by Gordon M. Hahn
Contrary to the Washington consensus or party line emanating from Washington-based media, think tanks, and the government, the democratization of Ukraine has stalled rather than accelerated after the Maidan revolt/revolution. Neo-fascist and ultra-nationalist parties remain strong and may be gaining in popularity, corruption is rampant in the highest offices of the land driven by state and private oligarchs, and the population continues to suffer from a collapsing economy. The Maidan regime is best conceptualized as an ultra-nationalist-oligarchic dyarchy with some overlap between its oligarchic and ultra-nationalist elements.
Maidan Ukraine’s Fascist Problem Persists
According to a survey conducted by sociological research agency ‘Rating Group’, if presidential elections in Ukraine took place in October, among voters planning to vote, 26 percent would support President Petro Poroshenko, Batkyvshina (Fatherland) Party (BP) leader, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko – 16 percent, Opposition Bloc (OP) chairman Yuriy Boiko – 12 percent, Self-Help (Samopomish) Party (SHP) leader and Lviv Mayor Andrey Sadovyi – 9 percent, Radical Party (RP) leader Oleh Lyashko – 7 percent, former Army General and Civic Position (GP) party leader A. Hrytsenko – 6 percent, Right Sector (RS) leader Dmitro Yarosh – 4 percent, and Svoboda (Freedom) Party (SP) leader Oleh Tyahnibok – 4 percent. The rest of the voters would support the other candidates. Thus, presidential candidates from Ukraine’s neo-fascist parties (RP, RS, and SP) would take at least – 15 percent of the vote. If neo-fascist parties were to back a single presidential candidate and if he were to win all of that 15 percent of the vote, he would finish third in the voting or, depending on how their respective percentages were rounded out, perhaps second. Ultra-nationalist candidates (Tymoshenko and Sadovyi would receive 25 percent [“Electoral Moods in Ukraine: October 2015,” Rating Group (Ukraine), 19 October 2015, http://ratinggroup.ua/en/research/ukraine/elektoralnye_nastroeniya_naseleniya.html and http://ratinggroup.ua/files/ratinggroup/reg_files/rg_electoral_102015_press.pdf%5D. In the 2014 presidential elections, Lyashko, Yarosh, and Tyahnibok together took only 10.2 percent of the votes.
If elections to Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada or simply the Rada, took place in October, 20 percent of decided voters would support Poroshenko’s Bloc of Petro Poroshenko ‘Solidarnist’ (BPPS), Tymoshenko’s BP – 15 percent, the OB – 14 percent, Sadovyi’s SHP – 10 percent, Lyashko’s RP – 6 percent. These parties would break the 5 percent barrier and receive seats in the Rada. Parties with a chance to exceed that barrier and get into the parliament on the party list basis include: Svoboda – 5 percent, Civic Position – 4 percent, Ihor Kolomoiskii’s ‘Ukrop’ party – 4 percent, Right Sector – 4 percent, Rebirth (Vidrodzhennya) – 3 percent, and Our Region (Nash Kray) – 3 percent. These results indicate that the same three neo-fascist parties — RP, RS, and SP — have at least 15 percent of the vote at present. In the 2014 Rada elections, these three neo-fascist parties garnered less than 13 percent of the vote.
It should be added that there are neo-fascist politicians and leaders in some of the other parties and that some of these other parties, as indicated above, can be characterized as ultra-nationalist or more moderately national chauvinist. These parties (BP, SHP and Yatsenyuk’s National Front) would garner 26 percent of the votes. Yatsenyuk’s ultra-nationalist National Front is likely to get much more than 1 percent of the vote. Also, oligarch and Poroshenko nemesis Ihor Kolomoiskii’s party project ‘Ukrop’, with its 4 percent, might be characterized as partially ultra-nationalist, given Kolomoiskii’s close ties to RS leader Yarosh. This boosts the ultra-nationalists’ take to some 30 percent. Thus, neo-fascists and ultra-nationalists would take nearly half the vote, 45 percent, in Rada elections if they were held in October. This is a slight decline from the Rada elections one year ago, when these parties received 53 percent. However, many do not regard the National Front as an ultra-nationalist party. It includes ultra-nationalists, more moderate national chauvinists, some democrats, and even a few neo-fascists (Aleksandr Biletskiy, for example). If it is removed from that category, the neo-fascist-ultra-nationalists’ take in the party voting will have increased significantly in the past year from 31 to 44 percent. Either way, the ultra-nationalist/neo-fascist part of Ukraine’s political spectrum remains too strong for a healthy civil society.
The survey also shows that opposition to the Maidan regime is as strong as it was to the Yanukovich regime near its demise. A majority, 53 percent, believes that it is better to go out to protest in the case of a significant deterioration in living conditions rather than be patriotic and remain at home. This percentage is greater than that recorded in December 2013, 50 percent, on the eve of the Maidan’s overthrow of the Viktor Yanukovich regime. Over the past six months, support for the idea of dissolving parliament and calling new Rada elections has increased from 34 to 47 percent, the idea of new presidential elections – from 31 to 43 percent.
As under Yanukovich and even the dreaded “Putin’s Russia”, the Maidan regime’s politicians accrue illegal financial benefits of public office, helping to grow the radical opposition, as the population struggles in a collapsing economy with no recovery in sight. Since Poroshenko’s PPB lost its majority coalition after key party factions, the RP and SHP, defected two months ago, corruption scandals have begun to envelope Poroshenko’s administration and PPB party. On October 16th a Rada committee agreed to open an investigation into corruption charges, including money laundering, against the PPB faction’s deputy chairman and Poroshenko’s business partner Igor Kononenko. Poroshenko’s name appears along with Kononenko’s on at least one of the incriminating documents (www.pravda.com.ua/rus/articles/2015/10/16/7085044/). Earlier, Austrian authorities initiated an investigation into alleged illegal activity by the head of Poroshenko’s presidential administration Boris Lozhkin.
A driving force in recent corruption charges against the Poroshenko regime has been Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, chief of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) until June 18th. He recently spoke at a Rada hearing on corruption where he aired details about Kononenko’s alleged machinations, and it is rumored that it was Nalyvaichenko who planted the materials in the press that prompted the hearing. It is very possible that he is working hand-in-hand with the neo-fascist groups, like the RS, SP, and RP, the propaganda of which emphasizes the Maidan regime’s ongoing corruption and calls for a second, this time fully ‘nationalist revolution’ to clean house and ‘purify’ the Maidan revolution. The fact of the Rada hearings themselves underscores the declining fortunes of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc in parliament; its coalition now further weakened by the nosedive in the popularity of its main coalition partner, Yatsenyuk’s National Front.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian people remains mired in a struggle for survival in a collapsing economy that Kiev appears unable or unwilling to reform. Despite improvement in some economic data, September was the 21st month of economic decline, with a 5.1 percent fall. Overall, Ukraine’s outlook continues to worsen, with GDP forecast to decline 0.5 percent in October and by 11 percent in 2015 for the year. Investment aas well as private consumption remain extremely depressed. At the same time, the Yatsenyuk government continues to cut off its nose to spite its face. It has cancelled all aviation communications with Russia, broadening a sharp cutoff of the Ukrainian economy from Russia, the source of more than a third of its trade. At the same time, Kiev must purchase coal from the Donbass rebels and natural gas from the Muscovite invader (at s discount price) in order to stay afloat and survive a winter expected to be much colder than in recent years.
Hope Against Hope
One hope for improvement in the Maidan regime’s fortune is that the ceasefire in Donbass has stabilized. However, the absence of war only further angers the neo-fascists, many of whom remain armed and dangerous to the regime and social order, most of all Dmitro Yarosh’s Right Sector. Most disconcerting are recent signs that the neo-fascist parties are beginning to cooperate rather than compete, as evidenced by the joint march in Kiev on October 14th to honor World War II’s neo-fascist Ukrainian organizations, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and its Ukrainian Partisan Army – a shot over the bow of Poroshenko’s version of the Maidan regime (http://pravyysektor.info/news/news/999/marsh-geroyiv-u-stolici.html
The regime itself responded with its own shot over the bow by opening up investigation into the RS’s and SP’s participation in the 20 February 2014 Maidan ‘sniper’ massacres blamed by the new regime on the Yanukovich regime – a founding myth that crumbles with each day. The threat of that myth’s demise prompted General Prosecutor to pull back days later, saying there is no evidence that pro-Maidan elements did the shooting. He also rejected the view once championed by Nalyvaichenko that Moscow was behind the sniper massacres, saying there was “no evidence” to support this view. To the contrary, there is a mountain of evidence supporting this view, and it points to the non-viable nature of the Maidan regime, which stands on a few very shaky pillars, all of which are in danger of tipping over and bringing it all to come tumbling down.
The results of Sunday’s city and local mayoral and assembly elections, still being counted, are unlikely to show any improvement in the slow-moving meltdown of the Maidan regime.
Of course, if you ask the minions of the Washington consensus, all of this is no more than a reflection of numerous moving parts in a devious Putin plan for the conquest of Europe and the world. Ukraine has no neo-fascists and never has. Ukrainians are white and furry innocents and any despoiling is solely the result of the Soviet (read: Russian) occupation. (Please excuse the sarcasm; the last paragraph can be deleted for the faint-hearted or purposes of re-posting.)
Gordon M. Hahn is an Analyst and Advisory Board Member of the Geostrategic Forecasting Corporation, Chicago, Illinois; Senior Researcher, Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group, San Jose, California; and an Analyst/Consultant, Russia Other Points of View – Russia Media Watch, http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com. Dr Hahn is author of three well-received books, Russia’s Revolution From Above (Transaction, 2002), Russia’s Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007), which was named an outstanding title of 2007 by Choice magazine, and The ‘Caucasus Emirate’ Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland Publishers, 2014). He has been a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (2011-2013) and a Visiting Scholar at the Hoover Institution and Kennan Institute. He has taught at Boston, American, Stanford, San Jose State, San Francisco State, and St. Petersburg State (Russia) Universities and the Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey, California. Dr. Hahn has authored hundreds of articles in scholarly journals and other publications on Russian, Eurasian and international politics.