Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 47

The supporters of Vyacheslav Chornovil, the long-time leader of Ukraine’s largest right-of-center party, the Rukh, pledged their loyalty to him at their congress on March 7. They ruled that Chornovil remain the Rukh chairman. The party’s central committee and the majority at the congress a week earlier had voted for Chornovil’s dismissal–accusing him of authoritarianism–and replaced him with Yury Kostenko, the leader of the Rukh reformist wing and a potential presidential candidate. On March 7 Chornovil and his supporters branded as illegal all Rukh central leadership decisions beginning with their no- confidence motion against Chornovil on February 20. Chornovil confirmed that Hennady Udovenko, former foreign affairs minister, is still the presidential nominee of the center-right bloc of the Rukh and the Reforms and Order Party (PRP). Viktor Pynzenyk, a well-known liberal economist and the PRP leader, apparently sided with Chornovil in attending the March 7 assembly and ignoring the congress of the Rukh majority a week earlier. A group of the Rukh’s most affluent entrepreneurs, however, whose support is crucial for its survival, had allied themselves with Kostenko’s majority. On March 6 this segment of the Rukh announced their refusal to recognize the legitimacy of Chornovil’s supporters. Neither of the two sides agrees to cede the party’s name, and both continue calling for Rukh unity, which now, with two antagonistic chairmen in place, seems hardly possible (STV, Studio 1+1, March 8; Ukrainian radio, March 6; see the Monitor, February 22, March 1). –OV

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