Russia’s federal news agency RIAFAN published a story claiming that residents of western Ukraine don’t know the Ukrainian language. According to RIAFA official Ukrainian university entrance exams showed that western Ukrainians had the worst scores in Ukrainian language, literature and history.
This claim is inaccurate. According to the official Testing Authority 9.16% of applicants in the western Ukrainian province of Ternopil did not take the Ukrainian language exam, while in the southern Mykolayiv province, nearly 10% failed to do so.
It is true that Transcarpathia, Rivne and Chernivtsi regions did not have stellar test results, however, these regions do not represent all of western Ukraine and should not be presented as such.
According to Ukraine’s 2001 census, Transcarpathia and Chernivtsi have very diverse populations. Transcarpathia in particular has large minorities of Hungarians, Slovaks and Romanians and the vernacular Ukrainian spoken there differs greatly from literary Ukrainian, while large minorities of Romanians and Moldovans predominate in Chernivtsi.
These two regions, Transcarpathia and Chernivtsi, are often featured in fake Russian stories about regional separatism and autonomy.