How in Ukraine People Are Jailed for Soviet Symbols, But Not Touched for SS Ones

In Lvov they want to send to prison a 19-year-old boy who walked around the city in a hat with a red star. As it turned out, he was reported to the police by a local deputy from “Golos”, who made a citizen’s arrest.

I.e., the stories with sentences given to people who exhibit Soviet symbols continue. At the same time, there is not a single sentence for those who march with Nazi symbols.

The Ukrainian “Strana” news agency tried to understand the details of the new scandal.

How a deputy from “Golos” brought a tourist to prison

Local police yesterday reported a “terrible” crime: a young guy from Kiev was walking around the city in a hat with earflaps with a Soviet-style cockade.

More precisely, he did not walk around, but sat in one of the cafes on Valovaya Street. That’s where the signal came from. A whole operational and investigative team went to the scene.

It turned out that the “criminal” is 19 years old.

The weapon of the crime – a hat-was seized from him and a criminal case was opened under Article 436-1. It promises up to five years in prison and confiscation of property for the production, distribution and propaganda of “totalitarian regimes” – communist and Nazi.

The police report indicates exactly this sanction of the article – i.e., the heaviest variation of it. Although it is obvious that it’s possible to penalise the guy only for “propaganda” – he was clearly not engaged in the manufacture, sale or distribution of symbols.

Lvov media told the details of this story. It turns out that the police were called by local student-journalist Igor Sholtys, who participated in the ATO. He also carried out “citizen’s arrest”. According to him, there were two guys from Kiev.

“I asked where he got this symbol. He said they bought it at a flea market because it was cold. He said that he didn’t know such symbolism is forbidden. We did explanatory work. It turned out that he is a Russian-speaking resident of Kiev,” Sholtys said.

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According to him, then the police were called to the scene, but one of the patrolmen “had frankly not pro-Ukrainian views”, which almost disrupted the entire “special operation”.

“We have also recorded his data, we will conduct explanatory work, because the person does not correspond to his competence at all,” Sholtys promised.

It is interesting that this activist in the local election passed from the party “Golos” in the Lvov united territorial community and became the youngest of the deputies there – he is 24 years old. Nevertheless, judging by his Facebook, he managed to fight in Donbass in the OUN battalion.

He also took part in the “Forum of Young Politicians”, one of the organisers of which was the former C14, today named “Society of the Future”.

Sholtys is a classic nationalist activist. He participated in rallies against the Minister of Education Sergey Shkarlet, called the boxer Vasily Lomachenko “mankurt” for his statements about Russia and so on.

How people in Ukraine are persecuted for communism

During the work of the law on the prohibition of symbols of “totalitarian regimes”, cases were initiated only on those who were seen with communist symbols. At the same time, the second part of the law – which is about Nazism – was not de facto implemented. Although there were plenty of examples of its exhibition.

The law allows to bring to justice even those who publish “wrong” images on social networks. The first sentence in Ukraine under Article 436-1 of the Criminal Code concerned precisely the promotion of communism. And also in Lvov.

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A verdict was handed down in April 2017 by the Galitsky Court (this is the same district where the guy in the hat with earflaps was detained). A third-year student of Lvov University published quotes of Vladimir Lenin on social networks. What – is not specified, but it is known that the guy was being followed by the SBU, which conducted a search at his home and took his computer. As well as the book “Kapital” by Karl Marx.

The court gave him 2.5 years, but with a delay of one year – and if there are no violations during this time, the term is canceled.

This was the result of the defendant’s deal with the investigation – i.e., the young man did not defend himself and pleaded guilty. But it is interesting that the first victim of the anti-communists was not an old man, but a very young one. Like, by the way, now – in the case of a hat with earflaps.

However, under Poroshenko, this did not surprise anyone. During his presidency, by the way, not only communist symbols were banned. In 2017, the Rada recognized the demonstration of the St. George’s Ribbon as a violation, setting fines and arrest for 15 days for its wearing.

However, sentences for Soviet symbols continued to be passed under Zelensky. And in his native Krivoy Rog too. In October 2019, a local resident-a simple window cleaner – received a year of probation for a T-shirt with the coat of arms of the USSR.

The man also signed an agreement with the prosecutor and thus avoided prison. It is interesting that the Dzerzhinsky District Court, which passed this sentence, is named after of the creator of the Cheka Felix Dzerzhinsky.

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In May 2020, in the homeland of Zelensky, a case was opened against a pensioner who put up leaflets with the words “Glory to the Red Army and the Russian soldier”.

In the same month, the case was opened against a villager from the Odessa region, who hung a red flag over his house for May Day.

Not a single sentence for SS Galicia

At the same time, nationalists who post Nazi symbols on social networks or march with them through the streets of cities are innocent in the eyes of Ukrainian Themis.

An attempt to ban the symbols of the SS “Galicia” division, created by the Nazis in the occupied territories from local collaborators, was indicative.

In May 2020, the District Administrative Court of Kiev overturned the decision of the Institute of National Memory, which stated that the symbolism of “Galicia” does not fall under the criminal article.

The decision was extremely cautious, but caused sharp displeasure from the ultra-right, who are used to marching annually with the flags of this formation. And after threats were made to the judges, the appeal overturned the court’s decision.

No cases are started in Ukraine not only for the symbolism of “Galicia”, but also for Nazi symbols like the swastika or the flag of the Third Reich. Although there are plenty of examples of such propaganda among street radicals.

Here, for example, is the nationalist and SBU agent Aleksey Tsymbalyuk, who publishes photos of Nazi symbols on Facebook and “sieg heils”.

Or radical activist Vitaly Regor. His social networks are full of photos of such content.


Viktoriya Venk

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