Ukrainian court upholds Communist Party ban : Peoples Dispatch

WFDY members staged a protest in Madrid, Spain during the NATO summit to demand the release of the Kononovich brothers. Photo: WFDY

The Eighth Administrative Court of Appeals in Lviv, Ukraine, ruled on July 5 to uphold the ban on the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) and ordered the state to seize the party’s assets.

The Eighth Administrative Court of Appeals stated that in its decision: “We inform you that the court complied with the requests of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine: the activities of the Communist Party of Ukraine are prohibited; property, funds and other assets of the party, its regional, municipal, district organizations, primary organizations and other structural entities were transferred to state ownership”.

The move is part of a longer campaign of repression of the party and its views that intensified after the Euromaidan coup in 2014.

In December 2015, the Kyiv District Administrative Court banned the KPU based on decommunization laws passed by the Ukrainian parliament and on accusations of promoting pro-Russian separatist activities in the country. The KPU had filed an appeal against the ban in higher county courts and the European Court of Human Rights, but the ongoing war in Ukraine has worsened conditions for the KPU and other left-wing parties in the country. . In March this year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for the banning of several opposition parties, including left-wing regionalist, socialist and pro-Russian parties in the country.

After the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1991, the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) was revived in 1993, and it became a major political force in the county with strong representation in parliament until the Euromaidan coup in 2014. The KPU strongly opposed Euromaidan’s anti-Russian and pro-EU protests in Ukraine and its cadres were brutally targeted by pro-maidan protesters in places like Odessa.

Persecution of Ukrainian communists intensified following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Russia’s support for the secessionist war in the Donbass region. The pro-EU government led by Petro Poroshenko has accused the KPU of supporting pro-Russian secessionist groups in the Donbass region. Successively, the Ukrainian parliament passed decommunization laws in 2015 and banned the public display of communist symbols and the dissemination of communist propaganda. The KPU led by Petro Symonenko was banned from running in the elections, its publication Rabochaya Gazeta was also banned and many of its executives, including leaders, faced police repression and attacks by far-right groups.

Braving all these difficulties, Ukrainian communists continued to organize protests against decommunization, pro-corporate land reforms, government support for neo-Nazi groups, electricity hikes, water prices and the expansion of NATO and organized campaigns urging a peaceful resolution of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

Communist youth in prison

On March 6, following the start of the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war in February 2022, Ukrainian security services arrested Mikhail Kononovich and his brother Aleksandr Kononovich, leaders of the Leninist Communist Youth Union of Ukraine (LKSMU ). They were accused of propagandism with pro-Russian and pro-Belarusian views with the aim of destabilizing the internal situation in Ukraine.

Their trial in the Solomensky District Court in Kyiv began on July 1. In court, the Kononovich brothers said, “Our case is completely fabricated from start to finish. What are we accused of? Pro-Belarusian opinions are accused. We are judged for our opinions. What kind of democracy can we talk about?

After their arrest in March, the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) launched an international campaign demanding their release. The brothers recognized in court the importance of this campaign: “We want to appeal to the European left, to the Federation of Democratic Youth. Thanks, comrades. You carry out actions in Europe near the embassies of Ukraine to support us so that they let us go, thank you very much. Together we will win!”

In a February 2021 interview, regarding the 2015 KPU ban, Mykhail Kononovich said Dispatch of the Peoples that “I insist that communist ideology, the idea cannot be banned by any law, so it is impossible to ban common sense and science. It is simply impossible to ban the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU), because we are a party with more than a hundred years of history, a party that has experience of underground struggles. We communists have fought and will continue to fight for the good of our people! “.

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