning of the Ukrainian language in all spheres of social life throughout Ukraine while guaranteeing the free development, use and protection of the Russian language and other languages of national minorities of Ukraine.
In an 11–23 December 2015 study by the Razumkov Centre taken in all regions of Ukraine other than Russian-annexed Crimea, and separatist controlled Donetsk, and Luhansk, a majority considered Ukrainian their native language (60%), followed by Russian (15%), while 22% used both languages equally. Two percent had another native language. For the preferred language of work, an equal amount chose either Ukrainian or Russian (37%) and 21% communicated bilingually. The study polled 10,071 individuals and held a 1% margin of error.
In an October 2009 poll by FOM-Ukraine of 1,000 respondents, 52% stated they use Russian as their "Language of communication"; while 41% of the respondents state they use Ukrainian and 8% stated they use a mixture of both.
A March 2010 poll by Research & Branding Group showed that 65% considered Ukrainian as their native language and 33% Russian. This poll also showed the standard of knowledge of the Russian language (free conversational language, writing and reading) in current Ukraine is higher (76%) than the standard of knowledge of the Ukrainian language (69%). More respondents preferred to speak Ukrainian (46%) than Russian (38%) with 16% preferring to speak both in equal manner.
A poll held November 2009 revealed that 54.7% of the population of Ukraine believed the language issue in Ukraine was irrelevant, that each person could speak the language they preferred and that a lot more important problems existed in the country; 14.7% of those polled stated that the language issue was an urgent problem that could not be postponed and that calls for immediate resolution; another 28.3% believed that, while the language issue needed to be resolved, this could be postponed.
In a May 2012 poll by RATING 50% of respondents considered Ukrainian their native language, 29% Russian, 20% consider both Ukrainian and Russian their mother tongue and 1% considered a different language their native language.
As a result of legislation entitled the 'Bill on the principles of the state language policy", which was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada in August 2012, languages spoken by at least 10% of an oblast's population were made possible to be elevated to the status of 'regional language'. Whilst Ukrainian remained the country's only 'official' language nationwide, other languages, dependent on their adoption by oblast authorities, became accepted mediums of communication in education, local government offices, courts and official correspondence. In October 2014 the Constitutional Court of Ukraine started reviewing the constitutionality of the law, and on 28 February 2018 it ruled the law unconstitutional.
According to the Russian census 1897 on the territory of the nine Russian guberniyas in modern Ukraine yielded the following results:
In 2016, a New rule came into force requiring Ukraine's radio stations to play a quota of Ukrainian-language songs each day. The law also requires TV and radio broadcasters to ensure 60% of programmes such as news and analysis are in Ukrainian.
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