Global Independent Analytics
Radostina Schivatcheva
Radostina Schivatcheva

Location: Bulgaria

Specialization: Sustainable development, International relations, Comparative European politics, European integration, Eastern European politics and EU-Russia relations

‘Off with their heads’ - the Ukrainian Communist Party is banned ‘in the name of the people’

Welcome to ‘democratic’ Ukraine, where you are allowed to deal with your opposition by declaring it outside the law.

After all, who has the time to listen to the pesky, critical voice of the vocal leftist opposition, when the demands and programmes of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are waiting to be implemented. The easiest way to deal with the inconvenient opposition is to ban it.

On the 16th of December, the District Administrative Court of Kyiv, acting on the claim of the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice, has banned the activities of the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU). Even prior to the court trial, the Minister of Justice had stated at a press conference: "We will ban the Communist Party." The decision of the court then, could hardly be considered as ‘impartial.’ The party was precluded from participating in the latest parliamentary elections, even though it had at one point the support of three million voters.  The CPU leadership has criticized this treatment by stating that any government must have the political will to listen to all of its citizens, to sit by the negotiating table and consider all opinions. This appeal has fallen on deaf ears.

Now, the old and tired accusation of ‘supporting separatism’ has once again been hurled at CPU. The latest lawsuit accused the Communist party of actions aimed at “amending the constitutional order by force, violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, propaganda of war, violence, incitement of ethnic hatred, encroachment on human rights and freedoms,” as reported by the Unian news agency. Petro Symonenko, leader of CPU, has responded that the representatives of the Communist Party have never questioned or opposed Ukraine's territorial integrity and neither have they supported terrorism. In an interview with ‘Argumenty and Fakty’ the leader of the Ukrainian leftist movement stated: "There has not been even a single legal judgment in court with regards to the cases opened about the prosecution of CPU members on charges of separatism and terrorist support. So far 400 cases have been opened. At the same time, many of our comrades have been thrown into prison and methods of psychological and physical intimidation are used against them. People are being persecuted for their political positions. None of these people questioned Ukraine's territorial integrity and none of them have ever supported terrorism.”

The left-wing politicians then clarified the CPU position vis-a-vis the current Ukrainian government: “We oppose the current regime, we are against the power of the oligarchs, against the official Kiev. I stand, to this day, by my opinion that the government should have considered granting the Ukrainian citizens living in Donbass, their original three basic demands; these being a) granting formal status to the Russian language in the region; b) decentralization of government and c) recognizing the local referendum. Nobody had the right to declare war on the Donbass people for voicing their concerns. These demands bear no relation to separatism.”

Symonenko then emphasized: "In September 2013, I cautioned the Ukrainian parliament that if we do not hold a referendum, if do not listen to people across the country – there will be war! At that time I predicted how it would all end, and unfortunately, I was right. My words were heard neither by the previous government, nor by the then-opposition and now current government.”

For a while now, there has been a law about the ‘decommunisation’ of the country. Even the very name of CPU has been the subject of prohibition under the law ‘On the condemnation of the communist and national socialist totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and on the prohibition and promotion of their symbols.’ CPU has addressed the European Court of Human Rights with regards both to the form and the substance of this law, but the court case is still in the process of being considered. Justice will be a long time coming and today, even the name of the leftist Ukrainian party, hints too inconveniently about the rights of the workers, when the Ukrainian state, under the IMF tutelage, is supposed to be concerned with the rights of the investors. One more reason to ban the Communist Party of Ukraine.

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