Martial Law in Ukraine: Results

Martial Law in Ukraine: Results

On December 26th martial law, which was introduced for 30 days in 10 regions, ceased to operate in Ukraine. In particular, martial law was introduced in the Vinnytsia, Lugansk, Nikolaev, Odessa, Sumy, Kharkov, Chernigov, Donetsk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson regions.

During martial law in Ukraine reservists were pulled together, entry for citizens of the Russian Federation onto the territory of the country was tightened, and united territorial community elections were cancelled in 10 regions.

Earlier, human rights activists expressed concern about the risks of the use of martial law by the authorities to further attack the rights of Ukrainians.

"Uspishna Varta" analysed the main results of martial law.

CANCELLATION OF UNITED TERRITORIAL COMMUNITY ELECTIONS

In October 2018 the Central Election Commission (CEC) appointed elections in 125 united territorial communities, which were due to take place on December 23rd. Meanwhile, the introduction of martial law made it impossible to hold the first 45 and 7 additional elections in 10 regions, since, according to the first part of article 19 of the Law of Ukraine "On the legal regime of martial law", in the conditions of martial law it is prohibited to hold Ukrainian presidential elections, as well as Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada, Crimean Verkhovna Rada, and local government elections.

On November 30th the CEC demanded an end to campaigning in regions with martial law and decided to return the funds that were sent for these local elections to the state budget.

On December 20th the Secretary of the Central Election Commission Nataliya Bernatskaya said that united territorial community elections will be appointed after the cessation of martial law by the decision of the CEC.

THE RESTRICTION OF FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT

On November 30th it became known that the state border service of Ukraine banned male Russian citizens aged 16 to 60 from entering the country. It was noted that this decision was made in connection with the introduction of martial law in some regions of the country.

In addition, the State Border Service of Ukraine said that foreign journalists, as well as human rights activists and representatives of humanitarian missions, will be able to enter Crimea and Donbass from the territory of Ukraine only with special permits issued by the State Migration Service. In each case, exceptional decisions will be made directly at the entry and exit control points.

During 30 days of martial law - from November 26th to December 26th - border guards did not let 1650 Russians enter Ukraine. During the same period, Russian border guards did not allow 351 Ukrainian citizens to enter Russia. Despite the fact that in practice the restrictions concerned only men, Ukrainian border guards also didn't let women into the country. Aircraft passengers were turned back upon arrival at Ukrainian airports, and train conductors warned in advance about the situation on the Ukrainian border.

Despite the abolition of martial law, on December 26th during a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council President, Petro Poroshenko proposed to the State Border Service to expand certain measures introduced during martial law.

Thus, in Ukraine the practice of prohibiting entry into the country from the Russian Federation side will continue.

THE CANCELLATION OF CONCERTS OF RUSSIAN PERFORMERS AND EVENTS

The restriction on the entry of Russians due to martial law caused a number of concerts of Russian artists that were scheduled for 2018-2019 to be cancelled or postponed.

Thus, on February 15th 2019 the concert of the punk band "Tarakany" that was supposed to take place on December 8th at the “Atlas” club in Kiev was postponed. The concert of the rave group “Little Big” that was supposed to take place on December 9th was also cancelled and postponed to March 24th 2019. The December tour of the Ukrainian rock group "Akvarium", led by Boris Grebenshikov, was cancelled. The creative evening of the 50-year-old writer Dmitry Bykov called "What mustn’t be mentioned" was held on December 15th in Kiev in the format of a videoconference.

It wasn’t only the events of Russian stars that were disrupted because of martial law.

On December 23rd the New Year's parade in Kiev featuring the participation of more than 1,000 dancers, acrobats, musicians, representatives of organisations and communities, and participants of youth subcultures was cancelled.

The festive march was moved to the beginning of 2019.

The annual ceremony "Football stars of Ukraine" was postponed indefinitely. This was reported by the press service of the Football Federation of Ukraine.

FREEDOM OF RELIGION

The regime of martial law coincided with the process of obtaining autocephaly and the establishment of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU). The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and deputies of governmental factions have repeatedly voiced hate speech against the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), demanding that it rename itself as the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine. In addition, as "Uspishna Varta" earlier reported, on the eve of the so-called "unification Sobor", during which the creation of the OCU was announced, the Security Service of Ukraine conducted a series of searches at the churches and houses of priests of the UOC. A number of priests were also summoned for questioning by the SBU. The Synod of the UOC considers that the actions of the state amount to the inducement of priests by force to participate in the "unifying Sobor" and to switch to the OCU.

This is also evidenced by the episode with the refusal to let two bishops enter the controlled territory from Donetsk and Gorlovka, when they were informed at a checkpoint that their passes had been revoked.

In addition, in the 10 regions where martial law was in effect it became no longer possible for believers to hold mass protests against governmental interference in Church affairs.

In general, the initiative to introduce martial law did not find support among Ukrainians. This is evidenced by the results of sociological surveys. According to the "Rating" group’s research from December 3rd, the decision of the President was not supported by almost 60% of respondents, and respectively only a third supported it. Similar results were published by the Ukrainian Institute for Social Research named after A. Yaremenko and the "Social Monitoring" center. According to them, 64.5% of respondents did not support the introduction of martial law.

In addition, the majority of respondents expressed the opinion that Petro Poroshenko tried to use martial law to postpone Ukrainian presidential elections (56.6%).

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