Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 96

Ukrainian forces advocating “red revenge” failed to agree on a single leftist candidate before the start of the country’s presidential campaign scheduled for October of this year. Each of Ukraine’s three strongest “red” parties, during their pre-election congresses on May 15, came up with their own leaders as candidates in the upcoming race. The Communist Party (CPU) nominated Petro Symonenko, the radical “red” Progressive Socialist Party (PSPU) proposed Natalya Vitrenko, and the moderate Socialist Party (SPU)–in a bloc with several tiny leftist parties called National-Patriotic Union–nominated Oleksandr Moroz, the SPU leader and former parliament speaker. With the leftist electorate torn between the three, incumbent President Leonid Kuchma should easily pass the first round of the elections on October 31 (Ukrainian television, May 15).

Moroz, rather unexpectedly, spoke positively about certain liberal forces which are not going to back Kuchma, including Kostenko’s Rukh and Viktor Pynzenyk’s Reforms and Order Party. (Pynzenyk, who was deputy premier for the economy in several governments, is considered to be the “father” of Ukraine’s unfinished market reforms). Moroz said that he “will not campaign against them.” The SPU and the liberals have something important in common according to Moroz: They advocate a strong state and descry Kuchma and the oligarchic “clans.” Moroz has been Kuchma’s bitter antagonist since his tenure as speaker (STB, May 16).

At its congress on May 15, the SPU pitied the failure to nominate a single presidential candidate with the CPU and the fourth strongest leftist force, the Peasant Party of parliament speaker Oleksandr Tkachenko. One of the communist leaders, deputy parliament speaker Adam Martynyuk, at the same time accused the socialists of imposing Moroz as the only such candidate. The outspoken Vitrenko, a leader of recent public opinion polls known for her aversion to both Moroz and Symonenko, confirmed she will not share her electorate with anyone (Ukrainian agencies, May 15).–OV