The impact of war and European integration on the rights of national minorities

For 30 years, the Law of Ukraine "On National Minorities in Ukraine" of 1992 served as a legislative framework for all state ethnopolitics. The state practically did not interfere in the life of national communities, theoretically granting them almost complete freedom of self-expression and at the same time not having specific positive obligations to create conditions for ensuring the rights of national minorities.

With the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the Russian troops into Ukraine, the issue of preserving the Ukrainian identity acquired considerable practical importance, which affected the policy in the field of national minorities.

Ukraine's commitment to the European integration course determines the state's commitment to the ideas of ethnic diversity. But in the conditions of the Russian invasion, the authorities could not allow the topic of the rights of national minorities to be manipulated, fearing the destabilization of society. This resulted in a difficult process of revising the legislation on national communities, which is far from complete.

These conclusions follow from the analytical work "The Rights of National Minorities: European Standards and Ukrainian Legislation in Dynamics" (2024), prepared by Vyacheslav Likhachev, a member of the Expert Council of the Center for Civil Liberties, with the support of the Representative Office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Ukraine.

The paper analyzes the stages of development of the legislation on national minorities during the time of Ukraine's independence, considers the problems caused by the war in the field of human rights, and also assesses whether Ukraine managed to achieve progress in accordance with the recommendations of the Venice Commission, which became a prerequisite for official negotiations on EU membership.

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