Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 66

With presidential elections coming up in October, Ukraine’s tiny center-left parties are clearly demonstrating that differences between them are about personalities and personal interests rather than ideology. At a press conference on April 5, Serhy Peresunko–leader of the Social-Democratic Union (SDU), the newest of the Ukrainian parties, which registered on March 30–announced that SDU intends to support the presidential bid of Yevhen Marchuk, Ukraine’s former premier and security service chief. Peresunko claimed that regional organizations of the United Social Democratic Party (USDP)–from which the SDU split over differences regarding Marchuk’s nomination–are also supporting Marchuk’s presidential campaign. USDP leader Viktor Medvedchuk reacted promptly and angrily, calling Peresunko’s statement “sheer nonsense.” The USDP, with which Marchuk broke several months ago, is expected to back incumbent President Leonid Kuchma. Medvedchuk and his crony, USDP’s number two and one of Ukraine’s “oligarchs,” Hryhory Surkis, are both members of the president’s inner circle.

At the same time, Yury Buzduhan–leader of the Social-Democratic Party of Ukraine (SDPU)–announced that the SDPU will nominate Oleksandr Moroz–former speaker and leader of the Socialist Party–for president at its congress in May. Buzduhan called Kuchma “the appointee of oligarchs.” Another party, the Ukrainian Social-Democratic Party (not to be confused with SDU, USDP or SDPU)–led by Vasyl Onopenko–is also expected to support Moroz. These four groups split, at different times, from Ukraine’s first social-democratic party, and all four leaders continue to profess a common belief in the leftist ideal of social justice (Ukrainian agencies, STV, April 5; Den, April 6).

The Monitor is a publication of the Jamestown Foundation. It is researched and written under the direction of senior analysts Jonas Bernstein, Vladimir Socor, Stephen Foye, and analysts Ilya Malyakin, Oleg Varfolomeyev and Ilias Bogatyrev. If you have any questions regarding the content of the Monitor, please contact the foundation. If you would like information on subscribing to the Monitor, or have any comments, suggestions or questions, please contact us by e-mail at, by fax at 301-562-8021, or by postal mail at The Jamestown Foundation, 4516 43rd Street NW, Washington DC 20016. Unauthorized reproduction or redistribution of the Monitor is strictly prohibited by law. Copyright (c) 1983-2002 The Jamestown Foundation Site Maintenance by Johnny Flash Productions