Under the framework of an officially sponsored Days of Ukrainian Culture, taking place in Russia from October 24-29, representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora met in Moscow for the second Congress of Ukrainians in Russia. The forum called for "national-cultural autonomy," understood as organizing the diaspora’s own cultural life and educational institutions, in conformity with Russian law and with the support of the Ukrainian state. The congress focused on efforts in Russian regions with a large Ukrainian diaspora to create Ukrainian community groups, to seek their legal registration, and to set up cultural facilities designed to maintain the Ukrainian ethnic identity and language. Participants noted efforts already underway in the Penza and Kamchatka regions.
The congress appealed to Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma to facilitate the sending of Ukrainian books and periodicals, as well as transmission of Ukrainian television and radio broadcasts, to Russian regions with large Ukrainian populations. Some 5 million ethnic Ukrainians currently reside in the Russian Federation, a legacy of Soviet-era migration and employment policies. This diaspora has practically no native-language schooling or cultural facilities. The situation of some 12 million ethnic Russians in Ukraine is incomparably better in these respects. (Ukrainian agencies, October 25-27)
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