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Ukraine's communists will take election fight to the European Court of Human Rights

THE Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) will file a complaint with the Supreme Court tomorrow over the ban on its leader Petro Symonenko (pictured) standing for president.

And Mr Symonenko warned that the party would take the fight further, all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.

The KPU general secretary said the Central Electoral Commission’s refusal to allow the party to participate showed “the concept of democracy for Ukraine is not applicable at all. There is a political dictatorship here, with only oligarchs, neonazis and organised crime bosses in power.”

Ukraine’s communists, who received 2.7 million votes (13 per cent) in the last free elections before the far-right Maidan coup of 2014, were banned from standing in elections by the Interior Ministry in 2015 following President Petro Poroshenko’s outlawing of communist symbols. 

But Mr Symonenko refused to be silenced, saying the authorities had banned his party because they feared the appeal of its proposals to democratise Ukraine and defuse the ongoing war with the Donbass region, where independent Donetsk and Lugansk “people’s republics” broke away from the rest of Ukraine following the far-right putsch in Kiev.

“Long ago we proposed the correct way to solve this problem,” he pointed out. “First, a communist president would negotiate in Ukraine — not in Brussels or Washington or Moscow. We would meet the representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk.” 

The KPU proposes autonomy for the regions and a withdrawal of Ukrainian troops to build trust. It would also stop the military’s use of neonazi paramilitaries such as the Azov and Aidan battalions, which are accused of war crimes in eastern Ukraine.

In a heartfelt interview Mr Symonenko noted that his parents’ graves were located in the Donbass and he has family there, but cannot visit because Kiev would charge him with treason.

The Ukrainian government accuses the KPU of collaborating with the armed anti-fascist resistance, but Mr Symonenko said that “our only support and assistance to the Donbass is helping the people of Ukraine to sober up” and to direct their anger at their oligarchic rulers rather than their fellow citizens.

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