KIEV, (Pakistan Point News - APP -8th Sept,2016) - Ukraine escalated its cultural war with Moscow on Thursday by proposing a ban on Russian books that promote the ouster of Kiev's pro-Western leadership and recognise the Kremlin's annexation of Crimea. The bill submitted to parliament follows similar legislation that prevents channels from airing Russian shows and films deemed to cast a negative light on the former Soviet republic's history and February 2014 pro-EU revolt.
Ukraine has also denied entry to a raft of film and pop stars and politicians who have cosied up to Russian President Vladimir Putin or backed the Kremlin's March 2014 annexation of its strategic Black Sea Peninsula of Crimea. The proposed legislation concerns books that were either "published or shipped from the territory of the aggressor nation or the temporarily occupied Crimea, and which are forbidden from being distributed in Ukraine.
" The new ban would cover literature "that calls for the overthrow of power" in Ukraine. It would also ban books that "create a positive image of workers of the aggressor nation" and "propagate communist and nationalist-socialist totalitarian regimes". Ukraine and its Western allies have viewed Russia as an "aggressor" since it snatched Crimea and allegedly sent soldiers and weapons to aid insurgents fighting a 28-month separatist revolt that has claimed nearly 9,600 lives.
Putin denies the charges and says Russians spotted or captured in the war zone were either volunteers or off-duty troops. The various Ukrainian restrictions have been criticised by some human rights organisations as a violation of free speech. But Ukraine's parliament is led by parties tied to President Petro Poroshenko's government as well as populist and nationalist groups that support such blacklists. It was not immediately clear when the chamber would debate the new book bill.
Lawmakers returned from their summer recess this week. - Crimea appeal - ================= Moscow did not immediately react to the Ukrainian government's latest proposal. It argues that Crimea chose to join Russia after holding an independence referendum that expressed the free will of the region's two million residents. The UN General Assembly condemned the vote as "illegal" because it was hastily arranged after the region was swarmed by Russian troops that forced the Ukrainian military to retreat.
Russia holds parliamentary polls on September 18 in which Crimea will take part. Ukrainian lawmakers appealed to the international community on Thursday not to recognise the results of the vote in the region or send international observers to what Kiev views as its own land. "This is of critical importance to Ukraine because the possible participation of international monitors and representatives of monitoring missions could indirectly legitimise the continuing illegal occupation of Crimea," Ukraine's parliament said in a statement.
Tensions ratcheted up last month when Putin accused Ukraine of plotting armed incursions into Crimea. Ukraine denied the charge and demanded that Russia come up with proof to back up its claim during a heated meeting on August 11. Russia's representative to the global body replied that Kiev was "trying to distract attention onto other things."