Russia calls Ukraine ban on Soviet symbols 'totalitarian'

10th April 2015, Comments 0 comments

Russia accused Ukraine on Friday of using "totalitarian methods" in its ban on Soviet-era symbols and names.

"Kiev used truly totalitarian methods, attacking freedom of the press, opinion or conscience," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement, also accusing Ukraine of "rewriting history".

Ukraine's parliament voted on Thursday to ban communist-era and Nazi symbols in what supporters said was a bid to break with the country's tragic World War II past and Moscow's domination through most of the 20th century.

The measure, which was enacted quickly and with little debate, was criticised as likely to exacerbate tensions with pro-Moscow rebel forces in Ukraine's east.

The insurgents, who are alleged to operate with Russian military assistance, make a point of their attachment to the Russian-dominated Soviet era.

Russia said the law would "create divisions" and promote a "nationalist ideology".

The statement also homed in on the law's controversial reference to nationalist Ukrainian guerrillas in World War II as "patriots".

The Ukrainian Insurgent Army temporarily supported the invading Nazis before turning both on them and the Soviet army and ultimately being crushed by communist forces.

The foreign ministry said Ukraine was "betraying millions of veterans" and trying "to extinguish the collective memory of millions of Ukrainians."

© 2015 AFP

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