Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 208

At a strategy-setting congress of his Socialist Party on November 1-2, Ukrainian parliament chairman Oleksandr Moroz set the goal of winning a parliamentary majority in order to terminate "experiments at the expense of the people" [i.e. market reforms], establish a "state-managed social market economy," revise relations with international financial organizations, and "save Ukraine from sliding into the arms of the rich states and of NATO." Moroz — who is also a likely presidential candidate — stated that Socialists and their allies look beyond the legislative elections to remove Kuchma from the presidency.

The Socialist congress continued nonstop with a joint congress of the Socialist Party and the leftist Peasant Party, resulting in the formation of the electoral bloc "For Truth, the People, and Ukraine" with an electoral program based mainly on the Socialist program. The bloc’s slate of candidates is topped by Moroz, Peasant Party chairman Serhy Dovhan, the parliament’s first vice-chairman, Oleksandr Tkachenko, Socialist Party secretary and Socialist-Peasant parliamentary group leader Ivan Chyzh, and Economics Minister Viktor Suslov. Kuchma recently appointed Suslov to that post in a misfired attempt at coopting his Socialist opponents. In follow-up statements, Moroz and Chyzh claimed for parliament the authority to "formulate the nation’s economic strategy and guide the executive’s economic policies." (UNIAN, DINAU, November 2-4; Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research (UCIPR): Research Update, no. 89, November 3, 1997)

The congress helped to obscure differences between the party’s doctrinaire groups and the more moderate leaders. Those leaders accept a mixed economy, the inclusion of some "new Ukrainians" [private entrepreneurs] in the party. They also consider many of the post-Soviet changes irreversible, and, in the last analysis, support Ukrainian independent statehood, notwithstanding their rhetoric against NATO’s eastward enlargement.

Communists Launch Electoral Campaign.