Opposition Block won’t run for Mayor of Odessa & A policy debate?

September 26, 2015

Yesterday’s entry ended thus – “Thanks to Sergei Kivalov (of all people) there will now be a second round of voting (in all probability), and one in which Ms Fabrikant, Messrs Gurvits, Kivalov and Borovik stand a far better chance of causing a political upset – albeit that chance currently remains limited.

However, if the Opposition Block put up a half-decent candidate, then that would really put Mayor Trukhanov on the back foot in the first round!

Well, the Opposition Block are not going to put up a candidate for Mayor – Mr Turkhanov will be rather pleased (though probably not surprised).

The City Opposition Block list will be headed by former-Governor (and Firtash/Lyovochkin man) Verkhovna Rada MP Mykola Skoryk.


Mr Skoryk stated “We have a clear ideological program, and the economic program and the regional development program for Odessa.  One of the slogans of our election campaign for the beloved city of Odessa is the “Odessa – it’s cool“.  We really believe that the main task for deputies of local councils – it significantly increase revenues to local budgets and make profits as transparent as possible.  You can do this only on the basis of real decentralization of power, and, above all, the financial.

Where to start?

What is the ideological programme?  When Mr Skoryk was a member of the Party of Regions it had no ideological programme.  When he was Governor of Odessa he never once orated an ideological programme.  The Opposition Block has projected no ideological programme since its formation thus far.  Perhaps Mr Skoryk will present the Opposition Block ideological programme soon – surely Ukrainian politics could do with an injection of ideology that is neither loony left or swivel eyed right, so such a programme will be eagerly anticipated!   Perhaps he confuses ideology with pathological kleptocracy?

As for the slogan “Odessa it’s cool” – well it is rather flaccid and seems highly unlikely to spark electoral excitement when delivered by a lot of 50+ year old men in suits largely associated with the Yanukovych regime.  It’s not really a slogan that will decrease nor increase the 25 – 30% the Opposition Block can expect within both city and oblast elections.

But there may be a reason to get a little excited!

If the Opposition Block really does have both an economic and regional development programme, then for once Odessa may see an election that is policy based with policies put through public and electoral scrutiny – as unbelievable as it may seem.

For certain Solidarity and Sasha Borovik have an economic and regional development plan – for that is what he has been, and continues to work upon since arriving as Advisor to Governor Saakashvili.  If it becomes an election about policy then Mayor Trukhanov, Ms Fabrikant, Messrs Gurvitz and Kivalov will have to campaign on future policy too – as will all parties contesting.

It would almost be like real grown-up politics and local governance! – Debates over manifestos and future policy! (Perhaps even implementation too – although that would probably be beyond Utopian.)

As the general rule is “he that frames the issue first wins the argument” (assuming it is robustly framed),  which of the rival political parties will call out the Opposition Block swiftly enough regarding its claimed economic and regional development programmes to frame the central electoral battleground as “regional development/economics, and for once bring about an election devoted to future policy (and not personality or local political history)?

On a related note, some good news for the Solidarity Party in ‪‎Odessa‬ in that Sergei Kivalov’s Morskaya Party will run for the Oblast Rada and will almost certainly fail to reach the 5% threshold, but eat a few percent of the Opposition Block vote nevertheless.


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