On July 8, the Ukrainian Minister of Justice filed a lawsuit in the Kiev District Court to ban the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU). This is the last step in a growing campaign in the last few months to prosecute anyone organisation which raises its voice against the interim government and its “anti-terrorist operation” in the East.
Speaking about the legal move, acting Prime Minister Yatseniuk, made this clear when he said: “This is not a ban on a political party, but a ban on those who undermine Ukrainian independence, who are fighting with the Ukrainian state, and who encroached on the foundations of constitutional order in the country.” In fact since the Kiev authorities have described all those fighting against the government as “separatists” and accused them of being “in the pay of the foreign enemy”, this means that any organisation opposing the government could be banned.
Further to the legal action, Yatseniuk declared that: “I would like to appeal to the Prosecutor General’s Office, SBU, the Interior Ministry finally to finally investigate the activity of all persons, including those who have the status of people’s deputy of Ukraine, submit respective materials to court and the parliament in order to cancel their parliamentary immunity and prosecute all those that support terrorists, separatists and other bandits who encroach on Ukrainian independence,” according to Interfax-Ukraine news agency.
Communist Party secretary Simonenko protested the move: “What kind of anti-constitutional activity is meant? Our party calls exclusively for constitutional, political methods of struggle,” Simonenko said. He added that the Communist Party of Ukraine has never talked of supporting separatism. “We stand for a united Ukraine and condemn any manifestations of separatism.”
In a hysterical editorial article, the English language Kyiv Post fully backed these attacks on democratic rights and demanded that the authorities should go further, saying that individual Communists should also be prosecuted:
“A ban of a political party is ineffective. The day after the ban comes into effect, nothing will stop the same old Communists from registering a new version of the same party, with a minor change in the name and outlawed symbols. In fact, they might even gain a few brownie points, spinning themselves as “political martyrs” and the “true opposition to oligarchy“ the typical rhetoric they use. If Communists committed crimes, they need to be punished. And the punishment has to be real, not political.” (Prosecute Communists)
The KPU received 2.6 million votes (13.2% of the total) in the last parliamentary elections in 2012, the greatest support in Sevastopol – 29.46%, in the Luhansk oblast – 25.14%, in the Kherson oblast – 23.34%, in the Zaporizhzhia oblast – 21.16%, in the Kharkiv oblast – 20.84% and in Crimea — 19.41% of the votes (according to kapital.ua)
The Communist Party faction was already banned in May from participating in a session on the “anti terrorist operation” at the proposal of far right Radical Party MP Oleg Lyashko (according to Ukrainska Pravda).
In April, neo nazis and fascist thugs assaulted and ransacked the Party’s CC offices in Kiev as can be seen in this video:
Later on that night, there was an arson attack against the building. In several cities and towns, the KPU has already been forced underground and their offices closed down by far right thugs with the passive or active collaboration of the authorities.
It is not only the Communist Party which has come under attack. Socialist organisation Borotba has been forced underground after its offices in Kiev and Kharkov were raided, its members arrested and there was an attempt to kidnap some of its leading activists in broad day light in Kharkov.
As part of this general assault on democratic rights, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has initiated changes in the law which would strip anyone “involved in separatism” of his or her rights to vote and be elected. “Article 10 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine reads that appeals for separatism are considered a criminal offense in our country. This article should be supplemented with the provision according to which criminals would be deprived of the right to elect and be elected, hold elective offices in any government agencies for instigation to separatism,” said the advisor for the Minister of Internal Affairs and initiator of the changes Anton Herashchenko.
We call on all left wing, labour movement and progressive organisations to protest in the strongest possible terms against this attempt to curtail democratic freedoms by an acting government which is supported by Western powers.