Lenin statue
Lenin statue painted in Ukrainian colours in east Ukraine Getty Images

Kiev authorities are to push forward with plans for an open air Museum of the Soviet Occupation in the Ukrainian capital, which could house thousands of Soviet-era monuments and effigies that were recently outlawed.

City authorities will remove and take an inventory of all of the monuments and memorials devoted to the "crimes of the Soviet regime", reported Ukraine's Novoe Vremya newspaper, and move them to the museum.

The location for the museum has yet to be decided, with the city's Department of Land Resources to compile a shortlist of possible locations.

In April, Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, voted to ban Communist and Nazi propaganda, which if implemented would make the destruction of Soviet era monuments legally compulsory.

The legislation condemns the Soviet Union as a criminal regime that conducted policies of state terror but also recognised Ukrainian nationalist groups that collaborated with the Nazis during the Second World War.

Human rights groups have criticised the legislation, arguing it stifles free speech, and could prove divisive in a country in which many Russian speakers do not view the Soviet regime as brutal oppressors.

A smaller Museum of Soviet Occupation was opened in Kiev in 2001, with documents and photographs of crimes committed during the more than seven decades of Soviet rule, including maps of the Gulag prison camps, where an estimated two million Ukrainians were sent.

It also records the mass famines in Ukraine in 1932-33, caused by Soviet attempts to force the collectivisation of farming, in which up to seven million are believed to have died.

In the wake of the Maidan uprising in 2014, statues of Bolshevik leader Lenin were torn down by crowds in 100 cities including Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest town. In many towns, they clashed with pro-Russian protesters.