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Editor: Bogdan Szajkowski
Date: 2005
Political Parties of the World
Publisher: John Harper Publishing
Document Type: Topic overview
Pages: 8
Content Level: (Level 4)

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Page 603


Capital: Kyiv (Kiev)

Population: 48,457,000 (2001)

The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic declared independence from the USSR in August 1991 as Ukraine, which became a sovereign member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in December 1991. A new constitution adopted in June 1996 defines Ukraine as a democratic pluralist state and recognizes the right to private ownership of property, including land. It vests substantial powers in the executive President, who is directly elected for a five-year term and who nominates the Prime Minister and other members of the government, for approval by the legislature. Legislative authority is vested in a Supreme Council (Verkhovna Rada) of 450 members, who are elected for a four-year term by universal adult suffrage. Under an amendment to the Electoral Law adopted in October 1997, half of the Supreme Council deputies are elected by majority vote in single-member constituencies and the other 225 from party lists by proportional representation subject to a threshold of 4% of the national vote.

Elections to the Supreme Council on March 29, 1998, resulted in 445 of the 450 seats being validly filled, as follows: Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) 121 seats (with 24.7% of the proportional vote), Popular Movement of Ukraine (Rukh) 46 (9.4%), a joint list of the Socialist Party of Ukraine and the Peasants' Party of Ukraine 34 (8.6%), Popular Democratic Party 28 (5.0%), Hromada All-Ukrainian Association 24 (4.7%), Green Party of Ukraine 19 (5.4%), Social Democratic Party of Ukraine–United 17 (2.9%), Progressive Socialist Party 16 (2.5%), Agrarian Party of Ukraine 9 (3.7%), National Front 5 (2.7%), Party of Reforms and Order 3 (3.1%), Forward Ukraine! 2 (1.7%), Christian Democratic Party of Ukraine 2 (1.3%), Party of Regional Revival 2 (0.9%), six other parties or alliances 6, independents 111. Most of the independents joined parliamentary groups set up by the main parties, with the result that the centre-right factions commanded an overall majority, although the composition and names of the groups changed continually in the post-1998 parliamentary term.

In presidential elections on Oct. 31 and Nov. 14, 1999, incumbent Leonid Kuchma, standing without party affiliation, was re-elected for a second term with 56.3% of the valid second-round vote against 37.8% for the KPU candidate.

In a referendum on April 16, 2000, President Kuchma obtained overwhelming popular approval for proposed constitutional amendments providing for a bicameral parliament, a reduction in the size of the Supreme Council from 450 to 300 members, reduced parliamentary immunity from prosecution and enhanced presidential powers of dissolution. Meanwhile a new Electoral Law adopted by the Supreme Council in January 2001, under which all seats would be allocated by proportional representation, was vetoed by President Kuchma in March, following which the Council in May 2001 failed to master the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto. Only in October 2001 did the parliament adopt a new election law, subsequently signed by President Kuchma, that retained the mixed principle of 50% MPs elected directly and 50% on party lists.

The parliamentary elections held on March 31, 2002, resulted in the following allocation of seats: pro-presidential bloc "For a United Ukraine" 102, reformist bloc of former Prime Minister Viktor Yuschenko "Our Ukraine" 111, Communist Party 66, Social Democratic Party (United) 31, centre-right Bloc of Yuliya Tymoshenko (Fatherland) 23, Socialist Party 22, and 93 independents.

Out of 33 blocs and parties participating in the 2002 elections, 27 did not pass the 4% threshold of the national vote and did not make it into the Verkhovna Rada. As a result of political regrouping, however, the pro-presidential faction "For a United Ukraine" increased to 175 MPs by the end of 2002; it then fragmented into a number of party blocs but together with other groups and factions formed an unstable majority with the United Social Democrats. All opposition factions lost a number of MPs to the pro-presidential majority under "informal" political pressure and by January 2004 had the following number of seats: "Our Ukraine" 102, Communist Party 59, Socialist Party 20, Bloc Tymoshenko 19.

The work of the Verkhovna Rada was blocked in December 2003 by the opposition parties protesting against attempts by the pro-presidential majority, with the cooperation of the Communists, to get through a constitutional reform allowing election of the President by the parliament as opposed to a direct vote based on universal suffrage in a secret ballot.

A law "On political parties in Ukraine" adopted by parliament on April 5, 2001, specified that only all-Ukrainian political organizations that participate in elections (at least once in a decade), have representations (offices) in two-thirds of the regions of Ukraine, and with at least 10,000 initial supporters, could be registered as parties. Following the 2002 parliamentary elections, the Ukrainian justice department initiated Page 604  |  Top of Article in March 2003 a review of all parties and 46 parties were found to have irregularities in their registration documents by September 2003. The Highest Court of Ukraine considered violations of the law in the documents of 37 parties and annulled the registration of 31 parties by January 2004, reducing the list of registered parties to 96. On Nov. 7, 2003, the President of Ukraine submitted to the parliament proposed amendments to the law on political parties that would allow cancelling the registration of parties that did not achieve parliamentary representation within a decade

Agrarian Party of Ukraine

Ahrarna Partiya Ukrainy (APU)

Address. 6a Reytarska St., Kyiv

Telephone. 0038 044 4640190

Fax. 0038 044 4640587

Leadership. Mykhaylo Hladiy (chairman)

Favouring the de-collectivization of the agricultural sector, the APU was launched in 1996 as an alternative to the pro-collectivization Peasants' Party of Ukraine (SelPU). Backed by the presidency of Leonid Kuchma, the party obtained some support in the agriculture bureaucracy. Led by Kateryna Vashchuk in the 1998 parliamentary elections, the APU failed to achieve the 4% proportional threshold but won nine constituency seats.

Under the new leadership of Mykhaylo Hladiy, the APU in July 2001 joined a "pro-presidential" bloc, later designated "For a United Ukraine", with the People's Democratic Party, the Labour Party of Ukraine (Together) and the Party of Regional Revival of Ukraine, with the aim of creating "a powerful democratic force of centrist orientation". After the 2002 election victory of "For a United Ukraine" the APU resisted moves to weld the bloc into a single political party and created a separate fraction with 16 MPs led by Kateryna Vashchuk. The APU supported Prime Minister Yanukovych as presidential candidate in 2004.

Communist Party of Ukraine

Komunistychna Partiya Ukrainy (KPU)

Address. 7 Borysohlibska St., Kyiv 04070

Telephone. (380–44) 416–5487

Fax. (380–44) 416-31-37


Leadership. Petro Symonenko (first secretary)

The Soviet-era KPU was formally banned in August 1991, but a campaign for its revival began as early as the summer of 1992, culminating in two restoration congresses in Donetsk in March and June 1993. The party claims to be the "legal successor" to the Soviet-era KPU, but avoided declaring the June congress to be the "29th" in the party's history and has been unable to claim former KPU property. The party was officially registered in October 1993, the day after President Yeltsin's troops bombarded the White House in Moscow. Unlike other "successor" parties in Eastern Europe, the KPU remains aggressively anti-capitalist and anti-nationalist. It stands for the restoration of state control over the economy, and for some kind of confederative union between Ukraine and Russia. The KPU's populist nostalgia rapidly gained it support in economically troubled industrial areas of eastern Ukraine, especially in the Donbas, where party leader Petro Symonenko had been second secretary of the Donetsk party under the Soviet regime).

In the mid-1994 presidential elections the KPU gave crucial backing to Leonid Kuchma, then of the Inter-Regional Bloc for Reform, in his successful challenge to the incumbent. In the parliamentary elections that began in March 1994, the KPU emerged as substantially the largest single party, with an initial total of 90 seats (nearly all in eastern and southern Ukraine). The party thus became the fulcrum of potential further conflict between the eastern and western regions of Ukraine. In 1995–96 the KPU put up determined resistance to the new "presidential" constitution favoured by President Kuchma, claiming in February 1996 to have collected 2.5 million signatures in support of a referendum on the issues at stake. However, following the final adoption of the new text in June 1996 (without a referendum), the party leadership announced that it would no longer question the constitution's legitimacy, but would instead mount a campaign for early presidential and parliamentary elections, combined with mass industrial action in protest against government economic policy.

The KPU confirmed its position as the largest party in the March 1998 parliamentary elections, advancing to 121 seats on a vote share of 24.7% and subsequently being joined by some independent deputies. Standing for the KPU in the autumn 1999 presidential elections, Symonenko came second to Kuchma in the first round with 22.2% of the vote and lost to the incumbent in the second, receiving 37.8% on the strength of backing from other left-wing parties. The KPU leader complained that the polling had been rigged, as did international observers. In March 2000 the KPU's headquarters in Kyiv were briefly occupied by nationalist militants, who accused the party of promoting the colonization of Ukraine by Russia.

In the major crisis which overtook the Kuchma administration in early 2001 over allegations that he had been involved in the murder of a journalist, the KPU claimed credit for securing the dismissal of "pro-American" Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko in April and declared itself ready to form a government. At a May Day rally Symonenko asserted that "nationalists and oligarchic capitalists", assisted by the West, were seeking to divide Ukraine into three parts and to detach the country from "fraternal Slavic peoples". Earlier in the year the KPU had signed a co-operation agreement with the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and declared its support for Ukrainian membership of the Belarus-Russia Union.

Following the terrorist attacks on the USA in September 2001, the KPU condemned the US-led military action against Afghanistan as "unleashing a new world war". Calling for Ukraine to declare neutrality and non-alignment, the party castigated the Kuchma administration for granting US military planes the right to use Ukrainian airspace. The KPU was likewise against Ukrainian participation in the US-led coalition forces in Iraq and voted against the Ukrainian peace-keeping mission in Liberia in 2003.

Despite earlier talks with other opposition parties to unite against the "regime" of President Kuchma, the KPU joined with the pro-presidential majority in proposing a constitutional reform in 2004 that would allow parliament to elect the President. The KPU has been widely accused of being the "official opposition" party in a virtual party politics played by the pro-presidential clans to keep President Kuchma in power. The KPU nominated its leader as its presidential candidate in 2004.



Address. Room 916, 26 Lesi Ukrainky Ave, Kyiv, 01133

Telephone. 0038 044 2944221


Leadership. Yuliya Tymoshenko (chairperson)

The moderate conservative Fatherland was launched in March 1999 by a faction of the Hromada All-Ukrainian Association after Hromada leader Pavlo Lazarenko had fled to the USA to escape charges of financial corruption when he was Prime Minister in 1996-97. The new party was joined by 23 Supreme Council deputies, 19 of them former Hromada members. In January 2000 Fatherland leader Page 605  |  Top of Article Yuliya Tymoshenko was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and given charge of the energy sector. In August 2000 her husband was among several state energy officials arrested on embezzlement charges and was later also accused of paying large bribes to Lazarenko when he was Prime Minister.

Tymoshenko herself was then charged with corruption when she had been a state energy official and was dismissed from the government in January 2001, whereupon Fatherland joined the parliamentary opposition to President Kuchma, who was concurrently under intense pressure to resign over his alleged involvement in the murder of a journalist. The arrest of Tymoshenko in mid-February 2001 was condemned by Fatherland as punishment for her anti-Kuchma stance and her attempts to reform the energy sector. She was released and rearrested in March, before being re-released by decision of the Supreme Court in April 2001. Under hospital treatment for a stomach ulcer through these machinations, Tymoshenko on her re-release called for Kuchma to be removed by constitutional procedures. She subsequently dismissed as "cheap provocation" the filing of bribery charges against her by military prosecutors in Russia.

In July 2001 Tymoshenko announced the creation of the anti-Kuchma "National Salvation Forum", within which it was envisaged that Fatherland would contest the 2002 elections in an alliance of centre-right parties including the Christian Democratic Party of Ukraine, the Social Democratic Party of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Republican Party and the Ukrainian Conservative Republican Party. The following month the Forum was joined by the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine. Fatherland (as the Bloc of Yuliya Tymoshenko) actively participated as an opposition party in the 2002 election and won 23 seats in the Verkhovna Rada. However, due to political pressure the Fatherland fraction was reduced to 19 by 2004. Fatherland actively supported Viktor Yuschenko as presidential candidate in 2004.

Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Ukraine (PIEU)

Partiya promyslovtsiv ta pidpryiemtsiv Ukrayiny

Address. 11 Shota Rustavelli Str., Kyiv – 01023

Telephone. 0038 044 2343707

Fax. 0038 044 235 82 58

Leadership. Anatoliy Kinakh

Registered by former Prime Minister Anatoliy Kinakh in March 2000, the party was formed on the basis of the Ukrainian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs active since the early 1990s. The UUIE united the directors of big, initially state-owned enterprises and was briefly led by Leonid Kuchma before he became President in 1994. Anatoliy Kinakh became head of the UUIE in 1997 and worked as vice-Prime Minister in charge of the economy from August 1999 to January 2000. After his dismissal he formed the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Ukraine (PIEU) in February 2000 and was nominated as Prime Minister in March 2001. After being dismissed in November 2002 Kinakh and the PIEU joined the coalition of pro-presidential parties in the parliamentary elections of March 2002 and formed a faction with Labour Ukraine in June 2002. PIEU has 6 MPs in the faction including former Minister of Economy Vasyl Gureyev. Anatoliy Kinakh remained the president of the Ukrainian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, which includes the Ukrainian Federation of Employers and the Ukrainian Agrarian Confederation. The PIEU nominated Kinakh as its presidential candidate in 2004.

Party "Labour Ukraine"

Politychna Partiya "Trudova Ukrayina"

Address. 4 Shovkovychna Str., Kyiv – 01021

Teephone. 00 38 044 2298903


Leadership. Sergiy Tihipko

Political party "Labour Ukraine" was registered in June 2000 and united six public organizations under the leadership of a powerful business and political grouping in the Ukrainian parliament that had formed the "Labour Ukraine" fraction in April 1999. The parliamentary lobby included the wealthiest Ukrainian entrepreneur and President's son-in-law Viktor Pinchuk, ex-minister and industrialist Ihor Sharov, and ex-Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) officer turned powerful businessman, Andriy Derkach. Andriy Derkach, apart from being the self-declared godson of Leonid Kuchma is also the son of the former head of the SBU, Leonid Derkach, and sponsor of a pro-Russian political coalition "To Europe with Russia".

Ihor Sharov became head of the party after initial leader Mykhaylo Syrota left, and quickly turned the "Labour Ukraine" fraction into the second largest in the parliament with 46 members. The party congress in autumn 2000, however, elected ex-Minister of Economy Sergiy Tihipko as its leader, who proclaimed the "labour" ideology of "Labour Ukraine". The party controlled four parliamentary committees and had a number of ministers in the government associated with the party. Despite its "labour" rhetoric Labour Ukraine is a coalition of self-sufficient "oligarchs" with the support of the law enforcement agencies such as the SBU.

Labour Ukraine joined the pro-presidential coalition "For a United Ukraine" during the parliamentary election campaign in 2002. "For a United Ukraine" formed a majority with a number of independent MPs and disintegrated into factions among which Labour Ukraine formed one with the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (42 members). Labour Ukraine controlled two parliamentary committees (foreign affairs and finance) while Sergiy Tihipko is the Head of National Bank of Ukraine. As a result of a symbolic coalition between the government and the parliament, Labour Ukraine, as a part of the parliamentary majority, nominated the Minister of Economy and Minister of Industrial Policy in the government of Viktor Yanukovych. There are 17 ex-ministers or deputy-ministers within the parliamentary fraction of Labour Ukraine. Labour Ukraine has initiated a number of political projects in support of President Leonid Kuchma whose popularity plummeted after the "cassette scandal", linking him to a murder of a journalist.

Labour Ukraine supported Prime Minister Yanukovych as presidential candidate in 2004.

Party of Reforms and Order

Partiya Reformy i Poryadok (PRiP)

Address. 2 Tymiriazivska St., Kyiv 01014

Telephone. 0038044 2014115

Fax. 0038044 2014117


Leadership. Viktor Pynzenyk (chairman)

The PRiP was launched in advance of the 1998 parliamentary elections by a group of economic reformers led by former Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Pynzenyk, who had resigned from the Kuchma administration in April 1997 in protest against the slow pace of reform. As originally conceived, the "reforms" component of the party's platform was to be represented by Pynzenyk, while Supreme Council committee chairman Hryhoriy Omelchenko was to supply a "law and order" dimension. In the event, Omelchenko opted to join Forward Ukraine, and later Ukraininian People's Party "Sobor". In the 1998 polling the PRiP unexpectedly failed to achieve the 4% minimum in the proportional section (winning 3.1%) and returned only three candidates in the constituency contests.

In political manoeuvring for the 2002 parliamentary elections, the PRiP in July 2001 joined the "Our Ukraine" bloc Page 606  |  Top of Article led by former Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko and also including both factions of the Popular Movement of Ukraine (Rukh), and hence gained representation in the Verkhovna Rada. PRiP actively supported Viktor Yuschenko as presidential candidate in 2004 and promoted the idea of creating a single party "Our Ukraine".

Party of the Regions

Partiya Regioniv

Address. Apt 5, 3 Kudriavska Str., Kyiv - 04053

Telephone. 0038 044 212 55 70

Fax. 0038 044 1225583


Leadership. Viktor Yanukovych

The Party of the Regions was registered in March 2001 after four other parties joined its predecessor – the Party of Regional Revival of Ukraine (PRVU). The PRVU was founded in November 1997 by Volodymyr Rybak, the mayor of Donetsk, with the declared aim of protecting the socio-economic interests of the regions and promoting regional autonomy. It won only 0.9% of the proportional vote in the March 1998 parliamentary elections, but elected two candidates in constituency contests. The PRVU supported Leonid Kuchma in the 1999 presidential elections. The new Party of the Regions aquired a powerful political lobby in the parliament and elected a new leader – the head of the State Tax Inspectorate, Mykola Azarov. The party was modelled on the Russian pro-presidential political bloc "Yedinstvo" and incorporated the industrialist lobby from Donbas including ex-Prime Minister Yuhym Zviagilski, Donetsk mayor Volodymyr Rybak, Regional governor Viktor Yanukovych and one of the most powerful Donetsk "oligarchs" – Rinat Akhmetov.

The Party of the Regions created a parliamentary faction "Regions of Ukraine" that included 24 members and established its presence in all regions of Ukraine with some help from the state tax authority and its head Mykola Azarov. The Party of the Regions joined the pro-presidential bloc "For a United Ukraine" in the March 2002 parliamentary elections and formed a new faction "Regions of Ukraine" with a satellite group "European choice" (67 members). After a political compromise Viktor Yanukovych was approved as Prime Minister in April 2003 and immediately elected as head of the Party of the Regions with a clear view to the presidential contest in late 2004. With the head of the party as Prime Minister and ex-head of the party Mykola Azarov as vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Party of the Regions also controls a number of key govermental ministries such energy and fuel, and is one of the main political, financial and administrative forces in the country – i.e. one of the so-called "parties of power". Despite the past criminal convictions of Viktor Yanukovych and the murky origins of the wealth amassed by the involved "oligarchs", the party was hopeful and indeed well positioned to win the presidential elections in October 2004.

Popular Democratic Party

Narodno-Demokratychna Partiya (NDP)

Address. 107 Antonovycha St., Kyiv 03150

Telephone. (0038 044) 252–8418

Fax. (0038 044) 2528420


Leadership. Valeriy Pustovoytenko (chairman)

The pro-market NDP was formed in mid-1996 as a merger of several small centrist groupings, notably the Democratic Revival Party of Ukraine (PDVU), which had won four parliamentary seats in 1994, and New Wave (NK), which had also won four. From July 1997 to November 1999 the NDP provided the Prime Minister in the person of Valeriy Pustovoytenko. In the March 1998 parliamentary elections the NDP advanced to 28 seats on a proportional vote share of 5% and became part of the centre-right parliamentary majority giving qualified backing to governments appointed by President Kuchma, whom the party supported in his successful re-election bid in 1999.

In September 2000 the NDP parliamentary group chairman, Oleksandr Karpov, was elected head of the centre-right pro-government majority in the Supreme Council. The NDP joined the "For a United Ukraine" bloc in 2002 parliamentary elections securing 6 seats on the party list and 8 in local constituencies. NDP supported Prime Minister Yanukovych as presidential candidate in 2004.

Popular Movement of Ukraine

Narodnyi Rukh Ukrainy (NRU)

Address. 33 Honchara St., Kyiv 01034

Telephone. (0038 044) 2359430

Fax. (0038 044) 246–4759



Leadership. Borys Tarasyuk

The first attempt to unite all Ukrainian opposition groups in a "popular front" modelled on similar groups in the Baltic republics was crushed by the authorities in the summer of 1988. The second attempt brought in moderate elements from the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) and the Writers' Union of Ukraine over the winter of 1988–89, and resulted in the publication of a draft manifesto in February 1989. At that stage, Rukh (Ukrainian for "movement") still accepted the leading role of the KPU and refrained from any direct mention of Ukrainian independence. This pattern was largely confirmed by the movement's first congress in September 1989, which elected the writer Ivan Drach as leader. The autumn of 1989 also brought the resignation of the KPU's veteran conservative leader, Volodymyr Shcherbytskiy, and the beginning of the campaign for republican elections, which allowed Rukh to expand its influence. Rukh's high-water mark came in March 1990, when the movement's front organization, the Democratic Bloc, won 27% of the seats in the elections to the Ukrainian parliament.

Thereafter, Rukh lost its status as the sole opposition group. Other political parties began to appear, and Rukh fell increasingly under the control of its nationalist wing. The various elections and referendums of 1991 showed no advance on Rukh's 1990 position, and the movement effectively split at its third congress in February-March 1992, with the more nationalist wing leaving to found the Congress of National Democratic Forces in August 1992. Vyacheslav Chornovil was left in charge of a rump Rukh, which formally turned itself into a political party under his leadership at its fourth congress in December 1992.

Under Chornovil's leadership, Rukh took a centre-right line on most questions, supporting market reforms and a liberal democratic state united around territorial rather than ethnic patriotism, but also advocating strong national defence and Ukraine's departure from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). On this platform, it won 20 seats in its own right in the 1994 elections and subsequently attracted half a dozen independent deputies into its parliamentary group. The party subsequently strongly opposed the successful KPU-backed presidential candidacy of Leonid Kuchma, whom Chornovil described as Ukraine's "most dangerous enemy".

Declaring itself to be in favour of Ukrainian membership of the European Union and NATO, Rukh sought to rally anti-left forces for the March 1998 parliamentary elections. Benefiting from its substantial following in western Ukraine, Rukh emerged as the second largest party (though far behind the KPU), winning 46 seats on a vote share of 9.4%. It then became part of a highly fluid parliamentary majority defined Page 607  |  Top of Article by its opposition to the left and broadly supportive of Kuchma-appointed governments, although critical of Kuchma himself.

Festering divisions within Rukh became critical in February 1999 when Chornovil was ousted from the party chairmanship and replaced by Yuriy Kostenko. Chornovil and his supporters thereupon established another version of Rukh, of which Hennadiy Udovenko became leader following Chornovil's death in a car crash in March. Both Kostenko and Udovenko were candidates in the autumn 1999 presidential elections, but won only 2.2% and 1.2% of the first-round vote respectively. With hostility between the two factions growing, a third Rukh faction was formed in November 2000 under the leadership of Bohdan Boyko with the aim of "reuniting" the other two. Such efforts resulted in a joint announcement by Kostenko and Udovenko in September 2001 that their factions would reunite under the umbrella of the "Our Ukraine" bloc led by former Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko. However, after the 2002 parliamentary elections Kostenko's party (UNR) formed with the Democratic Party of Ukraine a new party – the Ukrainian People's Party (UNP). NRU, UNP and the Party of Reforms and Order form the backbone of the "Our Ukraine" reformist political bloc led by Viktor Yuschenko.

Social Democratic Party of Ukraine–United

Sotsial-Demokratychna Partiya Ukrainy–Obyednana (SDPU-O)

Address. 18 Ivana Franka St., Kyiv

Telephone. (0038 044) 5361571

Fax. (0038 044) 5361578



Leadership. Viktor Medvedchuk (chairman)

A Ukrainian social democratic movement first emerged in 1988, when various all-USSR groups became active in the republic. In 1989–90 the Ukrainian groups cut their ties with fraternal organizations in the rest of the USSR, organizing a founding congress in May 1990. However, the congress resulted in an immediate split, with the moderates, who supported Ukrainian sovereignty and German-style social democracy, forming the Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (SDPU) and the more left-wing faction the SDPU–O. After the SDPU won only two seats in the 1994 elections and the SDPU–O none, a reunification attempt was made but broke down in late 1997.

In the 1998 parliamentary elections, most social democratic forces, including former President Leonid Kravchuk and former Prime Minister Yevgeniy Marchuk, swung behind the SDPU–O, but the party won only 17 seats and just over 4% of the proportional vote. In the 1999 presidential elections, SDPU–O candidate Vasyl Onopenko took only 0.5% of the first-round vote, in part because Marchuk, running without party attribution, obtained 8.1%. Thereafter, the SDPU–O parliamentary group became part of a fluid pro-government centre-right majority, of which Kravchuk was the leader until September 2000.

By the end of the 1990s SDPU-O completely transformed and became social democratic only in its rhetoric. The founder of the party, Vasyl Onopenko, was ousted after a failed presidential bid in 1999. A successful businessman, Viktor Medvedchuk, with the support of the Kyiv business lobby, transformed SDPU-O into the exemplary party of the "oligarchs", with alleged mafia links and a strong political lobby. Vasyl Onopenko formed an alternative and marginal Ukrainian Social Democratic Party, while Marchuk briefly supported the Social Democratic Union led by Sergiy Peresunko. SDPU-O, however, became by far the most powerful "social democratic" force with control of major media outlets and especially TV channels.

Heavy domination of the Ukrainian electronic media and affluent financial support did not allow SDPU-O, however, to win more than 6.27% of the national vote in the 2002 parliamentary elections. This was due to the negative public image of its leader Viktor Medvedchuk, associated with aggressive business tactics and "black" PR. The political fortunes of the SDPU-O leader seemed to rocket as his fraction in the Verkhovna Rada became the key to creation of a pro-presidential majority. Political agreement among pro-Kuchma forces elevated Medvedchuk to the position of head of presidential administration, giving him enormous though extra-constitutional powers. SDPU-O formally supported Prime Minister Yanukovych as presidential candidate in 2004.

Socialist Party of Ukraine

Sotsialistychna Partiya Ukrainy (SPU)

Address. 45 Vorovskogo St., Kyiv - 01054

Telephone. (0038 044) 2168882



Leadership. Oleksandr Moroz (chairman)

The SPU was the first would-be successor to the Soviet-era Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU), being formed only two months after the August 1991 coup attempt in Moscow under the leadership of Oleksandr Moroz, the former KPU chairman of the Ukrainian legislature. Moroz steered the SPU away from open nostalgia for the old system, but in 1992–94 adopted a populist position, attacking the "introduction of capitalism" and the "growth of national-fascism" in Ukraine. He also called for the reintroduction of state direction of the economy, price controls and "socially just privatization". In the sphere of external policy, the party has advocated closer economic and political ties with Russia and the other CIS states (its more radical members supporting a restored USSR). Unlike the revived KPU, however, the SPU was generally reconciled to the fact of Ukrainian independence.

In June 1993 the SPU formed an alliance called "Working Ukraine" with the Peasants' Party of Ukraine (SelPU) and smaller left-wing groups, in close co-operation of the KPU, although the latter did not join. The SPU claimed the support of 38 deputies in the Ukrainian parliament in 1992–93 while it enjoyed the advantage of being the only organized leftist successor to the KPU. Its pre-eminence on the left disappeared with the rise of the restored KPU in 1993–94, but it nevertheless won 15 seats in the 1994 elections, after which Moroz was elected chairman of the Ukrainian parliament. By mid-1994 the SPU controlled a parliamentary faction of 25 deputies. In early 1996, however, the party was weakened by a split resulting in the formation of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP).

The SPU contested the 1998 parliamentary elections in an alliance with the SelPU called "For the Truth, For the People, For Ukraine", their joint list winning 34 seats with 8.6% of the proportional vote. Plans for a joint presidential candidate of the alliance and other left-leaning parties foundered in the run-up to the 1999 contest, with the result that Moroz stood for the SPU and came third with 11.3% of the first-round vote. In the second round the SPU supported KPU leader Petro Symonenko, who was defeated by incumbent Leonid Kuchma. In early 2000 the SPU was prominent in ultimately abortive left-wing attempts to prevent the ousting of Council president Oleksandr Tkachenko (SelPU) by the centre-majority, whose action was described by Moroz as tantamount to a coup d'état.

Moroz and the SPU also took a leading role in the major political crisis which developed from late 2000 over President Kuchma's alleged role in the murder of a journalist. After being sued for slander by Kuchma's chief of staff for revealing apparent presidential involvement in the affair, Page 608  |  Top of Article Moroz described the crisis as "a turning-point" in Ukraine's national history. In May 2001 the SPU initiated moves for a national referendum in which voters would be asked to approve the removal of the President. In May 2001 Moroz announced that the SPU would contest the 2002 parliamentary elections in alliance with at least four other left-wing parties. Despite strong political confrontation with pro-presidential parties, the SPU won 6.87% of the national vote in 2002 and managed to get 22 seats in the parliament. SPU nominated its leader as presidential candidate in 2004.

Other Parties and Alliances

The following selection from other registered parties in Ukraine focuses on those which contested the March 2002 parliamentary elections, either on their own or within blocs, or are of other particular interest.

All-Ukrainian Association Hromada (Vseukrayinske Obyednannya Hromada). The free-market Hromada ("Community") party was re-launched in late 1997 under the leadership of Pavlo Lazarenko, who had been dismissed as Prime Minister by President Leonid Kuchma some months earlier because of corruption allegations against him. Based in Dnipropetrovsk, the party became part of the anti-Kuchma opposition and won 24 seats in the 1998 parliamentary elections (with a vote share of 4.7%), subsequently attracting about 20 independent deputies into its parliamentary group. In February 1999, however, Lazarenko fled to the USA after the Supreme Council had removed his immunity from prosecution, whereupon a substantial section of Hromada broke away to form the Fatherland grouping. Since late 2000 Lazarenko has been in custody in the USA facing money-laundering charges. Hromada did not participate in the 2002 parliamentary elections.

Address. 1 Laboratornyi provulok, Kyiv 01133

Telephone. (0038–044) 2528857

Fax. 0038 044 2528857


Leadership. Pavlo Lazarenko (chairman), Anatoliy Moskalenko

All-Ukrainian Political Bloc "Women for future" ("Zhinky za maybutnie" Vseukrayinske politychne obyednannia). The bloc was only registered in March 2001 but secured 2.11% of the national vote in March 2002, allegedly due to unofficial support from the presidential administration. Its registered leader is Valentyna Dovzhenko, but the organization was widely associated with Liudmyla Kuchma, the wife of President Kuchma.

Christian Democratic Party of Ukraine (Khrystyiansko-Demokratychna Partiya Ukrainy, KhDPU). The KhDPU was founded in June 1992 by a moderate splinter group of the more nationalistic Ukrainian Christian Democratic Party (UKhDP). The KhDPU won two seats in the 1994 parliamentary elections, one in Transcarpathia and the other in Odessa. It retained two constituency seats in 1998, although it won only 1.3% of the proportional vote. The KhDPU did not feature on the party list in parliamentary elections in 2002. Party leader Zhuravskyi was appointed First Deputy Minister of Science and Education in August 2003.

Address. 1/2a Baseyna St., Kyiv

Telephone. (00380–44) 235–3996

Leadership. Vitaly Zhuravskyi (chairman)

Forward Ukraine! (Vpered Ukrayino!). Adapting the name of a Russian formation of the mid-1990s, Forward Ukraine! was launched for the 1998 elections as an alliance of (i) the Christian Popular Union Party (Partiya KhrystyyanskoNarodnyi Soyuz, PKNS) led by Volodymyr Stretovych; and (ii) the Ukrainian Christian Democratic Party (Ukrainska Khrystyyansko–Demokratychna Partiya, UKhDP). Plans for a broader electoral front to include the Party of Reforms and Order came to nothing, with the result that Forward Ukraine! scored only 1.7% of the proportional vote and won only two constituency seats in 1998.

Based in the Uniate Catholic population of Galicia, the nationalist UKhDP had been founded in 1990 but had been weakened by a 1992 schism with its more moderate Orthodox wing, which broke away to form the Christian Democratic Party of Ukraine. The PKNS is an observer member of the Christian Democrat International.

Forward Ukraine joined the political bloc of Viktor Yuschenko "Our Ukraine" in the 2002 parliamentary election and supported the idea of creating a single party on the basis of this bloc after the elections.

Address. 10/17 Velyka Zhytomyrska St., Kyiv 01025

Telephone. (00380–44) 2125462

Fax. (00380–44) 228–0461

Leadership. Viktor Musiyaka

Green Party of Ukraine (Partiya Zelenykh Ukrainy, PZU). The PZU was created in 1990 by environmentalist groups which had emerged in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident, its platform urging government action on the huge environmental problems faced by Ukraine arising from Soviet-era industrialization. It had early links with the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) and generally supported the presidency of Leonid Kravchuk (1991–94), but has been more critical of the successor administration of Leonid Kuchma. Having failed to achieve representation in 1994, the PZU won 19 seats in the 1998 legislative elections on a vote share of 5.4%, becoming part of a fluctuating parliamentary majority defined by its opposition to the KPU-led left. That success, however, was achieved at the price of the Greens accepting sponsorship by Eastern Ukrainian industrialists involved in highly polluting steel and oil production industries. In the 1999 presidential elections, PZU leader Vitaliy Kononov obtained only 0.3% of the first-round vote, while by mid-2001 the Green parliamentary group had declined to 17 members. Among the "business" members of the Green Party parliament fraction four were under criminal investigation. Although the PSU participated in the parliamentary elections in March 2002 it managed to attract only 1.3% of voters and failed to gain any seats.

Address. 2/16 Chapayeva St., Kyiv 01030

Telephone. (0038 044) 2249103

Fax. (0038 044) 2273016



Leadership. Vitaliy Kononov (leader); Oleh Shevchuk (deputy leader and secretary-general)

National Front–National Salvation Forum (Natsionalnyi Front (NF)–Forum Natsionalnoho Poriatunku). The right-wing nationalist NF was created for the March 1998 parliamentary elections as an alliance of (i) the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists (Kongres Ukrainskykh Natsionalistiv, KUN); (ii) the Ukrainian Republican Party (Ukrainska Respublikanska Partiya, URP); and (iii) the Ukrainian Conservative Republican Party (Ukrainska Konservatyvna Respublikanska Partiya, UKRP). Their joint list fell well below the 4% barrier in the proportional section (obtaining 2.7%), while in the constituency contests its tally of five seats compared unfavourably with the 17 seats won by the three parties in 1994.

The KUN was established in October 1992 by the émigré Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and quickly absorbed other rightist groups. Its programme advocates a Page 609  |  Top of Article strong nation state, independent in all respects from Russia, and withdrawal from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Economically, the KUN has veered between the strongly pro-capitalist orientation of its émigré members and a recognition of the need for state protection for the enfeebled Ukrainian economy. In the 1994 elections KUN chairman Slava Stetsko was prevented from standing in a Lviv constituency, but the party had considerable support in western Ukraine, where it elected five deputies in its own name and endorsed several successful non-party candidates. Slava Stetsko was elected an MP from a Western Ukrainian constituency in 1997 and again in 1998. KUN joined the "Our Ukraine" bloc in the parliamentary elections in March 2002.

The URP was the first non-communist political party to be openly formed in Ukraine in modern times (in April 1990), as the direct successor of the Ukrainian Helsinki Union (1988–90), itself a revival of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group (1976–80). The party bases its ideology on the conservative Ukrainian philosopher Viacheslav Lypynskiy and supports "the Ukrainian character of national statehood", while advocating a tolerant approach to ethnic minorities. It stands for resolute national defence, immediate withdrawal from the CIS and a strong, unitary, presidential republic. Economically, the party supports the creation of "a society of property owners" but opposes "socially unjust privatization".

The URP became the best-organized nationalist party in the early 1990s, but was weakened by the formation in June 1992 of the breakaway UKRP by a radical right-wing faction led by deputy chairman Stepan Khmara. The UKRP adopted a vigorously anti-Russian line and, unlike the URP, strongly opposed any compromise with former Communists such as Leonid Kravchuk (President until July 1994), whom Khmara had accused of being a "traitor" to Ukrainian national interests. Khmara also advocated a nuclear Ukraine and support for ethnic Ukrainians in neighbouring Russian territories. Despite fielding 130 candidates, the URP performed poorly in the 1994 elections, winning only 11 seats. Its then chairman, Mykhailo Horyn, was defeated by Khmara in Lviv, although that was the UKRP's only success. Following defeat in the 1998 parliamentary elections the URP declared its intention to unite with the Ukrainian Christian Democratic Party (UKhDP) and the Ukrainian People's Party "Sobor". In combination with the Ukrainian Social Democratic Party, UKRP and "Fatherland" these six parties created the "National Salvation Forum" in July 2001 that later turned into the political "Bloc of Yuliya Tymoshenko". After Khmara's UKRP merged into "Fatherland" and UKhDP into URP, the Ukrainian Republican Party joined the Ukrainian People's Party "Sobor" creating URP "Sobor" led by Anatoliy Matvienko since April 2002.

Address. 111/21 Kreshchatyk Street, Kyiv

Telephone. (+38 044) 229–2425

Leadership. Olexiy Ivchenko (KUN chairman); Levko Lukyanenko (URP chairman); Stepan Khmara (UKRP chairman), Anatoliy Matviyenko (URP Sobor).

Peasants' Party of Ukraine (Selianska Partiya Ukrainy, SelPU). The roots of the SelPU lie in the rural organizations of the former ruling Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU), which first established the Peasants' Union of Ukraine in September 1990 and then the SelPU in January 1992. While collective farm chairmen and heads of agro-industries usually preferred to remain "non-party" publicly, in practice many supported the SelPU, which emerged as a powerful force maintaining the flow of subsidies to the agricultural sector and obstructing plans for land privatization. In alliance with the KPU and the Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU), the SelPU polled strongly in the 1994 parliamentary elections, winning 19 seats in conservative rural areas. In the Supreme Council elected in 1998, it became the dominant component of the Rural Ukraine faction.

The SelPU contested the 1998 parliamentary elections in an alliance with the SPU called "For the Truth, For the People, For Ukraine", winning about a third of the joint list's 34 seats (with 8.6% of the vote). A prominent SelPU member, Oleksandr Tkachenko, was elected chairman of the new Supreme Council and became a prospective candidate in the 1999 presidential elections, until withdrawing in favour of the KPU leader, Petro Symonenko, and backing his unsuccessful bid. In a lengthy political crisis in early 2000, during which two competing legislatures were sitting at one stage, Tkachenko was ousted from the Council presidency by the centre-right majority.

The 2002 parliamentary elections brought only 0.37% of national support (and no seats) to the party that is mostly associated now with the personality and wealth of Serhiy Dovhan, famous for his extensive network of distilleries and vodka brands. Tkachenko, however, was elected to parliament on the Communist Party list.

Address. 17 Starovokzalna St., Kyiv 01032

Telephone. 0038 044 2463842

Fax. 0038 044 2463843

Leadership. Serhiy Dovhan (chairman)

Political Party "Yabluko". Yabluko was registered in November 1999 and formed a faction (15 members) in the parliament under the leadership of Mykhaylo Brodskyi. Modelled on the Russian Yabloko it claims to be a liberal party, with a motto "For a rich and free Ukraine" that reflects the wealth and business orientation of its leader and many other business-oriented members. Brodskyi was the owner of the popular tabloid Kievskiye Vedomosti and has broad economic interests. Sometimes Yabluko is referred to as another "oligarch" party; however, after it achieved only 1.15% of the national vote in the March 2002 parliamentary election, failing to gain any sits in the Verkhovna Rada, Yabluko claims to be an opposition party. Yabluko nominated its leader as presidential candidate in 2004 despite claiming earlier support to Viktor Yuschenko's "Our Ukraine" political bloc in the 2004 presidential elections.

Address. Office 1, 33 Liuteranska Str., Kyiv – 01024

Telephone. 0038 044 2935671

Fax. 0038 044 2936200


Leadership. Mykhaylo Brodskyi; Viktor Chaika

Progressive Socialist Party (Prohresyvna Sotsialistychna Partiya, PSP). The leftist PSP was launched in 1996 by a dissident faction of the Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU). Under the leadership of Nataliya Vitrenko, the party called for a return to "the radiant past" of the Soviet era, opposed privatization of "national security enterprises" and advocated closer links with Russia and Belarus. The PSP just achieved the 4% threshold in the March 1998 parliamentary elections, winning 16 seats and becoming part of the left-wing parliamentary opposition headed by the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU).

Standing for the PSP in the 1999 presidential elections, Vitrenko came a creditable fourth, winning 11% of the first-round vote. In July 2001 she announced that the PSP would contest the 2002 parliamentary elections as "an independent political force". However, the political bloc of marginal parties named "Bloc of Natalia Vitrenko" won only 3.22% of the national vote in 2002 and failed to get any parliamentary seats. There was widespread speculation that the bloc was supported by the government to divert left-wing voters from supporting the Socialist Party of Olexander Moroz, who strongly opposed the President of Ukraine, presenting in the Page 610  |  Top of Article parliament damaging audio-recordings that connected Leonid Kuchma to the murder of a journalist. In 2004 the PSP signed an agreement with the right-wing Russian parliamentary bloc "Rodina". PSP nominated its leader as presidential candidate in 2004.

Address. 15 Kominternu St., Kyiv – 01032

Telephone. 0038 044 2917460, 2464722

Leadership. Nataliya Vitrenko (chairperson)

Ukrainian National Assembly (Ukrainska Natsionalna Asambleya, UNA). The Ukrainian National Assembly, an ultra-nationalist formation, was founded initially as the Inter-Party Assembly in June 1990 by a group of allegedly right-wing activists on the basis of an ideological mixture of Ukrainian civic nationalism, extreme populism and some sort of Buddhist rhetoric. The UNA, however, became popular among some inhabitants of Western Ukraine who viewed the Assembly as an alternative to the corrupt administration of the old Soviet nomenklatura and unreformed Communists dominating the parliament. The UNA managed to secure 3 seats in the Ukrainian parliament in June 1994. 15 members of UNA were detained in Kyiv during a clash with police who attempted to block a funeral procession from entering the Cathedral complex in July 1995. The Justice Department of Ukraine, however, cancelled the UNA's registration on an unrelated legal pretext and a number of UNA members were detained and arrested. Those arrests, however, did not result in further criminal prosecutions and the UNA re-registered with the Department of Justice in September 1997. The party has participated since then in local as well national elections, but has decreased in popularity and won only 0.4% of the 1998 national vote and 0.04% in 2002. The UNA is better known for its more active paramilitary wing – the UNSO. Its involvment in anti-presidential demonstrations in March 2001 led to mass arrests and 15 convictions. The party experienced division when Andriy Shkil (MP with Fatherland) was formally dismissed in April 2002 as head of the organization. The Ministry of Justice registered Eduard Kovalenko as the new head; however, part of the organization supports Andriy Shkil. UNA supported Bohdan Boyko (Rukh za yednist) as presidential candidate in 2004.

Address. Room 92, 132 Velyka Vasylkivska Str., Kyiv

Telephone. 0038 044 2692445

Fax. 0038 044 2692445


Leadership. Eduard Kovalenko &Andriy Shkil (lead rival factions)

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|CX3465900190