Archive for August 3rd, 2012

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Svoboda and the Communists release their party lists (and I complain about graffiti)

August 3, 2012

The competing political parties for the October elections in Ukraine continue to release their lists of party candidates.  I have already mentioned those of the United Opposition and Party Regions and now will take a look at the far right Svoboda and the Communists.

I will look at Klitschko’s UDAR and Korolevska’s Ukraine Forward in a different post.

Anyway, I will start with the Communists who have submitted a list longer than the combined list of both the United Opposition and Party Regions.  214 people in total.

I can’t help but think that they are being somewhat optimistic.  The RADA only has 450 seats and a glance across several recent polls gives then an average of just under 10% of the national vote.  Ergo this mean percentage across these polls would infer that candidate 46 on the list is not a dead cert for a RADA seat and those on the list after number 50 are all rather pointless.

That said, depressingly, the fact the Communists have an average across these polls of almost 10% actually shows a small but definite increase in their support from the previous years.

Next on to Svoboda, Ukraine’s far right party, who have far more realistically put out a list of only 50 names.  I say that, as with the same less than academic mean percentage taken from across the same recent polls, I have them at about 4.5% of the national vote.  That figure would see them fall foul of the 5% threshold needed to take up the proportional representation seats in the RADA and mean only their deputies who win constituency seats in a head to head vote against others will be sitting in Kyiv come November.

That said, official electioneering only began on 30th July and there is a long way to go before the elections at the end of October.  Current polls really have no use other than to act as a base marker for any trends over the coming official electioneering period.  Svoboda could very well get over the 5% threshold required for the proportional representation part of the vote – or they could yet crash and burn.

Whatever the case with Svoboda, I do have an issue with some of their mindless supporters at present.

As I have previously written I have no problem with Svoboda as a political party, although their hard-core ideology is not one I personally completely agree with.

However, with the official electioneering now underway and party tents are everywhere handing out party propaganda on every street corner, the television and radio are full of the same political electioneering noise from all those taking part and huge posters of the party leaders are appearing in all available advertising space, it seems some mindless Svoboda activists are going to try and graffiti their party to prominence across Odessa.

Before I put up a few photographs of the Svoboda graffiti springing up everywhere, it is probably necessary to do a brief history lesson in Svoboda imagery.

Svoboda (which is a member of the Allience of European National Movements along with the National Front of Belgium, National Front of France, Jobbik in Hungary, Tricolour from Italy, National Renovator Party from Portugal, Republican Social Movement of Spain, National Democrats of Sweden, British National Party and Freedom Party of Finland)  was originally called the Social National Party of Ukraine when it formed in 1991.

Its party symbol was then this:

Which looks not unlike this:

That imagery association was not lost on those who saw it, particularly as the party is far right in orientation.

However, that imagery proved to be a bit of a hindrance combined with the name Social National Party of Ukraine, so in 2004 it had a makeover.  It changed its name to Svoboda and changed its logo to this:

Far more pleasant to look for a non-fascist, and the 3 fingers giving a symbolic representation of the Ukrainian Trizub.  Generally a far more socially acceptable name and image than before – even if the ideology hasn’t changed.  And it has worked.  Svoboda controls several city councils and will get its first RADA MP in this coming election.

It seems though that the 3 fingered logo is far more difficult to spray everywhere than the original logo.  In the past few weeks around Odessa this has started to appear – everywhere:

Why do that, when other activists from Svoboda at least manage to do this, which looks far more professional?

Defacing Odessa with graffiti is hardly likely to win that many more votes – if any – in fact it is likely to annoy a lot of residents!

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