Ukraine's Constitutional Court Upholds Law Equating Communism To Nazism

Ukraine's Constitutional Court has upheld a law that equates communism to Nazism and bans the dissemination of its symbols, a law that has prompted angry protests from Moscow.

In the July 16 ruling published on its website, the court said the "communist and Nazi regimes" used similar methods of "implementing repressive state policies."

"The communist regime, like the Nazi regime, inflicted irreparable damages to human rights because during its existence, it had total control over society and politically motivated persecutions and repressions, violated its international obligations, and its own constitutions and laws," it said.

The legislation was passed by Ukrainian lawmakers in May 2015.

That law paved the way for the removal of all communist monuments not related to World War II and renaming public places and landmarks bearing Soviet names. Since then, dozens of statues, plaques, and other monuments -- for example, statues of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin--- have been torn down and destroyed.

After the law was passed in April 2015, Russia's Foreign Ministry accused Kyiv of using "totalitarian methods " to liquidate parties and organizations and attack "freedom of the press, opinion, or conscience."

Lawmakers passed the measure a year after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea and helped start a war in eastern Ukraine, which has killed more than 13,000 people and displaced more than 1 million.