On March 20th Volodymyr Oleksandrovyč Zelens’kyj extended martial law in Ukraine by 30 days, starting on the 26th of this month. As part of this legislation he signed a decree on unified broadcasting for all Ukrainian TV channels under martial law. Also on 20 March, it was decided to block the activity of opposition parties.
Information about the operation of the Russian armed forces must not be leaked to the citizens under any circumstances. The media now exclusively report news and stories about the invincibility of the Ukrainian army. All TV news channels must now air a 24-hour marathon with the title: TEDINI NOVINI #UArazom.
With regard to parties, 11 political formations were suspended. The country’s National Security and Defence Council deemed them linked to Russia and therefore illegal. The media announcement came during yet another video message, in which it was announced that the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine had ‘suspended’ all activities of a number of political parties during martial law.
The list includes: ‘Platform of the Opposition, for Life’ (Оппозиционной платформы за жизнь); Shariya Party (Партии Шария), Nashi, Opposition Bloc, Left Opposition, Union of Left Forces, Derzhava, Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, Socialist Party of Ukraine, Socialists and Bloc Volodymyr Saldo. Zelenskyy reiterated that the parties were banned allegedly because of their ties with Russia.
The first two are very important, Opposition Platform, for Life was founded in 1999 and took its current form in 2018 represents the Russian minority in Ukraine. Its leader is a Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Volodymyrovych Medvedchuk, who is currently accused of high treason and embezzlement. Specifically, state authorities accuse both Medvedchuk and his business partner, Taras Kozak, of transferring oil and gas production licences located in the Sea of Azov to Russia following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, which was supported at the time by the peninsula’s population. According to the prosecutor, the man faces up to 15 years in prison.
The Shariy Party also known as the Shariy Party (Ukrainian: Shariy Party; also known as Shariy’s Political Party and Anatoly Shariy’s European Bloc) is a Ukrainian political party founded by Ukrainian journalist and blogger Anatoliy Shariy in 2015. Officially, the party is positioned as “libertarian”. It is declared a rapprochement with the European Union and a non-bloc status. It opposes the land market, the legalisation of soft drugs and prostitution. The affair of the group’s leader and founder is marked by a long dispute with Zelenskyj’s party. On 4 July 2019, Shariy stated in his video that his party was opposing the pro-presidential Servant of the People party, due to the fact that Vladimir Zelensky did not live up to expectations. In the winter of 2020, a scandal broke out against the head of the party, Antonina Beloglazova: a 2016 video was published in which Beloglazova, in particular, congratulated the inhabitants of Crimea on their “return to Russia” and expressed a desire to meet with Vladimir Putin and members of the far-right National Liberation Movement.” On Sharia Beloglazov’s initiative, she was removed as party leader, while, according to him, “Beloglazova remains in my circle, remains a person close to us”. Since May 2020, Shariy’s wife Olga Bondarenko has become the party leader.
As noted by Servant of the People MP Olga Sovgirya, the final decision on the ban will be made by the court, however, given the systematic persecution of the opposition even before the start of the military operation (Medvedchuk, NASH TV channel, etc.), the further fate of free speech in Ukraine is already clear.
Also as a result of the extension of martial law, requisitions of surpluses have begun in Ukraine: the property of legal persons, necessary to meet the needs of our country, is seized in the ports of Odessa. We are talking first of all about food. And still the forced alienation or seizure of property, according to the order of the commander-in-chief, General Valery Zaluzhny, should be provided by the military command together with the Odessa regional military administration by 23 March this year. Relevant documents are drafted in the course of the seizure and evaluation of the assets. Compensation for the cost, according to customs declarations, will be made later. The seized foodstuffs – meat, flour, cereals, fruit, vegetables, sweets, water, oil and others – will be delivered to all regions.