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You're reading: Crimean Tatar leader: Symonenko should be punished for call to change nation’s symbols

 Ukrainian Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko should be called to account for his initiative to change Ukraine's state symbols, the head of the Mejlis (parliament) of the Crimean Tatar people, MP Mustafa Dzhemilev, has said.

“Symonenko is now oriented at the chauvinist-minded part of the electorate. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people with such views in Ukraine. These are partly pre-election statements. The Communist Party leader has Soviet thinking. A statement made by Petro Symonenko is the desecration of state symbols. According to Ukrainian legislation, it’s a crime. However, Ukrainian law enforcement agencies are not responding [to this statement]. They are working only on the orders of Ukraine’s top leaders,” the ZN.UA publication quoted Dzhemilev as saying.

He said that none of the politicians in Europe can afford such statements, even the Communists.

“This is not the first such statement made by the CPU leader. Earlier Symonenko spoke about the Crimean Tatars in a fascist manner. He said that they were fairly deported from Crimea in 1944, because, say, they are betrayers. Thus, he violated a respective article of the Criminal Code. On May 18, we asked the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to deny Symonenko entry into Europe. He is supporting Stalinist ideas. But there is no answer so far. This is a long process – the adoption of a resolution,” the MP said.

As reported, at a press conference in Kharkiv on August 9 Symonenko proposed discussing at a national referendum the question of the country’s main state symbols – the emblem and anthem. In his opinion, the state cannot exist under the symbol, “under which Hitler was met during the war and under which innocent people were killed.”

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