Ukraine Suspended Activities of Opposition Political Parties

By decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, any activity of a number of political parties was suspended in the country during martial law. These are oppositional parties accused of collaboration with Russia.  

For the period of martial law in Ukraine, the activities of 11 oppositional political parties were suspended, taking into account their alleged connection with Russia, RBC reported. This decision was announced by the country’s president Volodymyr Zelensky and applied to:

  1. “Opposition Platform – For Life”,
  2. “Party of Shariy”,
  3. “Nashi” (“Ours”),
  4. “Opposition Bloc”,
  5. “Left Opposition”,
  6. “Union of Leftists”,
  7. “Derzhava”,
  8. “Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine”,
  9. “Socialist Party of Ukraine”,
  10. “Socialists Party”,
  11. “Volodymyr Saldo Block”.

Zelensky said that the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine was instructed to immediately ensure the cessation of the activities of these parties.

“Any activity of politicians aimed at splitting or collaboration will not be successful, but will receive a tough response,” Zelensky said on March 20.

As reminded, earlier, on March 15, Zelensky signed a law on criminal liability for cooperation with Russia as an “aggressor country,” DailyAfisha states. According to it, the guilty person can face up to 15 years in prison if he denies “military aggression” against Ukraine and publicly calls for cooperation with Russia, conducts propaganda in educational institutions in favor of Russia, takes part in “illegal elections and referendums”, as well as organizes and conducts political events in cooperation with Russia.

As Lenta reports, the leader of the “Party of Shariy”, the opposition blogger Anatoly Shariy, assessed Zelensky’s move as the actions of a “dictator on a minimum wage.” He added that he would continue to help people along with the rest of the party members while the president “is engaged in PR and video recording.”

Political persecution of the opposition in Ukraine

Earlier, it became known that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) detained several opposition journalists and public figures in Kiev against the background of the Russian military operation, such as the Kiev writer and journalist, Yan Taksyur, who disappeared on March 10, or the political scientist and publicist Dmitry Dzhangirov, who stopped being in contact with his close ones.

As was told to Lenta by the son of Taksyur, Ilya, recently, the Ukrainian special services came to the journalist’s home, began a search in the apartment and stole money. At the same time, the writer was not charged. They also refused to disclose his location to relatives.

In turn, Dzhangirov, as lawyer Tatiana Montyan reported, was captured by Ukrainian security forces on March 8. According to her, the political scientist deliberately did not want to leave Kiev. Soon, uncharacteristic for him posts began to appear on his social media pages.

On March 18, the Lychakiv District Court of Lviv arrested in absentia the head of the political council of the Opposition Platform — For Life, Viktor Medvedchuk, who escaped from house arrest after the start of the Russian military operation. The politician is a suspect in the case of high treason, violation of the laws and customs of war, assistance to terrorism, illegal appropriation of mineral deposits in the Crimea.

On March 12, the State Bureau of Investigation of Ukraine decided to put another member of the same party, Ilya Kiva, on the international wanted list. The court has already granted the petition of the investigator for particularly important cases and in absentia elected the ex-deputy a measure of restraint in the form of detention. Kiva, who has repeatedly criticized the current Ukrainian government, is also suspected of treason as Medvedchuk.

According to RT, Zelensky’s administration is also systematically engaged in restricting the work of the media. On February 11, 2022, the authorities imposed sanctions against the NASH TV channel, founded by opposition politician, Yevgeny Muraev, a former deputy of the Verkhovna Rada. The Nashi party headed by him was on the blacklist.

Also, back in February 2021, under the pretext of combating the propaganda of the “aggressor country”, the Kiev authorities also imposed sanctions against 112 Ukraine, ZIK and NewsOne TV channels. Later, under the same pretext, restrictive measures were extended to the publication “STRANA.uа”.

If Zelensky revealed he strives to Russophobia, he would never have become president, leading Russian scientist says

Thus, all the channels that promoted the agenda, which was close to the south-eastern regions of the country, disappeared from the broadcasting grid. From the experts’ who talked with RT point of view, the current bans on the activities of the political opposition only continue Zelensky’s course of consolidating personal power.

“Zelensky, in the fight against his political opponents, is trying to label them traitors, although, in fact, it is he who betrays the Ukrainian people, because he does not work for the Ukrainian state, but fulfills the will of completely different parties,” said Vladimir Shapovalov, the Deputy Director of the Institute of History and Politics of the Moscow State University.

According to him, the media purges were aimed at depriving Zelensky’s opponents of the right to publicly express their position.

“All opposition mass media were liquidated. Sanctions were imposed against Medvedchuk, which is an amazing and unprecedented case in history when a state imposes sanctions against its citizen. Then there was a criminal trial. Now, in a situation where the regime is already losing power, Zelensky is nevertheless trying to use its remnants to completely destroy the opposition and outlaws 11 political parties that have support in Ukrainian society and express the interests of the Russian-speaking south-east of Ukraine,” the analyst explained.

He drew attention to the fact that the Russian language, Russian-language media, and now parties that enjoy the support of the predominantly Russian-speaking population were actually banned in Ukraine.

Russia has already reacted to this decision of the Kiev authorities. Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev, jokingly noted that the Ukrainian president “finally figured out the subtleties of true democracy.”

“The most democratic president of modern Ukraine has taken another step towards Western ideals of democracy. By the decision of the National Defense and Security Council, he completely banned any activity of opposition parties[…] We don’t need them like that! Well done! Keep it up,” Medvedev said.

In turn, Vladimir Olenchenko, the Senior Researcher at the Center for European Studies of the IMEMO RAS (Russian Academy of Sciences), believes that Zelensky continues to demonstrate his professional aptitude as a politician with such steps.

“When he presented his candidacy for the presidential election, he promoted completely different political slogans, and the Ukrainian electorate expected from him not a ban on political activity, not Russophobia, not military actions, not nationalism, not fratricidal war. And he completely deceived them. If he had honestly said that he was striving for this, he would never have become president of Ukraine,” Olenchenko concluded.

Ru-Main, 21.03.2022 

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