KIEV: Ukraine Friday banned Russian books glorifying the Kremlin and its leaders or espousing what it views as “totalitarian views” in a move certain to further sour relations between the two foes.
The law adopted by President Petro Poroshenko “prohibits the promotion of aggressor states … or (books) that create a positive image of this aggressor state”, referring to Russia.
It also forbids literature that calls for state coups or promotes wars and racial hatred. The legislation says a group of experts will decide which Russian books are acceptable or not.
Kiev accuses Russia of launching a 31-month war in its separatist east that has claimed nearly 10,000 lives in retaliation for Kiev’s February 2014 ouster of a Moscow-backed leader.
Russia denies this but Ukraine refuses to believe it and has since signed a landmark agreement with the European Union and hopes to one day join the NATO military bloc.
Poroshenko’s decision comes slightly more than a year after Ukraine’s tax and customs service banned 38 works by Russian media celebrities accused of holding anti-Ukrainian views.
Kiev accused the authors of “promoting fascism” and “humiliating and insulating a nation and its people”.
Friday’s measure appears to go further by covering all Russian literature deemed to be anti-Ukrainian in content.
There was no immediate response to the decision from Moscow.
Ukraine ranked 107th out of 180 countries on the Reports Without Borders censorship watchdog’s 2016 World Press Freedom index.