The results of local elections cannot be called a failure for individual right-wing parties. Three nationalist mayors won re-election in the first round, although the right has lost representation in several important councils.“Street” radicals have failed altogether, despite multimillion-dollar infusions.
Vesti.ua figured out how the indicators in the 2020 elections will affect the right-wing movement in Ukraine.
Classics in fashion
In the parliamentary elections of 2019, «Svoboda» and their satellites from other right-wing projects were in for a failure — they managed to get only one People’s Deputy in the majority vote. The nationalists, who consistently won their districts in Kiev, Lvov and Poltava, lost to the «Servants of the People» and the proteges of Petro Poroshenko. The party, under whose banners the National Corps and C14 united, did not even come close to the passing mark.
The nationalists drew their conclusions and a year later made a bet on hilling their nuclear electorate. These are primarily the western regions. Svoboda has not only supporters there — acting deputies and mayors, but constant sponsors with financial support.
In its program, Oleg Tyagnibok’s team promised a military plan for the de-occupation of Crimea, the preservation of Ukrainian identity, the restoration of historical justice, economic nationalism, and de-oligarchization.
The bet on their classic electorate worked. Svoboda (Freedom) mayors won elections in Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk and Khmelnitsky by a huge margin. In Khmelnytsky, however, Alexander Simchishin went with his personal party, where he gathered his fellow nationalists.
The nationalists have also successfully appeared in individual councils. We managed to take the mono-majority in the Ivano-Frankivsk City Council. Although even Gennady Kernes in Kharkov cannot boast of such an achievement this year.
The deputies succeeded in getting them to the regional councils of Volyn, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lvov, Rovno, Ternopil. There are deputies in the city councils of Lutsk, Ternopil, Rivne, Poltava, Lvov. True, the factions in Kherson and, what is important, in Kiev have been lost. We’ll talk about this below.
Supporters of the incumbent mayors, as well as age nationalists who still remember Levko Lukyanenko and Vyacheslav Chernovol, voted for «Svoboda» in the West. The presence of such a powerful foothold in Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk makes it possible for Svoboda to remain the main nationalist force until the next parliamentary elections. Svoboda built its success in the 2012 parliamentary elections on the foundation of success in Ternopil and other western regions.
Political scientist Vadim Karasev told Vesti.ua why only “Svoboda” is popular among the right in the West. It’s not just about ideology.
“They have long since entered power, since the early 2000s, Svoboda has its own mayors and deputies. The party has a good apparatus. This is not a party of the streets, but a party of a part of the elites. “Svoboda” is part of the establishment in western Ukraine, ”says Karasev.
Competition with Poroshenko
Until very recently, Svoboda could be called an almost all-Ukrainian party. Its factions were in Kherson and Kiev, strong positions were in Poltava. In 2020, Tyagnibok and his team lost the capital and the southern regions.
One of the main reasons for the failure of the capital is the split of the local cell into the team of ex-People’s Deputy Yuri Levchenko and the remaining Svoboda. Younger representatives of the party left for Levchenko, and the old party activist decided not to change the color. As a result, neither one nor the other passed.
The second reason is the right wing of the «European Solidarity», which won the elections, having gathered under its wing, including nationalists. Capital developers breathed a sigh of relief when they heard the news about the failure of «Freedom», because they often blocked meetings where city planning issues were considered. True, there is information in the media that for a certain amount, the nationalists nevertheless compromised on certain issues.
In other regions, the excitement around the right-wing ideas, which were in vogue after 2014, has ended. The leading «svobodovtsy (members of Svoboda (Freedom)» realized that their ship was sinking, and ran to different parties: «Batkivshchina (Motherland)», «For the Future», «European Solidarity» and others. Some of them even won elections in their constituencies and will receive mandates.
Political scientist Pyotr Oleshchuk told Vesti.ua that the leaders of «Freedom» should be satisfied with the election results. They won where they expected.
They showed the best results in some areas. We can say that the number of areas where they could win, their results are comparable to the same «Eurosolidarity». They defended their positions in western Ukraine. Svoboda has no preconditions to be disappointed, ”says Oleschuk.
«Svoboda (Freedom)» remains and does not go anywhere, in contrast to the non-existent «Popular Front» or «Samopomich (Self-Help)». If Petro Poroshenko and his political force continue to lose popularity, the nationalists may well re-enter parliament by the next parliamentary elections.
Radicals are not voted for
Svoboda’s ideological counterparts from the National Corps and other radical organizations have been actively participating in street rallies since 2014. They often shine in the media and social networks, but ran in local elections only in some areas. So far, they have managed to take only 10 seats.
We will remind that according to the former representative of «National corps» Nazariy Kravchenko, about 400 thousand hryvnias a month were spent for the maintenance of party, and carrying out of action cost 3 million hryvnias. These infusions did not have a political effect.
So far, only the radical organization «Tradition and Order» has been noticed in street actions. They burn European Union flags, beat LGBT people and try to expel what they believe is George Soros. It is unknown whether the «traditionalists» will run in the elections in the future. And they are unlikely to have even a slim chance of success.
This result suggests that the Ukrainian voter may support some actions of the nationalists, but does not vote for them in the elections.
Political scientist Mykhailo Chaplyha assures that the majority of Ukrainian right-wingers are semi-criminal business projects. Voters understand this and do not support such associations.
“Semi-criminal organizations walk the streets and register as parties. They have no economic ideology, no principles with which to agree or not. Hence such weak results,”says Chaplyga.
Ukrainians do not vote for radical movements, preferring projects with a moderate and understandable ideology. The moderate right returned to its original positions in the western regions, losing the center and the south.
Oleg Tkachuk, Vesti