Ukraine in search of a magician: From protests to the victory of populism

Ukraine in search of a magician: From protests to the victory of populism

The party of President Volodymyr Zelensky, “Servant of the People,”[i] has won an absolute majority in the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada (Supreme Council). None of the other parties in Ukraine obtained more than 40% of the candidates on their party lists, or as many winners in the single-mandate constituencies. This is a significant concentration of power, which has not yet been seen in the history of independent Ukraine. Yet it is unclear who will…

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Ukraine’s Presidential Elections: The Historical Dimension

Ukraine’s Presidential Elections: The Historical Dimension

As a historian, I do like all presidential elections in Ukraine. They are brief moments of veritas, when all the hidden social threads of history become visible for outsiders—especially when these threads repeat themselves. But as a Ukrainian, I do not usually like what I see. Each presidential election looks like either Judgement Day or a dangerous tightrope walk in a circus tent—you know what I mean—and even more importantly, history sometime repeats itself. Hundreds…

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Marketplace of ideas or headlines to the highest bidder? Political coverage in Ukraine’s most popular newspaper

Marketplace of ideas or headlines to the highest bidder?   Political coverage in Ukraine’s most popular newspaper

The Ukrainian “jeansa” phenomenon—covert political or commercial advertisement, when one can’t draw a clear line between journalism and propaganda—is deeply rooted in the Soviet journalistic tradition. Especially when combined with the possibilities of the digital era, “jeansa” must be taken into account when viewing political coverage by popular Ukrainian news outlets. In fact, some of the news media in the country are like a false mirror, where a low-rating politician can be seen as a…

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The Yuri Tymoshenko Risk

The Yuri Tymoshenko Risk

In a worst-case scenario, political-technological trickery could, after the first round of Ukraine’s upcoming presidential elections, unsettle social stability in Ukraine. Cynical puppet masters are prepared to risk the outbreak of a major domestic civil conflict for the sake of securing re-election of Ukraine’s incumbent president. The relatively pluralistic political competition that emerged after the collapse of the USSR has seen the emergence of new political manipulation strategies outlined in Andrew Wilson’s seminal monograph Virtual…

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Presidential election in Ukraine: A dilemma of quality and of quantity

Presidential election in Ukraine: A dilemma of quality and of quantity

The upcoming presidential election in Ukraine that are to be held on March 31 promise to include the largest number of candidates in the history of the country since it gained independence in 1991. In total, the Central Electoral Commission of Ukraine has registered forty-four contestants for the president’s chair. The candidates belong to a variety of political forces, including representatives from the ruling coalition and from opposition parties, as well as high-ranking executives. On…

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Will Ukraine’s Far-Right Parties Fail Again in 2019?

Will Ukraine’s Far-Right Parties Fail Again in 2019?

The entry in 2012 of the radical nationalist and explicitly anti-Russian Svoboda (Freedom) All-Ukrainian Union into Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, with a 10.44% share in the proportional part of the elections, and appearance in 2014 of new extra-parliamentary far-right groups like Pravyi (Right) Sector and the Azov Battalion, provided new fodder for Moscow’s anti-Ukrainian propaganda campaign. The first leader of Pravyi Sector, Dmytro Yarosh, was particularly singled out by Kremlin-controlled mass media as allegedly…

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