Moldovan left protests law banning St. George Ribbons and other Soviet symbols

The Moldovan parliament dominated by the pro-European Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) voted in favor of banning the public display of Soviet and Russian symbols, including the St George’s Ribbon

April 18, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Moldovan Protests
Protest by Moldovan communists and socialists in the city of Balti. (Photo: via Diana Caraman)

Communists, socialists and other anti-fascist sections in the post-Soviet republic of Moldova have strongly protested the liberal government’s decision to ban the St. George’s Ribbon and other Soviet/Russian symbols representing the Great Patriotic War in the country. On April 14, the Moldovan parliament dominated by the incumbent pro-European Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) voted in favor of banning the public display of St George’s Ribbon despite strong objection from the opposition bloc of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) and Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM). On April 15, in Balti, the second largest city of Moldova, activists from communist and socialist parties organized a demonstration protesting the government’s decision. The protesters claimed that the decision was a bid to appease the European Union (EU) in the backdrop of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, and one of the most shameful steps taken by the current government as it was a betrayal of historical traditions. 

As with other post-Soviet countries like Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia, Moldova has also seen an ideological and political battle with history being a key field. In the backdrop of the ongoing war in Ukraine, the PAS led by president Maia Sandu introduced total censorship prohibiting the screening of Russian and Soviet films about the Great Patriotic War  (June 2, 1941 to May 9, 1945). On April 14, the Moldovan parliament approved a bill banning the wearing and storage of St. George’s Ribbons, as well as the use of ‘V’ and ‘Z’ symbols used by the Russian army in the ongoing offensive in Ukraine.

St. George’s Ribbon is popular in Russia and Eastern Europe as the primary symbol associated with Victory Day against Nazi Germany in World War II. It is used for commemorating the veterans of the Eastern Front of World War II. In the middle of the proceedings in the parliament on April 14, MPs from the Electoral Bloc of Communists and Socialists (BECS) openly protested inside the parliament and displayed a poster with the St. George’s Ribbon at the central rostrum of the parliament.

On April 15, in an official press release, the BECS strongly condemned the adoption of the law as a suppression of freedom of speech and introduction of political censorship in the country.

“No prohibitive measures can erase from the consciousness of the Moldovan people the historical memory, the desire for peace and friendship between peoples, as well as the open rejection of fascist and nationalist regimes, as well as the right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression, guaranteed to us by the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova.The Bloc of Communists and Socialists also declares that it will, like the majority of citizens of our country, honor the memory of the Great Patriotic War, honor and protect the symbols of the Great Victory of our peoples over world evil,” it added.