Ban of the Symbols of the Aggressor Country: What You Need to Know

Опубликовано: 23.04.2022

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine passed the Draft Law “On the Prohibition of Propaganda of the Russian Nazi Totalitarian Regime, Armed Aggression of the Russian Federation as a Terrorist State Against Ukraine, Symbols of the Military Invasion of the Russian Nazi Totalitarian Regime in Ukraine” (No. 7214 of March 26, 2022). We suggest to get acquainted with its main provisions, which determine which actions will be considered violations of the law, and what responsibility will arise as a result.

  1. Who is covered by the Law and who can be held accountable

Responsibility for violating the requirements of the Law is borne by individuals and (or) legal entities, officials of legal entities, officials of public authorities, local governments.

  1. The concept of the Russian Nazi totalitarian regime is defined

1) Russian Federation is a terrorist state, one of the goals of a political regime of which is the state genocide of the Ukrainian people, physical destruction, mass murder of Ukrainian citizens, international crimes against civilians, use of prohibited methods of war, destruction of civilian objects and objects of critical infrastructure, creation of artificial humanitarian catastrophes in Ukraine or its separate regions;

2) the political regime of the Russian Federation is Nazi in nature and practice and ideologically imitates the National Socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regime.

  1. The concept of propaganda, which is prohibited by the Law, is defined

Propaganda is:

– dissemination of information aimed at supporting or justifying the criminal nature of the activities of the Russian Federation, officials and (or) representatives of public authorities of the terrorist state, armed forces, other armed, military, paramilitary or other security forces of the Russian Federation, which act openly or covertly on behalf of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine or from the territories of other states against Ukraine;

– public denial,  including through the media or using the Internet, of a criminal nature of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine;

– public use of the symbols of the military invasion of the Russian Nazi totalitarian regime in Ukraine, use, creation, distribution of products containing such symbols in Ukraine and (or) abroad.

  1. The concept of the symbolism of the military invasion of the Russian Nazi totalitarian regime in Ukraine is defined

This symbolism, in particular, includes:

  1. a) Latin letters “Z”, “V”, used as symbols of military invasion of Ukraine;
  2. b) official or unofficial symbols (emblems) of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, including its land forces, air and space forces, navy, strategic missile forces, airborne troops, special operations forces, other armed groups and (or) bodies of the terrorist state (aggressor state).
  3. Prohibition of propaganda of the Russian Nazi totalitarian regime, armed aggression against Ukraine by the Russian Federation includes the inability to carry out:

1) propaganda of the Russian Nazi totalitarian regime, armed aggression against Ukraine by the Russian Federation as a terrorist state;

2) the use of symbols of the military invasion of the Russian Nazi totalitarian regime in Ukraine is a special case of propaganda of the Russian Nazi totalitarian regime, armed aggression against Ukraine by the Russian Federation as a terrorist state. The use of symbols means, in particular:

– use of the Latin letters “Z”, “V” separately (without a legitimate context or in the context of justifying armed aggression against Ukraine or any other military action), or by replacing these letters with the Cyrillic letters “З”, “С”, “B”,”Ф” or other letters in separate words with a visual emphasis on these letters;

– use of symbols of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, including its land forces, air and space forces, navy, strategic missile forces, airborne troops, special operations forces, other armed groups and (or) bodies of the terrorist state (aggressor state).

Symbols are considered used if they are placed:

– on media, surfaces of public space, including advertising media (media for outdoor, indoor advertising), vehicles, as well as in printed materials (posters, postcards, etc.), on clothing, etc.;

– in locations of mass events of political, educational, religious, cultural, scientific or other nature, entertainment events and events for children;

– in campaigning materials, except for materials aimed at counteracting armed aggression against Ukraine;

– in advertisements on television, radio, in the media, the Internet;;

– in messages on social networks on the Internet;

– in pieces of work (films, programs, video blogs, etc.), other objects of copyright and (or) related rights created after February 24, 2022.

  1. Cases of lawful use of symbols

The ban on the use of symbols (in the ways defined above) does not apply to cases of their use for legitimate purposes, their lawful use, which have no signs of propaganda of the Russian Nazi totalitarian regime, armed aggression of the Russian Federation as a terrorist state against Ukraine, in particular:

1) in works, materials (including materials of social, political advertising,
pre-election campaign, agitation of the all-Ukrainian referendum), developed and (or) distributed for the purpose of condemnation of the Russian Nazi totalitarian regime, military invasion of Ukraine, if this goal is expressed in an obvious form, based on the content of the work, material;

2) in photographic works, informational, informational and analytical
works, materials of mass media (articles, programs, messages on social networks), if such works, materials correspond to at least one of
the following characteristics:

– they establish the fact of aggression, illegal stay of the armed forces or other representatives or supporters of the terrorist state (aggressor state);

– they establish any material media that were in the use of representatives or supporters of the terrorist state (aggressor state);

– they establish the facts of justification of aggression by the terrorist state (aggressor state) or its representatives;

– they are not aimed at supporting, propagating or justifying the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine or other military actions against Ukraine, or at manipulating the public consciousness in order to create a positive image of the terrorist state (aggressor state), terrorist state (aggressor state) bodies, employees or officials (including servicemen) of the terrorist state (aggressor state);

3) in trademarks applied for registration in the manner prescribed by law or which have otherwise received legal protection before February 24, 2022, in trademarks with international registration obtained before February 24, 2022, or in trademarks recognized in the manner prescribed by law, well-known until February 24, 2022, which are used in accordance with the legislation in the field of protection of trademark rights;

4)  on trophy equipment used by military units and subdivisions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, other military formations and law enforcement bodies of Ukraine formed in accordance with the laws of Ukraine;

5) to determine the denominations of postage stamps of Ukraine, the issuance of which is entrusted to the national postal operator, if such postage stamps were put into circulation before February 24, 2022.

  1. Amendments to certain laws, which provide for:

– a ban on state registration of the print media, the name of which contains symbols of communist and/or National Socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes, symbols of the military invasion of the Russian Nazi totalitarian regime in Ukraine;

– a ban on the formation and operation of political parties if their program goals or actions are aimed at promoting the Russian Nazi totalitarian regime, armed aggression by the Russian Federation as a terrorist state against Ukraine, symbols of the Russian Nazi totalitarian regime’s military invasion of Ukraine. It is prohibited to use symbols of the Russian Nazi regime, as defined by the Law, in the symbolism of a political party;

– a ban on the use of television and radio organizations to promote the Russian Nazi regime;

– a ban on the use of symbols of the military invasion of the Russian Nazi totalitarian regime in Ukraine in the name of a legal entity or its separate unit.

  1. Responsibility for propaganda

Legal regulation of propaganda of the Russian Nazi totalitarian regime, armed aggression against Ukraine by the Russian Federation as a terrorist state, the scope of prohibition and responsibility for its violation is carried out according to the rules established by the Law of Ukraine “On Condemnation of Communist and National Socialist (Nazi) Totalitarian Regimes in Ukraine and the Prohibition of Propaganda of Their Symbols”, taking into account the peculiarities determined by the Law under consideration.

In connection with this reference, we can conclude that violations of the ban on propaganda will be punished under Article 4361 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, which provides for responsibility for the production, distribution and public use of symbols of communist, National Socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes. including in the form of souvenirs, public performance of anthems of the USSR, Ukrainian SSR, other union and autonomous Soviet republics or their fragments throughout Ukraine, which are punishable by restriction of liberty for up to five years or imprisonment for the same term, with or without confiscation of property.

The same acts committed by a person who is a representative of the authorities, or committed repeatedly, or by an organized group, or with the use of the media, are punishable by imprisonment for a term of five to ten years with or without confiscation of property.

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