Use of Communist symbols in political aims banned in Moldova

The bill prohibiting the use of Communist symbols in political aims went into effect in Moldova this Monday.

"Wearing a red T-shirt with the emblem of the hammer and sickle is not against the law. But if this symbol is used by a political party or during rallies, this will entail a warning fine for the organizers. Should the party fail to obey the ban, it can be outlawed," Christine Melnick, the spokesperson for the Justice Ministry, told reporters.

According to observers, the bill is aimed, above all, against the oppositional Party of Communists which has the biggest faction in parliament, about a third of the deputies. The Communists have already protested against the bill to the Constitutional Court. "We are not going to give up the hammer and sickle. Unless the parliamentary decision is annulled, we will turn to the European Court of Human Rights and even to higher instances, if needed," said ex-president of the republic Vladimir Voronin, the leader of the Party of Communists.

The controversial bill was passed in July 2012 by the majority of the republic’s ruling coalition Alliance for European Integration that includes the Democratic, Liberal and Liberal-Democratic parties. Restrictions were introduced on the basis of the conclusions of the commission for the study of the totalitarian Communist regime, instituted earlier by Mihai Ghimpu, who was acting president in 2010. Researchers suggested banning Communist symbols, opening a number of museums of "Soviet occupation", and publishing a school textbook about "crimes of Communists." It was also suggested to set up a commission to calculate the damage from the Communists’ rule.

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