Ukraine Bans Opposition Party, Seizes Assets

Ukrainian court takes property and funds from opposing political party.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice announced on Facebook Monday that “Opposition Platform—For Life” (OPPL), President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s primary political opponent, had been shut down and its assets, money, and property transferred to the state.
  • “According to the court decision, it was decided to transfer all property, funds and other assets of this party to the ownership of the state. This also applies to regional, city and district organizations of this political party, as well as primary organizations and other structural entities,” said Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Justice Valeriya Kolomiets.
  • The ministry was able to strike at their political opponents in this way because of a law passed last month by parliament that enabled it to go to court to seek a ban on parties whose activities are deemed a threat to Ukraine.
  • OPPL, led by Viktor Medvedchuk, was the second largest party in Ukraine’s parliament, as 2021 polls showed that it surpassed President Zelenskyy’s “Servant of the People” party as most popular.
  • The Ukrainian government also noted that its courts have so far banned 11 so-called “pro-Russian” parties suspected of acting to “undermine the sovereignty” of the country.
  • Medvedchuk, a businessman, has repeatedly denied such accusations against him as being “politically motivated,” and insists he is not pro-Russian but merely wants what was best for the Ukrainian people.
ZELENSKYY SIMPLIFY’S PROCESS FOR BANNING POLITICAL OPPONENTS:
  • On May 14, President Zelenskyy signed a bill into law that simplifies the process of banning political parties deemed to be “anti-Ukrainian.”
  • The law bans the operations and assets of any party that opposes or challenges the official position of the government and the court ruling cannot be appealed.
BACKGROUND:
  • Opposition Platform—For Life had its operations suspended in March after being accused of working with Russia and being “anti-Ukrainian.”
  • Since April 12, when the OPPL leader was captured by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), Medvedchuk’s wife, Oksana Marchenko, has been pleading with world leaders to organize her husband’s release or exchange and has accused the SBU of beating and torturing him.
  • Russia launched its “military operation” against Ukraine on Feb 24, alleging that Ukraine was committing a “genocide” on Russians and pro-Russian Ukrainians in Donbass.