Thursday, September 01, 2016


Ukraine

Ukrainian Parliament Bans Communist, Nazi Propaganda

By RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service

Ukraine's parliament has voted to ban "propaganda of the totalitarian communist and Nazi regimes," a major rebuke to the country's Soviet-era masters in Moscow and to Russia.

A total of 254 members of the 450-seat Vekhovna Rada voted on April 9 in favor of the legislation in the former Soviet republic, which is deeply at odds with Russia over its annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in a conflict that has killed more than 6,000 people.

Under the legislation, the communist government that ruled between 1917 and 1991 -- the Soviet era -- is condemned as a criminal regime that conducted policies of state terror.

Its symbols and propaganda are banned -- a measure that, if implemented thoroughly, would require the demolition of monuments to Bolshevik Revolution leader Vladimir Lenin and other Soviet-era images that remain.

The legislation was initiated by the government and will become law when it is officially published, possibly on April 10.

It applies the same treatment to the Nazi regime, which occupied and controlled much of Ukraine during World War II before being driven out by Soviet forces.

Also on April 9, Ukrainian lawmakers adopted a law on the legal status and honoring the memory of participants to the struggle for Ukraine's independence in the 20th century, including groups that fought against Nazi Germany and Soviet authorities.

'Remembrance Poppy'

Another law adopted by the Ukrainian parliament on April 9 allows public access to all documents classified by the Soviet-era authorities as secret. 

The lawmakers also adopted another law on April 9, according to which, Ukraine will mark May 8 as the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during World War II, in 1939-1945.

The law says that May 9 will be marked as Victory Day as usual but not in the Great Patriotic War as it is still being marked in Russia and many other former Soviet Republics but as the end of World War II.

On April 7, Ukraine's First Lady Maryna Poroshenko attended a "Remembrance Poppy" event as part of events marking the 70th anniversary of the Nazi surrender, a move many saw as another attempt to change symbolism of the victory in World War II. 

Russian celebrations of the World War II victory as the product of unity among Soviet republics are ringing hollow to many in Ukraine because of Moscow's takeover of the Crimea and its support for separatists fighting Ukrainian government forces in a conflict that has killed more than 6,000 people since April last year.

The Kremlin has portrayed the ouster of Moscow-backed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 as a U.S.-supported coup by fascists, and compares the pro-Western government now in power in Kyiv to Nazis.

The laws adopted by the Ukrainian parliament on April 9 are seen as part of a shift away Soviet imagery Kyiv says the Kremlin is using to influence neighbors and promote self-serving myths about World War II amid the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

With reporting by UNIAN and AFP

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