Moldova officially enacted a ban on all communist symbols for political purposes earlier this week.
Moldova’s ruling coalition government, Alliance for European Integration, passed the measure in July, following recommendations of the commission for the study of totalitarian Communist regimes.
The government has also made plans to open “museums of the Soviet occupation,” and to publish a textbook called “Communists’ Crimes,” according to Radio Free Europe.
“Wearing a red T-shirt with the emblem of the hammer and sickle is not against the law,” Christine Melnick, spokesperson with the Eastern European country’s Justice Ministry, was quoted by the ITAR-TASS news agency as saying Tuesday.
“But if this symbol is used by a political party or during rallies, this will entail a warning fine for the organizers. Should the party fail to obey the ban, it can be outlawed,” she added.
A sizable number of the country’s parliament seats belong to the Party of Communists. Its leader, Vladimir Voronin, told the agency: “We are not going to give up the hammer and sickle.”
The small country, which has a population of around 4 million and is located between Ukraine and Romania, was annexed by the Soviet Union and remained so until its collapse in 1991.
While under dictator Joseph Stalin’s rule, it is estimated that tens of thousands of Moldovans were deported, arrested, persecuted, or executed. Around 1946, between 200,000 and 350,000 residents died during a massive, human-caused famine and drought.
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