Archive for January 26th, 2013


Integration, assimilation or ideological identity (where it exists) – Ukrainian Opposition

January 26, 2013

A few days ago, Yulia Tymoshenko made the following statement calling for the opposition parties to unite.

“The ideal scenario would be further integration processes among opposition forces and the creation of a united party because the steam roller of the Regions Party can be stopped only by a powerful opposition force, which will enjoy unquestionable support in society. A merger of opposition forces and society will accelerate the death of this colossus on clay feet, in other words the Yanukovych regime“.   At least that is what her Batkivschnaya Party website quotes her as saying.

On 24th January, Vitali Klitschko, leader of the UDAR party promptly rejected such a call stating, “We have different programs, different political platforms, different ideologies, and, consequently, different voters. It’s more efficient when there are several [political] forces. This has been proved by the latest elections; the opposition ran separately and three parties scored more than if they have been a political association.”

He has a very valid point – but I would say that, as on 26th April 2011, I wrote the following when ruminating at the time of a possible opposition merger – or not:

“It makes more sense, at least if we are to consider issues as adults, for the opposition parties to act in unison on issues they agree upon and where they differ from the current government, rather than to try and force together a united opposition party that is not based on a shared ideology other than the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Whilst there may be issues to be concerned with within Svoboda ideology, it at least has a clear and identifiable political ideology – even if it is one that doesn’t sit well with many within UDAR for example.  UDAR too seems to have an identifiable ideology which is located in a far more central part of the political spectrum.

The ideology (narcissistic and autocratic as it is) of personality politics with the associated grab power and keep it mentality, which is shared by both PoR and Batkivschnaya parties – certainly amongst the leaderships of both in equal measure – is most certainly going to fail eventually.  Sooner rather than later one hopes.

There are other issues that both Klitschko and Tymoshenko will undoubtedly be aware of relating to external influences that will affect their futures.

Foremost amongst them is the noticeable desertion of many oligarchs (and ergo their money and media assets) from the PoR conclaves.  They have now been replaced by trusted family and friends of the current President.  If the oligarchy needs are not met for the most part, having been removed from the inner santum, there is every chance their money and media assets will seek to back another horse – any horse other than Tymoshenko.

Seemingly the best fit would currently be UDAR – either overtly or covertly.

With enough oligarchy money and media time behind UDAR, there can be little doubt that unless Klitschko seriously stains his copy-book before the next Presidential elections, the run off would be between him and the current incumbent as things stand today.  Something both he and the ego of Tymoshenko will be aware of and something that Tymoshenko is all too aware she can do nothing about (whether in jail or not) short of assimilating him.

It is therefore understandable, as this realisation (amongst many) looms, that she is calling for a single opposition party to take on the PoR.  A party that should it be formed now, would have a majority of her MPs and thus possibly propel her back to the pinnacle of Ukrainian politics if/when she is ever released.

Bugger ideology, the enemy of my enemy should be my friend as her public mantra – if not her personal driver – that driver being the same as it always has been, personal power for power’s sake – no different from Yanukovych.

Thus the entry of real ideology into Ukrainian politics (rather than wafer thin ideological rhetoric), the disillusionment of some of the oligarchy with the PoR and a probable need for them to find a better horse to bet upon should their needs fail to be met by the current majority, and the emergence of those within her own party using her absence to further their own future political prospects (namely replacing her) would make it seem natural for her to use the veneer of a single opposition party to protect her own interests whilst she still remains with sufficient support within her party to reinstall her as head honcho should she be released.

As time passes, all her concerns are going to become realities, thus consigning her to the political minor league upon her eventual release – even within her own party.

Klitschko however, needs only to continue to do what he is doing, avoid any major media scandals, stick to his party ideology and keep his own and his party’s identity separate from Tymoshenko and her Batkivschaya Party (and others for that matter).  In the long game of politics, ideology will eventually beat personality politics – and fortunately that means both Yanukovych and Tymoshenko will be consigned to the dustbin of Ukrainian public life within the next decade – and not a moment too soon.

One wonders just how much time will pass before Tymoshenko takes a very public swipe at UDAR and Klitschko out of desperation, just as she has did Yatseniuk in 2009/2010.  A few weeks, a few months, a year?  Place your bets!

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