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Ukraine Bars Communists From Elections

Communist imagery and symbols have been banned.
Communist imagery and symbols have been banned.

Ukraine's Justice Ministry has barred communists from running in upcoming local elections after the passage of new legislation.

Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko said on July 24 that the Communist Party of Ukraine, the Communist Party of Ukraine's Workers and Peasants, and the Reformed Communist Party of Ukraine will be barred from the October local elections.

Petrenko also pledged to file a lawsuit to formally ban the parties.

The Communist Party has been an important force in Ukrainian politics, polling 13 percent in the 2012 parliamentary elections, but its popularity plummeted following its support for pro-Russian ex-President Viktor Yanukovych, who was toppled by pro-European protests last year and is currently residing in Russia.

In the 2014 parliamentary elections, the Communist Party of Ukraine garnered less than 4 percent of the vote.

In 2000, the Communist Party of Ukraine split and two new communist parties were formed -- the Reformed Communist Party of Ukraine (also known as the Communist Party of Ukraine Renewed) and the Ukrainian Communist Party of Workers and Peasants. The two new communist parties did not take part in parliamentary elections in 2012 and 2014.

Ukraine passed several laws in April banning the use of symbols from the Soviet era and denouncing communist ideology. Under those laws, the communist government that ruled between 1917 and 1991 -- the Soviet era -- was condemned as a criminal regime that conducted policies of state terror.

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

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

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

Communist Party of Ukraine leader Petro Symonenko said on July 24 that his party planned to take part in the election despite the ministry's decision.

The leader of the Russian Communist Party, Gennady Zyuganov, called the decision "pure arbitrariness and a reprisal against their political opponents."

Based on reporting by AP, UNIAN, Interfax, TASS and
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