Ukraine bans Soviet-era symbols

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Friday enacted laws banning Soviet symbols and communist-era propaganda, his office said, after the measures drew strong Russian criticism when they were approved by parliament last month.

The measures come as Ukraine’s pro-Western government seeks a complete break with its Soviet past and as its soldiers fight rebels in its east allegedly supported by Russia.

The laws “prohibit Soviet symbols, condemn the communist regime, open the Soviet special services archives” and officially recognise the role of a nationalist group that fought for Ukraine’s independence in the mid-20th century.

Besides angering Russia, which has called the move “totalitarian,” the measures rushed through parliament in April also exacerbated tensions with pro-Moscow rebels after lawmakers approved them.

The package of laws bans Soviet flags and means Soviet-era Lenin statues will have to be knocked down and town squares renamed across the country of 45 million people. The laws also ban Nazi propaganda in the ex-Soviet republic.

Penalties for violating the ban range from five to 10 years.

Full article: Ukraine bans Soviet-era symbols (France 24)

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