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Ukraine ramps up its de-Sovietisation efforts in face of Russian invasion

It has been 30 years since Ukraine has become an independent nation of its own for the first time since the existence of the Kyivan Rus. But only now do the Ukrainian authorities purge all the final remnants of the communist past.

According to the Ukrinform news agency, citing a Facebook post from Ruslan Stefanchuk, the Chairman of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s unicameral parliament), President Volodymy Zelenskyy signed into law an act that will thoroughly cleanse Ukrainian legal books from any remainders of Soviet-era acts. 1,200 provisions are to be removed from all acts and codes that currently are part of Ukrainian law.

The changes are intended to be comprehensive, encompassing the Labour Code, the Housing Code, and the Code of Administrative Offences. All references to the “victory of the Great October Revolution”, to the implementation of “Lenin’s ideas of building a Communist society”, and to the programmes developed by the USSR’s Communist Party. The same party that was responsible for a state-engineered famine, which claimed millions of Ukrainian lives during the 1930s Holodomor.

All privileges that were previously awarded to members of Komsomol (Soviet Communist party’s youth organisation), Communist party members, and other “comrades”, as Stefanchuk calls them, are to be scrapped as well. Chairman Stefanchuk also stressed, that it was only now that these sweeping de-Sovietisation measures were put in effect:

“I thank all my fellow MPs who helped draft this law and voted in [favour] of its adoption. Together, we have done what MPs have failed to do over the past 30 years of independence,” Mr Stefanchuk wrote in his post.

Kyiv authorities to rename streets referencing USSR, Russia, Belarus

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This would be just another in a string of measures aimed at eradicating Ukraine’s past as part of the Russian, and later the Soviet, empires. In late April, the Kyiv municipal authorities decided to change the names of hundreds of streets and squares, as well as to remove dozens of monuments, which celebrated the supposed kinship between the Ukrainian and the Russian peoples.

Meanwhile, in temporarily Russian-occupied territories…

Ukrainian residents of the pro-Russian breakaway republics illegally established in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in Eastern Ukraine are reportedly now being forced to apply for passports issued by the aforementioned unrecognised entities. The alternative is facing repression.

According to Ukrainian military intelligence, these measures are also imposed on the people who lived in areas recently occupied by the Russian forces over the past weeks, as well as those deported from other areas occupied by the invaders. According to the reports from the occupied areas, “[the people] are forced to accept this, because that is the only way in which they can obtain paychecks in rubles, get groceries, and have access to healthcare.” The “authorities” summon the residents to inform them that failure to apply for the IDs issued by the Donetsk or Luhansk “People’s Republics” will result in repressions and them being deprived of means to support themselves.

Russia wants to enforce usage of rouble on Melitopol

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These are not the only measures taken by the occupying forces that are meant to force the local residents to become a part of the “Russkiy Mir” (Russian World or Russian Peace/Pax Russia). In Melitopol, in the occupied part of the Zaporizhzhia Region in the south of Ukraine, the occupiers are also enforcing the use of the ruble as currency and establishing Russian post offices.

In Nova Kakhovka, in the occupied Kherson Oblast they have re-erected a statue of Lenin, which was torn down during a wave of decommunisation following the illegal Russian annexation of Crimea and the onset of separatist, Russian-supported, war in the Donbas region.

A “referendum” was also supposed to be organised in the Kherson Region, immediately north of Russian-occupied Crimea Peninsula, which is almost entirely under the control of the invasion forces, but this appears to have been scrapped, either in the face of the massive popular opposition of the local residents or due to the announcement of the Ukrainian authorities, that any attempt to conduct such an illegal referendum will result in the collapse of peace talks.

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