In its latest attempt to separate itself from Russia, and from its own past, Ukraine has taken steps to outright ban the Communist Party, according to multiple reports. A court in the capital, Kiev, brought down the ruling Wednesday based on an appeal from the Justice Ministry, which charged the party with a host of offenses, including "incitement of ethnic hatred" and "encroachment on human rights and freedoms," RT reported.
In particular, the lawsuit that was filed last year accused the Communist Party of “amending the constitutional order by force, violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, propaganda of war, violence, incitement of ethnic hatred, encroachment on human rights and freedoms.” In addition, the Justice Ministry alleged that party members “systematically call for the formation of military groups.”
The Communist Party of Ukraine said the ruling came despite arguments advanced by its defense lawyers, according to the Moscow Times.
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The chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation issued a statement in defense of the Ukrainian Communists before Wednesday's ruling, saying that "anti-Communist hysteria continues to swamp Ukraine" and "political and judicial pressure on the Communists of Ukraine met the active protest of the world community."
Ukraine has been steadily removing symbols of its Communist since the overthrow of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in early 2014, including the September 2014 toppling of a statue of Soviet founder Vladimir I. Lenin. This past August, a plaque in Kiev that honored a Soviet World War II fighter was also removed. In July, the Justice Ministry banned the Communist Party of Ukraine from taking part in elections, and two months earlier, the country banned all Soviet symbols and outlawed expressing any sympathy for or in the name of the Communist Party.