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Authorities in Kiev crack down on political rivals

July 27, 2015, 16:29 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila
Supporters of the Ukrainian Communist Party

Supporters of the Ukrainian Communist Party

© EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY

MOSCOW, July 27. /TASS/. Ukraine’s newly-effective ban on Communist participation in forthcoming elections, whatever its ideological disguise, is above all indicative of the authorities’ determination to get rid of political rivals, analysts say. In fact, the Communists are the sole political force that may be considered as genuine opposition to the current authorities in Kiev, and it is noteworthy that the West prefers to turn a blind eye on Kiev’s obviously undemocratic moves, they add.

Ukraine’s Justice Ministry has stripped the country’s three Communist parties of the right to participate in political processes and elections in accordance with the so-called law on de-communization which the parliament voted for last April. The largest of the three - the Communist Party of Ukraine - enjoys a rather high rating and it looked determined to participate in local elections due on October 25.

The authorities in Kiev have two aims, head of the general politology department at the Higher School of Economics Leonid Polyakov told TASS. "The general ideological aim is to get rid of the Soviet past. It was declared as one of the tasks of the so-called ‘Revolution of Dignity.’ On the other hand, there is a very practical, down-to-earth purpose. The Communists represent an impressive political force with many supporters. The lower the standard of living falls, the larger the Communist electorate will grow. So this is a preventive measure expected to eradicate political sources of likely instability."

Polyakov says it is rather odd that champions of democratic values in the West do nothing to protest against the bans on Communist parties in Ukraine. After all, left-of-centre parties in Europe have a firm foothold. "The United States and its European satellites keep quiet about the persecution of Ukrainian Communists, which is so reminiscent of the notorious (berufsverbot) professional ban practices. They see Ukraine as a tool to counter Russia’s ‘imperial ambitions’, they say. This explains why the authorities in Kiev are forgiven everything, including steps that obviously run counter to the widely professed European values."

The systematic campaign to oust the Communists from the political scene has lasted for quite a while, says the president of the Systemic Analysis and Forecasting Centre, Rostislav Ishchenko. "When power in Ukraine changed hands, efforts to eject the Communists from politics by force went into high gear," the Internet portal Aktualnyie Komentarii (Topical Commentaries) quotes Ishchenko as saying. The analyst attributes this to a worsening economic situation which cannot but contribute to the popularity of socially-oriented parties.

"The Communists had every reason to expect their popularity will be soaring," Ishchenko said. "The more so since the Party of Regions has in fact been ruined. Respectively, it would be quite logical to expect that the Party of Regions’ electorate would set their eyes on the Communists as the most radical opponents to the current authorities. The Communists are being literally wiped out."

"As a matter of fact, any ground for normal opposition is being eliminated," deputy dean of the world economy and world politics department at the Higher School of Economics Andrei Suzdaltsev told TASS. He believes that the authorities in Kiev fear the protests in Kiev may "turn red".

"Certainly, protests will rely on a left-wing ideology. The just-enacted laws will make it far easier to curb them. In fact, any ground for the emergence of a normal opposition is being eliminated," he said.

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