Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has given Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy the inertia to dismantle pro-Russian political parties in the country, enabling it to claim several legal victories in the past two weeks based on a law that passed parliament in May.
Ukrainian courts, bolstered by new powers passed in a May 3 vote, have been busy banning one party after another, including, in the past two days, Nashi, the Communist Party of Ukraine, the Opposition Party For Life (OPFL) and a number of newly formed parties that were created in occupied territories.
The developments come after a response to pro-Russian elected leaders siding with Russia in occupied territories in the east and south and other allegations of collaboration.
The law added a new clause to the Code of Administrative Legal Proceedings in Ukraine, which defines the role and powers of administrative courts in Ukraine. The amendment granted Ukraine’s circuit courts the power to disband political parties under certain conditions.
Among those were if a court finds that the party or members of were "excusing, stating as lawful, denying" or "glorifying" acts of war against Ukraine. Moreover, if the party is found to be using certain words or "narratives" when describing the war in its political discourse, it could be judged unlawful by a circuit court. Words like "rebellion," "rebels," and "civil war" are mentioned in the new code.
Such a development has been the aim of numerous pro-Ukrainian politicians and administrations, but attempts to pass the law had been gridlocked in parliament and the courts.
But after the Feb. 24 invasion, political sentiment turned quickly, and it easily won passage in May.
In March, Zelenskyy declared martial law to prohibit any activity of pro-Russian parties for the duration of the emergency. The deputies belonging to the parties, however, kept their seats.
Recent polling showed 86% support for the new law.
That comes after Mariupol Deputy Mayor Vadym Boychenko accused nine members of the regional OPFL chapter of collaborating with Russians to destroy key infrastructure in the first seven days of the siege of the city.
“The Russians knew where to shoot. The traitors were giving them the coordinates. Every piece of critical infrastructure that we had was destroyed in the first seven days,” Boychenko said in an interview with BBC.
According to Boychenko, he didn’t know the locations of some of the power sources in Mariupol. Russians, however, destroyed all of them in the first few days.
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