Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

President Zelenskyy Bans Opposition Parties in Ukraine

On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced a ban on at least 11 opposition parties under the guise that they have links to Russia. This amounts to censorship, and is stirring up even more Russophobia.

Facebook Twitter Share

In a video released in the early hours of Sunday morning, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reported that the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine had decided to suspend the activities of at least eleven opposition parties. These include The Opposition Platform for Life, Shariy Party, Nashi, Opposition Bloc, Left Opposition, Union of Left Forces, State, Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, Socialist Party of Ukraine, Socialists Party, and Volodymyr Saldo Bloc, among others.

Zelenskyy claims that these parties have ties to Russia, and said, “Any activity of politicians aimed at splitting or collaborating will not succeed.” His move amounts to censorship of the political opposition, and stirs up both Ukrainian nationalism and Russiaphobia, both of which have increased in recent years, especially since the beginning of the war and in particular under the influence of far-right and neo-Nazi organizations like the Azov Battalion.

“Given the full-scale war waged by the Russian Federation and the ties of some political structures with this state, any activity of a number of political parties during the martial law is suspended,” Zelenskyy argued. The Ministry of Justice has been instructed to “immediately take comprehensive measures to prohibit the activities of these political parties in the prescribed manner,” he added. In Ukraine, martial law was declared on February 24, the day the Russian invasion began.

Zelenskyy, who is the founder and leader of the Servant of the People party, stated that “now everyone must look after the interests of our State.” He continued, “I want to remind all politicians from any camp: wartime shows very well the meanness of personal ambitions of those who try to put their own ambitions, their own party or career above the interests of the state, the interests of the people.”

Zelenskyy’s new policy comes as talks between Russia and Ukraine stalled after a potential 14-point agreement was announced last week, and Russian troops continue advancing and attacking several cities, particularly in the east and south of Ukraine.

The magnitude of this political censorship and persecution is serious. For instance, one of the banned parties, the Opposition Platform for Life, has 10 percent of the seats in the Supreme Council, Ukraine’s unicameral parliament.

Zelenskyy’s real objective is to do away with all political opposition, regardless of whether or not it has verifiable links to Moscow. The regime’s aim is to ban and persecute all those who question the government’s nationalist and pro-Western policies. That is why the parties targeted by Zelenskyy range from those who refuse Ukraine’s accession to NATO or the European Union, to all parties that have any kind of leftist, center-left, or even socialist connotation, even as part of their name.

The ban on these political parties represents a repressive domestic policy against any kind of opposition. The move is  a direct alignment with the nationalist and extreme right forces that are stirring up an increasingly strong anti-Russian sentiment. This is stoking hatred towards the Russian-speaking population, which makes up 30 percent of the country’s inhabitants. In fact the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine himself, Oleksiy Danilov, wrote on his Facebook account: “This decision will be impossible for the actions of those cooperative politicians who throughout their activities confess the Russian position and share the fascist ideology of the ‘Russian world.’”

“There is an external enemy and there are representatives of it in the country,” he concluded. “This fifth column must cease to exist.” Danilov’s comments put the life of any political opponent at risk.

In the face of Putin’s reactionary invasion of Ukraine, the Western media have portrayed Zelenskyy as a hero, democrat, conciliator, and pacifist. Their objective has been, among other things, to contrast him with the Putinist autocracy which, for years, has been proscribing and persecuting the opposition and today imprisons thousands of Russians who protest the war. The decision to ban and persecute the opposition inside Ukraine begins to cast doubt on the image of Zelenskyy invented by the media.

Originally published in Spanish on March 21 in La Izquierda Diario.

Translated by Sou Mi

Facebook Twitter Share

Juan Andrés Gallardo

Juan is a journalist from Buenos Aires and the editor of the international section of our Argentinian sister site La Izquierda Diario.

Twitter

Europe

Matteo Salvini, Silvio Berlusconi and Giorgia Meloni at the centre-right coalition's closing rally in Italy.

Right-Wing Coalition Wins Italian Elections amid Record-Low Turnout

Amid record-low turnout, Italy’s right-wing coalition won in the country’s snap election this weekend. Ultra-right-wing politician Giorgia Meloni is now set to be the new prime minister. But forming a stable government that lasts five years will be difficult.

Giacomo Turci

September 27, 2022
A postal workers' strike outside Mount Pleasant Royal Mail sorting office in London on August 26, 2022

Britain in Strike Fever after Queen’s State Funeral

After the state funeral of Elizabeth II in the United Kingdom, several sectors are preparing to strike on October 1. The coming workers’ struggles and the fight against the anti-union laws will be a key moment of class struggle in Britain.

Dan Kedem

September 27, 2022
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council via video link at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia September 23, 2022.

With Mobilization of Reservists and Nuclear Threats, Putin Prepares for Prolonged War

Russian President Putin announced the mobilization of 300,000 reservists and raised the threat of nuclear war. The move exposes the political interests behind the war in Ukraine and their geopolitical prospects.

Claudia Cinatti

September 26, 2022
Russian protester being arrested by Russian police.

Mass Arrests in Russia during Nationwide Anti-War Mobilizations

Nationwide protests were called in Russia on Saturday against the war and against Putin’s recent announcement to mobilize reservists. Demonstrators were met with mass arrests.

MOST RECENT

All That's Left, the podcast from Left Voice.

#AllThatsLeftPod: Elections in Brazil

In this episode of the podcast, we talk about the upcoming general elections in Brazil, including Bolsonaro’s legacy, what a Lula presidency would look like, and what the tasks are for the Left going forward.

Left Voice

September 27, 2022
Iranian women and some men protest while holding images of a woman who was killed in police custody.

Support the Protests in Iran by Opposing Sanctions

Feminists in Iran are waging a powerful struggle against the Iranian regime. Leftists in the U.S. can support the protests by opposing sanctions, which disproportionately harm Iranian women and workers.

Sam Carliner

September 26, 2022
Woman holds a yellow sign that says "Nueva constitucion" in black text and another person is holding a yellow sign behind her that reads "No violencia clasista"

‘Boric Has Strengthened the Right-Wing Opposition’: Interview with a Chilean Socialist

In Chile, the illusion of winning the battle against neoliberalism in parliament has been shattered. We interviewed Chilean socialist Dauno Totoro about the recent rejection of a proposed constitution and the need to fight for a revolutionary, internationalist, and socialist Left.

Left Voice

September 25, 2022
Italian far-right leader Giorgia Meloni gives a speech, an Italian flag covers the podium

Elections in Italy amid Political Crisis: Interview with an Italian Socialist

The right wing is expected to win in Italy’s snap elections on Sunday. An Italian socialist explains the origins of the current political crisis, the rise of the right wing, and the tasks for the Left.

Left Voice

September 21, 2022