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I once saw on Telegram a Pro-Russian group called Law and Order or something.

I am asking if are there still some Pro-Russian groups left in unoccupied Ukraine.

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  • 1
    Also just by the name "law and order" it sounds more like Pro-Polish group.
    – convert
    May 17, 2023 at 20:08
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    Please clarify if you only need officially registered parties that present in, e.g. town/city councils. Do you also include NGO? Do you also include communities on social media that are controlled by people who are {pretending to be} physically located in certain regions? And since you mentioned the Telegram: does the Telegram itself count a Russian asset as well? May 17, 2023 at 20:15
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    @BeBraveBeLikeUkraine It could be offical parties and NGO's but also some type of underground organisations. May 18, 2023 at 10:22
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    What is meant by "pro-Russian"? Supporting reunification with Russia? Promoting the rights of the Russian speaking Ukrainians? These are very different things.
    – Roger V.
    May 19, 2023 at 5:34
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    @convert I live in South East England. Even though it is not an independent country, I think most people would understand the use of cardinal directions when applied to a country. So "West Ukraine" means the western part of Ukraine.
    – James K
    May 19, 2023 at 5:55

4 Answers 4

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Not above ground, because it's been illegal since March 2022.

Draft Law No. 5144 provides for amendments to the Criminal and Criminal Procedure Codes of Ukraine. According to the changes, the concept of “collaborationism” is introduced. Punishment is introduced for public denial of Russian armed aggression against Ukraine, support for the actions of Russia, propaganda, and the transfer of material resources.

Openly sympathizing with Russia gets you arrested (see source). It's probable some groups still exist, but they will never broadcast their existence, for that reason.

Edit: If you adopt a definition wherein "Ukraine, stop bombing Kremlin!!" is pro-Russia (ala the comment below), then the Ukrainian leadership is pro-Russia, since Zelensky has repeatedly said he won't use Western long-range weapons to attack targets within Russia. Which kind of makes the question trivial. But if that's the answer you're looking for, well then, you have it.

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    -1: This fails to address the question. "Pro-russian" is a sort of attitude while "Collaboration" is a legally defined term. E.g. "Ukraine, stop bombing Kremlin!!!" is clearly a pro-russian statement but is not a collaboration; nor even it is a punishable crime. May 19, 2023 at 2:56
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    The link discusses laws concerned with life in occupied Ukraine; the question is about politics in the unoccupied parts. Further, nothing in that article would prevent pro-Russian political activity in Kyiv even of it did apply to the free parts of the country. Also, seems to be very poorly translated.
    – bharring
    May 19, 2023 at 19:45
  • @bharring did you read the link? After the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the Verkhovna Rada adopted two laws on collaborationism, which were later signed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy -- and Ukrainian laws presumably do not apply in occupied Ukraine.
    – Allure
    May 19, 2023 at 23:21
  • "in the territories occupied by Russia." is a strange bit of legalize to mean "Not in occupied Russia"... Each item is specific about taking part in the occupation itself.
    – bharring
    May 20, 2023 at 3:42
  • The definition of Collaboration ism, in these bills, is lain out specifically. The article specifies things like taking part in Russian-installed governments in occupied areas. How would that "presumably not apply in occupied Ukraine"?
    – bharring
    May 20, 2023 at 3:46
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Difficult to answer because of the nebulous (and evolving) notion of "pro-Russian groups" was not clarified in the Q, despite the comments/requests.

Although most (I think) of the pre-war pro-Russia parties have been banned or suspended, they've more or less reappeared in new forms, especially since most MPs thereof are still sitting. E.g.:

In 2019, Viktor Medvedchuk, the godfather of Putin’s daughter, co-founded OPZZh, a more hardline iteration of the Opposition Bloc, with pro-Russia politician Yuriy Boyko and oligarchs Vadym Rabynovych and Dmytro Firtash. OPZZh became the dominant pro-Russia party in Ukraine and built out a solid parliamentary faction in the 2019 parliamentary elections that won 43 of 423 seats. [...]

When Russia began its full-scale invasion in February 2022, many of OPZZh’s rank-and-file members, such as Shufrych, fled Ukraine to Europe and the Middle East. In April 2022, Ukrainian defense authorities suspended OPZZh on suspicion of treason and the party looked to be dead in the water. [...] While Shufrych himself was detained on suspicion of treason in March, he and his lesser-known colleagues stayed on as members of parliament. [...]

Boyko, Shufrych and company quietly rebranded themselves under the guise of two new nominally pro-West political parties: twenty-three MPs joined the Platform for Life and Peace (PZZhM) and 17 joined Restoration of Ukraine (VU), some of whom trickled back to Ukraine in the fall of 2022 and winter of 2023. Both parties are made up of former OPZZh MPs, who appear to have changed their tone; PZZhM says it consists of “pro-Ukrainian people’s deputies willing to work for protecting Ukraine, helping the people, and rebuilding our country.” The leaders of the VU claimed a new focus on supporting Ukrainian reconstruction.

While it’s difficult to tell how much these “new” parties’ politics actually has changed, much of their funding has dried up. Medvedchuk and his business partner, Taras Kozak, financed OPZZh and, in turn, the party had advocated openly pro-Moscow positions. With Moscow’s two top puppets sanctioned for treason, any MP found taking money from Medvedchuk and Kozak would be arrested and likely to lose their mandate. This has left the more moderate Boyko in charge of PZZhM, bereft of the huge resources the party once enjoyed and eager to secure any political friendships he can.

One could say that these new parties are under a bit of pressure as well, but it looks like many of their MPs won't lose their seats anytime soon. That March article details more recent efforts by Holos party to and the European Solidarity party to have these remaining [formerly, at least] pro-Russia MPs ousted, but insofar Zelensky has refused to signed into law something that drastic (despite a proposal making it to his desk in 2023). OTOH

Zelensky’s government recently ramped up criminal corruption investigations into pro-Russia MPs, leading to the resignation of two of VU’s co-leaders and putting the party on the brink of collapse. At Zelensky’s direction, Speaker of the Parliament Ruslan Stefanchuk also has worked to secure resignations from two former OPZZh MPs who had not sat in the Rada for months.

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I can't answer which parties are not currently banned, but I did find that some popular pro-Russian parties have been banned this year: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Party_of_Regions - the party of the pro-Russian minister that was removed for his handling of protests - wasn't banned until this year

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opposition_Platform_%E2%80%94_For_Life - a party that opposed Russian invasion but supported many Russian policies was banned last year

From what I've read, the parties themselves were banned, so was no longer a solid political bloc; however the ministers themselves were not removed. They are still members of Parliament.

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  • Could you expand what "banned" means in Ukranian legal context?
    – sfxedit
    May 19, 2023 at 20:13
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    I've updated with a note on what the ban is. I'm not an expert in parliaments, though.
    – bharring
    May 19, 2023 at 20:24
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    The wording was loaded, I should have done better. It was the party that did so because the PM is effectively the head of the party, but it was poor form to say it.
    – bharring
    May 20, 2023 at 10:56
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Wikipedia has the list of all pro-Russian parties, grouped per country and with the long section dedicated to Ukraine.

When visiting pages dedicated to these parties, about many it is written that they are now forbidden and some otherwise defunct. About few it is not written they are forbidden, even if this may be due outdated articles.

Looks like these movements did not enjoy lots of popularity even at the times it was better for them.

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    Wikipedia firstly is not a source. Secondly, I ask about pro-Russian parties and organisations still left in the western part of Ukraine. May 20, 2023 at 10:03
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    Wikipedia articles are often good sources for references you can separately follow and check. Overview article is more useful for this type of question than listing separate cases.
    – Stančikas
    May 21, 2023 at 7:41
  • Yeah but for this situations, the articles don't say the whole story. Like for example Wikipedia doesn't say anything about smaller battalions and military units of the Russian side. May 21, 2023 at 7:58

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