August 10, 2022

Ukraine bans pro-Russian opposition political party

The Eighth Administrative Court of Appeals in Lviv, Ukraine, announced on Monday that it had banned the opposition Platform for Life (OPFL) party, traditionally Ukraine’s largest pro-Russian political party, from operate on the territory of the country.

The decision, announced on the appeals court’s Facebook page, said all party assets and property in Ukraine would be immediately confiscated and handed over to the state. The court’s decision follows a decision by the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, that all pro-Russian parties in Ukraine would be banned after the February 24 Russian invasion.

“The court complied with the requests of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine,” read the court statement. “The activities of the political party ‘Opposition Platform—For Life’ have been banned; the funds and other assets of the party…have been transferred to state ownership”.

Following the dissolution of the party, it is possible that the approximately 4,000 local elected officials who had been elected as party members will also be forced to resign from their positions. Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers, which leads the country’s executive, has reportedly proposed to the Verkhovna Rada that the ban on the OPFL be used as “the basis for depriving members of local councils of mandates”, according to the Ukrainian government. Press Agency.

Prior to the court ruling, all twenty-three OPFL national representatives in the Verkhovna Rada voluntarily left the party after its initial ban. The defected lawmakers have formed a second political party, the Platform for Life and Peace, which remains committed to the interests of the Russian minority in Ukraine but has publicly condemned the Russian invasion and distanced itself from openly pro-Russian members of the OPFL, including former leader Viktor Medvedchuk.

In addition to banning the OPFL, the Eighth Administrative Court also banned nine other pro-Russian political parties, including the Shariy Party and the Opposition Bloc.

During its existence, the OPFL claimed to represent the interests of ethnolinguistic Russians within Ukraine and opposed Ukraine’s integration into the European Union in favor of rapprochement with Russia . The party has drawn most of its support from the predominantly Russian regions of eastern Ukraine, which have historically backed ethnic Russian and pro-Russian candidates. In 2019, Volodymyr Zelensky, a native Russian speaker who supported integration between the Ukrainian and Russian populations of Ukraine, received overwhelming support in eastern Ukraine while incumbent President Petro Poroshenko received comparatively more voice in the west.

Trevor Filseth is a news and foreign affairs editor for the National interest.

Picture: Reuters.