Human Rights in Ukraine


Selective application of a court ban


Oleh Kalashnikov

As reported, the planned demonstrations on Maidan Nezalezhnosti [Independence Square] to mark the seventh anniversary of the Orange Revolution on 22 November were banned by the Kyiv District Administrative Court. 

On 22 November there was instead something which Ukrainska Pravda calls “a surreal protest action by Oleh Kalashnikov”.  Kalashnikov’s claim to notoriety dates back a long way, to the scandalous attack on a TV filming crew outside the Verkhovna Rada.  The public and media outrage over this led eventually to the Party of the Regions man losing his place in parliament, but he has remained highly active.  He and his people, for example, held an alternative picket to that of Yulia Tymoshenko’s supporters outside the Pechersky District Court in Kyiv.

On 22 November it was quite noticeable that while the court ban on demonstrations was strictly enforced for anybody who looked obviously there to remember the Orange Revolution or to protest the present regime’s actions, Oleh Kalashnikov and his people were virtually guarded by the police and not removed from the Square over several hours of speeches and songs.

According to Ukrainska Pravda, it was pretty easy to get into Kalashnikov’s camp – you just needed a stamp on your hand.  The publication asserts that the stamp was needed to monitor who were “their” people, who were not, and – at the end of the occasion – to pay those who attended.  It is clear from the video footage here that the young guys with such a stamp found questions about what they were doing there hilarious.  The police were equally disinclined to explain why the court ban was proving to have an entirely unwritten exception.

From the material at Ukrainska Pravda

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