More restrictions on political parties in Ukraine

By Brian Williams
May 1, 2023

In a new attack on political rights, draft laws have been submitted in the Ukrainian parliament that would disqualify members of any of the Ukrainian parties that President Volodymyr Zelensky government officials designate as “pro-Russian” from being elected to legislative bodies at all levels.

According to the draft law introduced March 6, “A citizen who, at the time of the introduction of martial law [Feb. 24, 2022] in Ukraine, was a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, a member of a local council or a village, town or city mayor elected from a party whose activities are prohibited” cannot be nominated as a candidate and elected as a deputy.

Another proposal specifies that this prohibition include candidates for president of Ukraine, government ministers and other senior civil servants.

On March 20 another bill was submitted that would extend the purge to people serving in the current government and that they be “barred from running in future elections,” Yevgeniy Zakharov, a central leader of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, reported.

These proposals would further restrict the functioning of 11 political parties that Zelensky banned last May on allegations of having “links with Russia.” This included the Opposition Platform for Life, which holds 44 seats in the 450-seat parliament, as well as a number of smaller left parties, like the Social Movement, which supports Ukraine’s fight to defeat Moscow’s invasion. In fact, most of these opposition parties have joined in backing Ukraine’s fight to defend its independence and many advocate protection of workers and their unions while the war is being fought.

Barring these political parties and ousting their elected representatives from office is part of a broader drive by Ukraine’s capitalist rulers to take advantage of Moscow’s assault to attack the rights of working people. This includes anti-labor laws pushed by the Zelensky government, which allow bosses to rip up contracts workers won setting wages and conditions, impose longer hours, bar strikes and protests and give bosses the power to fire workers without notice.