Distancing and positioning – electioneering preparationAugust 18, 2014
Following along from yesterday’s entry regarding the “New Batkivshchyna – Old Heart” anticipated campaign slogan, it appears other political personalities of the far more swivel-eyed variety are also engaged in some distancing and positioning in advance of the official starters gun being fired.
The first is Oleh Lyashko, who swiftly banned a member of “Team Poroshenko” from his Facebook page for posting this photograph:
The other politician in the photograph is Sergei Kivalov, a well known, (in)famous Party of Regions politician from Odessa and well known (perhaps no longer) friend and close associate of ex-President Yanukovych.
The photograph is not one dug up from years ago in an attempt to besmirch the reputation of Mr Lyashko via ancient associations prior to the forthcoming RADA elections – it was taken in Odessa one month ago, and widely reported locally.
Being a rabid political populist has costs as well as rewards – but if upon reflection Mr Lyshko regrets co-headlining an event with a politician who was formally closely allied to ex-President Yanukovych only one month ago, deleting photographs on Facebook will not help. In fact it simply draws further attention to any regretted incident.
Today, Dmitry Yarosh of “Right Sector” made threats that he would withdraw the “Right Sector” fighters from the front line in eastern Ukraine and march on Kyiv within 48 hours unless the Ministry of Interior begin an immediate lustration of the police ranks.
He may or may not be aware more than 17,000 have been sacked already, but he is right to believe that there are a lot more that need to be shown the door for various (mostly criminal) reasons. The question is why now this threat is made?
There is a reasonable argument to be made that – at least in part – it is to remain politically relevant with RADA elections to be called soon. Mr Yarosh is already firmly in the shadow of “Semen Semenchenko” founder of the Donbas Battalion when it comes to media and military traction in the east. Thus questions about the future path of Mr Semenchenko are far more pertinent than those asked about Mr Yarosh based on current momentum.
Therefore Mr Yarosh need try to remain politically relevant – even if gifting The Kremlin another “Right Sector” media frenzy in doing so by threatening to march on Kyiv.
That said, the future is not necessarily bleak for Mr Yarosh, but he need engage in careful thought.
In the meantime, all eyes look to Berlin this afternoon and the meeting of Ukrainian, French, Russian and German FMs. The top priority for Ukraine remains the closure and control of its eastern borders. Let us see what – if anything – will be accomplished toward that end today.