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Western countries are unlikely to defend Ukrainian communists - experts

July 25, 2014, 18:56 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila
© ITAR-TASS / Vladimir Sindeev

MOSCOW, July 25. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian deputies have disbanded the Communist faction in parliament and are planning to ban the Communist Party of Ukraine altogether in open violation of the principles of pluralism and democracy. However, the West is unlikely to react with any radical protests.

Ukraine’s parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchynov announced his decision to disband the faction at a parliamentary session last Thursday, adding that hopefully he would never see Communist factions in Ukraine’s legislature again.

Amendments to parliamentary procedures which Ukrainian deputies had adopted last Tuesday made it possible for Turchynov to disband the Communist faction. President Petro Poroshenko signed the amendments bill into law the same day. The Kiev authorities were absolutely open in saying that the law had been passed in pursuit of one single goal - to get rid of the Communist faction in parliament.

On July 8, Ukraine’s Justice Ministry filed a lawsuit to Kiev’s district administrative court urging it to ban the Communist Party of Ukraine for the reason that its members were linked to financing separatists (in Eastern Ukraine) and actions that led to the ‘annexation’ of Crimea in March 2014.

The measures followed a statement by Communist Party leader Petro Simonenko, made early in May, that he would have immediately withdrawn all troops from Ukraine’s eastern provinces, if he were president. He also described Kiev’s military operation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as a war against ordinary people.

Meanwhile, the parliament’s decision did not upset Simonenko at all. He said the authorities’ pressure would not prevent the Communist Party of Ukraine from taking part in long-term parliamentary elections scheduled for autumn.

Russia’s reaction, however, was sharp.

“The disbandment of the Communist Party faction in Ukraine’s parliament and an attempt to ban the party is another example of how Kiev is infringing on the right to free speech and pluralism. Combined with a crackdown on unsuitable media and persecution of dissidents, this latest move by the Kiev authorities is taking Ukraine far away from the democratic path,” Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry human rights ombudsman, wrote in Twitter.

He said it was high time for the West, including the European Union, which had in vain tried to portray itself as a stronghold of democracy, to stop pretending not to notice this iniquity.

Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the Communist Party of Russia, has urged the leaders of Germany, France and Italy to demand the termination of a case aimed at banning the Communist Party of Ukraine.

“We insist that countries like Germany, Italy and France that suffered most from fascism in Europe should be the first to raise their voices against this kind of trial and ban,” Zyuganov said.

Russian experts, however, believe that the West will not rush to help the Ukrainian communists.

“Left-wing parties will be the only force to oppose the ban in the West. But even they are unlikely to take any radical actions and demand sanctions,” Alexei Makarkin, the first vice-president of the Center for Political Technologies, told ITAR-TASS.

“The Western reaction will not be radical,” he said.

The disbandment of the Communist faction under a procedural pretext is unlikely to stir any protests in the West. However, the ban of the party itself may cause protests, according to Mikhail Remizov, the president of the National Strategy Institute.

“At the same time, part of the elites in Europe, let alone the United States, would welcome the Communist Party ban. They put Communism and Nazism on a par in their assessment of the events of the 20th century,” Remizov told ITAR-TASS.

Anyway, Remizov said, this move “would not become a matter of principle or a kind of painful issue for Kiev.”

Alexei Makarkin explained the motives behind the Ukrainian authorities’ actions.

“They are in line with the destruction of monuments to Lenin in Ukraine. They regard the Communist attributes and Communist Party symbols as the Soviet legacy of which they want to get rid of,” Makarkin said.

Besides, Makarkin noted, several prominent figures from the Communist Party of Ukraine, have joined the self-proclaimed republics in the east of the country. Many of those who support the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic voted for the Communists.

Makarkin described Kiev’s decision as dangerous.

“Applied to one political force, these rules can later be used against anybody many times,” he said.

Political scientist Mikhail Remizov said Ukrainian politicians had started playing according to new rules and those new rules of the game could be the root cause behind the decision to ban the Communist Party of Ukraine.

“In previous years, Ukrainian politics was designed to reflect the country’s regional diversity. Now, this diversity has been deprived of the right to exist. Communists have been branded as the traitors of national interests only because they have a different view on what’s going on,” Remizov said.


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