KIEV, May 16. /TASS/. The Ukrainian authorities are taking advantage of the campaign against the use of the St. George ribbon to distract people from complete poverty, said Ukrainian parliament member Nestor Shufrich, who represents the Opposition Bloc.
"I would mention a few names: Ilya Bezborodko and Pyotr Kotlyarevsky are among those famous Ukrainians who went down in the military history and were awarded with the order of St. George," the opposition member said. "I could name dozens more of Ukrainian military servicemen who received the Order of St. George for their bravery," he added.
Shufrich pointed out that during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, the St. George ribbon (which was called the Guard ribbon then) had been used in the makeup of the Order of Glory.
"I am convinced that the authorities are taking advantage of this campaign against the use of the St. George ribbon to distract people from complete poverty as the country’s population is six times poorer now than it was three years ago," Shufrich added.
Earlier on Tuesday, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (parliament) banned the use of the St. George ribbon, stipulating a fine for those violating this decision.
The new law envisages a fine of 850 to 2,550 hryvnias (roughly $32-96) for the public demonstration of the St. George ribbon, while the ribbon will be confiscated. A repeat violation of this law within a year may entail a penalty of up to 5,100 hryvnias (roughly $192) or an administrative arrest for up to 15 days, as well as the ribbon’s confiscation.