A new way of doing politics - Ukraine? Ukrop

On 18th June 2015, Ihor Kolomoisky received official certification for his newly formed political party “Ukrop” from the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine.

Gennady Korban, who featured in yesterday’s entry in a rather, albeit deservedly, in a less than flattering way (as did his main rival), upon the registration of “Ukrop” - “A new chapter appeared in the history of Ukrainian politics. Remember this day. It can be a turning point for Ukraine and for those who care about the fate of our country.”

If the illegal and odious events surrounding his campaign activities in Chernigov are a new chapter in Ukrainian politics, then that new chapter would seem almost a carbon copy of the previous one.

As yesterday’s entry stated - “So having expected a complete farce as soon as it became clear more than two months ago that this election seat was little more than a proxy fight between President Poroshenko and Ihor Kolomoisky backed candidates, has it turned out to be the expected proxy battle and associated farce?

Undoubtedly so.”


“That (probably with the tacit approval or by discrete request) Governor Saakashvili arrived late into the campaigning to support the President’s man, Mr Berezenko, to be met in an unnecessarily ugly face to face by Ihor Kolomoisky’s MP Boris Filatov supporting Mr Korban, when the election was already a farce beyond doubt, raises questions of sound leadership, situational awareness, and domestic/international perception. A polished turd remains a turd, no matter who polishes it.

Yet another (and completely avoidable) proxy battle between Mr Kolomoisky and the President now wages via Messrs Saakashvili and Filatov.

As of the time of writing, exit polls have the President’s man, Mr Berezenko winning with 31.4% of the vote vis a vis Mr Kolomoisky’s man Mr Korban sitting on 17.1%. Whatever the voting results however, the 27 (and growing) officially recorded electoral violations must be investigated, and this public farce cannot be undone easily.

The question is now whether the CEC of its own volition (or via encouragement from upon high) will declare the election invalid – or not.”

Sadly the return to the all too familiar of the squalid politics throughout the history of an independent Ukraine surrounding majority single mandate seats in particular.

"For buckwheat and small change I'm not for sale"

“For buckwheat and small change I’m not for sale”

What then, with Ukrop’s first romp into Ukrainian politics being a carbon copy of all the cancerous and discredited politics of Ukrainian past, can in any way be deemed as “a new chapter” proclaimed by Mr Korban when Ukrop was successfully registered?

Presumably it can only be that Ihor Kolomoisky is not hiding the fact the he is behind this political party, when historically he backed certain parties and certain politicians across all party lines behind the curtain - no differently to all the major oligarchy.

Therefore we are to understand that “a new chapter” means the thinly veiled interference and odious influence of the oligarchy within Ukrainian politics has been lifted - at least in part - rather than “a new chapter” being strict adherence to electoral rules and the principles of democratic processes?

(No doubt Mr Kolomoisky will continue to fund other parties and specific individuals across the party lines as will other oligarchs such as Messrs Firtash, Lavochkin et al. - unless prevented.)

Clearly the “Ukrop” party will have extensive funding for the local elections that yesterday it announced it would take part in nationwide - again according to Gennady Korban who is also the head of the Ukrop Party political council.  (As you would expect as a former Deputy Governor to Governor Kolomoisky when he headed Dnepropetrovsk.)

Gennady Korban

Gennady Korban

The extensive funding, weighted campaigning upon Mr Kolomoisky’s media networks, and anticipated continued wiping of feet upon existing (or future) electoral laws, is perhaps contingent upon two things.

The first, an as yet unfulfilled agreement when the current Rada coalition was formed, to change the electoral laws (again), to remove external party funding, providing funding from the public purse, enforced transparent funding of political parties, political campaigning restrictions/equality, and genuinely “open” political party lists.

Will the current coalition make this unfulfilled agreement a reality early within the next parliamentary session with sufficient time to come into force prior to the local elections in late October?

The second contingent was outlined in yesterday’s entry, “The question now facing the CEC, the President’s party, and ultimately the President, is whether to accept a clearly corrupted, grubby single seat win at the very public expense of the rule of law being seen to be applied.

Insuring the rule of law is fully applied now, and any offenders receive punishments as proscribed within the law, may yet set the tone for the local elections in a more positive light. Surely accepting a grubby little win in over a solitary seat now, will set a poor precedent for what follows in October.”

As the Criminal Code of Ukraine provides for heavy fines and the jailing of offenders involved in electoral fraud, coercion and bribery, will the nefarious, unabashed and blatant events surrounding the vote for Seat 205 be the platform upon which the police and prosecutors will eventually throw those involved in nefarious campaigning - which sadly includes several of the candidates themselves - in jail, thus making a public (and necessary) attempt at ending the orgy of electoral corruption that occurred, and forewarning those that will (undoubtedly) try the same tactics at the local elections?

Depending upon the answers to these questions and the repercussions they may have, the internal and external messaging may be particularly helpful - or not.

A new chapter appeared in the history of Ukrainian politics“?  Perhaps - but it may well prove to be the same dismal read as the previous one.  Page 1 at Seat 205 has been a very poor introduction.