Ukraine bans Soviet symbols and criminalises sympathy for communism

[From the Guardian]

New laws also honour controversialist nationalist groups that committed ethnic cleansing or allied with the Nazis for part of second world war

Two new laws that ban communist symbols while honouring nationalist groups that collaborated with the Nazis have come into effect in Ukraine, raising concerns that Kiev could be stifling free speech and further fragmenting the war-torn country in the rush to break ties with its Soviet past.

The first law “on the condemnation of the communist and Nazi totalitarian regimes” forbids both Soviet and Nazi symbols, making something as trivial as selling a USSR souvenir, or singing the Soviet national hymn or the Internationale, punishable by up to five years in prison for an individual and up to 10 years in prison for members of an organisation.

It also makes it a criminal offence to deny the “criminal character of the communist totalitarian regime of 1917-1991 in Ukraine” in the media or elsewhere.

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