Campaign news


7th February 2016



The Ukraine Solidarity Campaign condemns the decision of the District Administrative Court of Kyiv on 16th December 2015 to suspend the activities of the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU). This judgement in effect prevents the CPU from participating in elections and engaging in other activities under its own name. On 25th January 2016, the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine upheld the judgement, which is now being challenged at the European Court of Human Rights.   
The District court judgement considered that the CPU had failed to conform with the controversial law “On the condemnation of Communist and National Socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and prohibition of promoting their symbols”. An earlier judgement on 23rd July 2015 de-registered the CPU, which prevented it from standing in   local elections under its name.  The CPU then stood under the name of ‘New State’ in the elections.

We oppose the ban on the CPU not out of support for its reactionary, nationalist politics but in the interests of freedom and democracy in Ukraine itself. We share the concerns of human rights organisations that have strongly criticised both the judgement and the law upon which it was based.

Amnesty International has condemned it as a betrayal of the aspirations of the EuroMaidan rebellion, John Dalhuisen, Director for Europe stating: “Expressing your opinion without fear of prosecution, particularly if that opinion is contrary to the views held by those in position of power, was one of the principles behind the EuroMaidan protests. Snuffing out the Communist party flies in the face of these ideals.” Whilst Volodymyr Yavorsky, of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union condemned it as contravening the European Convention on Human Rights.  Halya Coynash of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group also condemned the court in backing the Justice Ministry, noting: “It may well be that the SBU [Security Service] can prove that there is a need in democratic Ukraine to ban the Communist Party on the grounds of danger to national security. Neither it nor the Justice Ministry have thus far done so.” The Council of Europe’s Venice Commission has slammed the law on propaganda of communist and Nazi regimes for failings which could infringe people’s right to freedom of expression and of association. Despite meeting the Ukrainian authorities, to date there has been are no changes in the ‘de-communisation’ laws or their application.

Myth and Reality
Whilst opposing the ban on the CPU, the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign disassociates itself from a campaign in the UK which aligns itself directly with the reactionary politics of the CPU. This does not help the Ukrainian labour movement, democratic socialists or human rights in Ukraine.

It is a fact that first restrictions on the CPU took place in the area controlled by the Russian client Donetsk Peoples Republic. Despite its loyalty to the regime, it excluded the local CPU, rebranded as ‘Communist Party of the Donetsk Peoples Republic’, from taking part in elections in October 2014 and again in October 2015.  It is revealing that the neo-Stalinist parties in the UK have been silent about this ban by authorities that they defend.

That there has been no popular upsurge in defence of the CPU is something that cannot be explained simply by the presence of far-right organisations or embellished accounts of repression. It is true that war in parts of the East and annexation of Crimea, has damaged its main base of support. However it is a fact that for a great many Ukrainians, including trade unionists and socialists, the CPU is utterly discredited.  Support for the CPU was plummeting long before the war. In the last Parliamentary elections before the EuroMaidan the CPU won no MPs in single member districts, dropping to 13.2% of the proportional vote, whilst CPU leader Petro Symonenko dropped to 3.5% in the 2010 Presidential election.  This reality reinforces our view that it is for the Ukrainian people to judge the record of the CPU not the courts

Read the full statement here:

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