KIEV, May 5 (RIA Novosti) – Members of the Ukrainian parliament from the right-wing Svoboda party have moved to ban all Russia-associated symbols, including the black-and-orange St. George ribbons adopted by pro-federalization supporters in the country.
The move came just days after a neo-Nazi gang killed scores of pro-referendum protesters in a fire in Odessa.
According to Ukraine’s UNIAN news agency, the bill seeks to “outlaw the use of any state symbols of the Russian Federation, unrecognized republics or St. George ribbons, by individuals as well as on official buildings, self-administration buildings, company offices, organizations and institutions, disregarding the form of ownership.”
The new draft law stipulates criminal charges against those who violate the ban, described in the bill as “extremism instigators and separatists,” not including sports or cultural events outside the protest spectrum.
The St. George’s ribbon, formerly a military decoration in the Russian Empire, was first sported in Kiev’s Independence Square as a handful of protesters sought to rival the nascent nationalist movement. Since the coup in February, the ranks of those proud to wear the ornament, associated with valor on the battlefield and the defeat of fascism, have swelled as resistance to the regime has spread east and south across Ukraine.