From now on, Ukraine’s
communists may not set up their own political party or enjoy any rights stemming
from them, including the right to participate in the electoral process.

National Security and Defense
Council Secretary, Oleksandr Turchynov, justifying the ban, said the
parties had acted against Ukraine in the interests of Russia.

“These parties
supported and promoted the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation… the military
invasion in the east and the creation of separatist movements in Ukraine,”
Turchynov said. “Their cooperation with (former Ukrainian President Viktor) Yanukovych
grew into cooperation with the aggressor.”

Reacting to news of the ban, Donetsk-native
Petro Symonenko, who has led the Communist Party of Ukraine for much of
Ukraine’s independence since 1991, said the communists would run in the Oct. 25
local elections anyway, according to Interfax news agency.


The Justice
Ministry was granted powers to assess the activities of political parties and
their oblast, city, and regional branches under a
law that
the Communist and Nazi totalitarian regimes in
Ukraine – one of four so-called de-communization
laws –
which parliament passed on
April 9.

“This law opened to
Ukrainian society and the authorities the possibility to give a clear response
to persons supporting these regimes,” Petrenko said.

The very first
day after the law came into effect, the Justice Ministry set up an independent
commission consisting of both experts from the ministry and representatives of
civil society to study the cases of the communist parties in Ukraine.

After a month of
consideration, the commission submitted its conclusions to the justice minister.

“Based on these
conclusions, I signed three decrees, which say that the communist parties, in their
activities, names, symbolism, statutes and programs, are against the law,” said

The Central
Electoral Commission and local electoral commissions are now obliged to refuse registration
of election candidates from these parties.


The minister
promised to make the texts of the decrees available to the public on July 24.

Meanwhile, court actions that started in
July 2014 will continue in order to exclude Ukraine’s communist parties from the
country’s business registry, Petrenko said.

Turchynov started an absolutely fair examination of the activities of the
communist party and its leaders, who supported the occupation of Crimea,”
Petrenko said. “We became involved in that process from the very first day, and
together with law enforcement bodies we’ve collected a large amount of evidence,
which now forms a voluminous case.”

Post’s legal affairs reporter Mariana Antonovych can be reached at
[email protected].

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