Ukraine's Constitutional Court on Thursday overturned a government resolution prohibiting school teachers from speaking Russian at work.
On September 30, 2009, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko issued a directive whereby teachers could only speak Ukrainian at school, even during breaks.
The Constitutional Court ruled that the Cabinet of Ministers had overreached its powers, since in accordance with the Ukrainian Constitution, the use of languages in the country is only subject to the law, not government ordinances.
Tymoshenko earlier argued she had acted in compliance with the Constitution, stipulating that Ukrainian is the state language.
Education Minister Ivan Vakarchuk maintained that teachers were only "advised" to use Ukrainian, not ordered to do this.
He added that the government directive "protects the rights of ethnic minorities," while "no one will be punished" for failing to follow the directive.
Nevertheless, Tymoshenko's move provoked an outcry among Ukraine's Russian-speaking nationals, as well as queries from the opposition.
The Party of Regions described the decision as "a challenge to the whole of society, a provocation, and yet another attempt to divide Ukraine into West and East."
It appealed the directive at the Constitutional Court.
KIEV, February 4 (RIA Novosti)