Assets Seized of Main Opposition Party in Ukraine

Assets Seized of Main Opposition Party in Ukraine

Assets SEIZED In Shocking Government Crackdown

( – In the early 1990s, the Soviet Union fell and left a massive regional vacuum. For decades, Ukraine’s identity was closely tied with Russia, and they shared mutual interests as part of the communist state. After its downfall, the Wilson Center noted that Ukraine materialized as a very pluralistic society, but also a volatile one. For decades, the country struggled between emerging as a democratic state and overcoming the post-Soviet distribution of resources and power led by oligarchs.

The contradictions between the two conflicting Ukrainian experiences led to two significant political cycles of democratic reforms and responses from the wealthy oligarchs threatened by them. In each instance, public protests erupted, resulting in regime change and ultimately resetting the cycle. The most recent occurred with the election of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Despite the international portrayal of defending democracy, new actions may show that old tensions still exist.

Ukraine Bans Opposition Party

In March, authorities in Kyiv suspended the operations of the For Life (OPPL) party after Russia invaded the country. In May, Zelenskyy signed legislation that would allow government authorities to ban any political party that challenged the government’s response to Russia’s invasion. On Monday, June 20, the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice announced on Facebook that the eight Administrative Court of Appeals banned the opposition political party and seized its property, assets, and finances.

The OPPL was the second largest political party in Ukraine and the leading opposition group to Zelenskyy’s Servant of the People Party. In 2021, polls indicated that OPPL surpassed the Servant of the People’s Party as the most popular in the country. Still, some saw the OPPL as a Russian fifth column, meaning it was a tool of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukrainian authorities accused opposition party leaders of having formal ties to Russia and labeled the OPPL as anti-Ukrainian. On Facebook, the Ministry of Justice said the party actively sought to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty.

Opposition Leader Caught Fleeing to Russia?

Viktor Medvedchuk has led the OPPL since 2018. He was a wealthy businessman who said Ukraine should have better relations with Russia and saw the election of Zelenskyy as a bad sign for Ukraine. In May 2021, Ukrainian authorities placed Medvedchuk under arrest for allegations of treason after Zelenskyy allegedly began harshly punishing citizens for dissent.

On April 12, Ukrainian Security Service arrested Medvedchuk on suspicion he was attempting to flee the country, and the authorities are holding him at an undisclosed location. The OPPL leader has previously denied that he was a traitor, politically motivated, or pro-Russian.

Proponents of the OPPL can appeal the Appeals Court’s decision to the Ukrainian Supreme Court within 20 days.

Could This Happen Here?

Actions taken during times of war often bear no resemblance to what would happen during peacetime. Historically, the US certainly isn’t above making drastic decisions based on who may or may not be collaborating with the enemy. However, silencing the opposition is often a sign that there’s a power struggle or problems with leadership and it’s certainly not a typical democratic course of action. The question is, are we starting to see opposing viewpoints silenced here in this country? Are social and mainstream media outlets throttling conservatives? It sure seems like it, and it can certainly be a slippery slope.

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