Opposition Bloc (Ukrainian: Опозиційний блок) is a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party that was founded in 2014 by the merger of six parties that did not endorse Euromaidan. Legally, the party was created by renaming the lesser-known party Leading force. The party is perceived as the successor of the disbanded Party of Regions.
|Chairman||Rinat Akhmetov (one wing)|
Dmytro Firtash & Yuriy Boyko (one wing)
|Founded||23 April 2010|
|Merged into||Opposition Bloc — Party for Peace and Development (Akhmetov‘s wing)|
Opposition Platform — For Life (Firtash‘s and Boyko’s wing)
201 / 1,820
By January 2019 two wings of the party nominated two different candidates for the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election. Yuriy Boyko for the Opposition Platform — For Life alliance and Oleksandr Vilkul for Opposition Bloc — Party of Peace and Development (the recently renamed Industrial Party of Ukraine). Both these two offsprings of Opposition Bloc took part independently of each other in the 2019 Ukrainian parliamentary election, with the Opposition Bloc — Party of Peace and Development (also) named into Opposition Bloc.
Fraction in Verkhovna Rada leader
Party "Leading force"Edit
2014 parliamentary electionsEdit
In September 2014 American lobbyist Paul Manafort was hired as an advisor to (former Manafort client) Viktor Yanukovych’s former head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Serhiy Lyovochkin. Manafort was tasked with rebranding Party of Regions. Instead, he argued to help stabilize Ukraine, Manafort advised to create a new political party called Opposition Bloc. According to Ukrainian political analyst Mikhail Pogrebinsky “He thought to gather the largest number of people opposed to the current government, you needed to avoid anything concrete, and just become a symbol of being opposed".
It was planned that the biggest party in the previous 2012 parliamentary elections, Party of Regions, would be part of the Opposition Bloc in the 2014 parliamentary elections. This alliance was to be led by Serhiy Tihipko. But he refused to do so because in his opinion in this alliance there were "people tainted by corruption and to put it mildly, unpatriotic". Tihipko then became leader of (the revived) Strong Ukraine.
On 14 September 2014, the Party of Regions choose not to participate in the elections; it deemed the election lacking legitimacy because the residents of the Donbass could not vote in the election. Also on 14 September 2014, a forum took place in Kiev with the banner "Peace. Stability. Revival", at the end of which Party of Development of Ukraine, Center All-Ukrainian Union, Ukraine – Forward!, Labour Ukraine, New Politic and "State neutrality" decided to take part in the 2014 parliamentary elections as Opposition Bloc. Many individual members of Party of Regions ended up as candidates of Opposition Bloc. Among them Yuriy Boyko, who headed the party's election list. Other main figures on this election list are Natalia Korolevska, Mykhailo Dobkin and Vadim Rabinovich. In September 2014 Boyko argued that Opposition Bloc does not represent parties, but consisted only of individual politicians. Boyko, Dobkin and Rabinovich all took part in the 2014 Ukrainian presidential election. In which they scored 0.19%, 3.03% and 2.25%. Korolevska and Boyko were both ministers in the second Azarov Government. Serhiy Lyovochkin was also a candidate of the party. Five members of Party of Regions were in the top 10 of the Opposition Bloc’s electoral list.
The party won 29 seats; including the winning of 2 constituency seats. It won 2 constituency seats but for the nationwide party lists of the election (53.2% of the seats was elected by a nationwide party lists and 46.8% in 198 constituencies) the party gained most votes in all 14 constituencies in Kharkiv Oblast, all 6 constituencies in Luhansk Oblast (were voting was possible), 8 out of 9 in Zaporizhia Oblast (Petro Poroshenko Bloc winning the remaining constituency), in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast 10 out of 17 constituencies (Petro Poroshenko Bloc winning the remaining constituency), in Donetsk Oblast (were voting was possible) 6 out of 11 constituencies (Petro Poroshenko Bloc winning the remaining 5 constituencies). In Odessa Oblast 27 October preliminary result indicated that Petro Poroshenko Bloc had won 7 constituencies with the remaining 4 constituencies won by Opposition Bloc. In Mykolaiv Oblast Petro Poroshenko Bloc seemed to be the clear winner with winning 5 constituencies while the remaining constituency won by Opposition Bloc.
On 27 November 2014 an Opposition Bloc parliamentary faction of 40 people was formed (at the opening session of the new parliament).
In May 2016 Rabinovich left the party and its parliamentary faction after a request from his party Center All-Ukrainian Union.
Cessation and 2019 creation of two succession partiesEdit
According to Ukrayinska Pravda in the summer of 2018 negotiations on the unification of the parties For life and Opposition Bloc started. Ukrayinska Pravda says these talks were instigated by Serhiy Lyovochkin who, along with Dmytro Firtash, controlled one of the wings of the party. While Rinat Akhmetov controlled the other wing of Opposition Bloc. Early November 2018 the party members loyal to Akhmetov decided to take a pause in the negotiations.
On 9 November 2018 Opposition Bloc chairman Boyko and Vadim Rabinovich's party For life signed an agreement for cooperation in the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election and the parliamentary election of the same year and created the alliance Opposition Platform — For life. The same day Opposition Bloc leading members Vadym Novynskyi and Borys Kolesnikov claimed the agreement was a "personal initiative" of Boyko and that the party had not take any decisions on cooperation with For life. On 17 November 2018 Opposition Platform — For life nominated Boyko as its candidate in the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election. The same day Opposition Bloc member Party of Development of Ukraine joined the Opposition Platform — For life alliance. On 20 November 2018 Boyko and Serhiy Lyovochkin (leading member of the Party of Development of Ukraine) were excluded from the Opposition Bloc faction (the reason given was) "because they betrayed their voters" interests.
On 17 December 2018 a Opposition Bloc congress nominated Oleksandr Vilkul as their candidate in the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election. But a Ukrainian court ruled three days before (in response to a lawsuit filed by People's Deputy of Ukraine for Opposition Bloc Serhiy Larin) that Opposition Bloc's congress at which Vikul was to be nominated could not "reorganize the party by any means". On 18 December 2018 the website of Opposition Bloc stated that therefore all the decisions made at the congress were invalid. On 20 December 2018 the website of Opposition Bloc was down. Vilkul was nominated for the presidency again by Opposition Bloc — Party of Peace and Development (the recently renamed Industrial Party of Ukraine) on 20 January 2019. According to Liga.net Rinat Akhmetov had renamed Industrial Party of Ukraine to Opposition Bloc — Party of Peace and Development solely to circumvent the courts injunction of 20 December 2018 (which prohibited any changes to the statute of the (party) Opposition Bloc). The Industrial Party of Ukraine was registered by the Ministry of Justice on 13 June 2014, and Rostyslav Shurma was then the chairman of this party. Shurma was at the time General Director of Zaporizhstal. Zaporizhstal is part of the industrial complex owned by Rinat Akhmetov.
Both these two offsprings of Opposition Bloc took part independently of each other in the 2019 Ukrainian parliamentary election, with the Opposition Bloc — Party of Peace and Development (also) named into Opposition Bloc.
Ideology and stancesEdit
According to Tadeusz Olszański, of the Centre for Eastern Studies, the party's 2014 election programme was socially liberal and pro-Russophone. The party's platform envisages protecting the status of Russian as a regional language.
The party wants "maximum decentralization" for Ukraine.
In the War in Donbass the party advocated to end the conflict by peaceful means and by negotiating with Russia and with the leaders of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic. The party rejects the March 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia and wants "peace in united Ukraine within the borders of 1991".
The party support Ukrainian’s current status as the only state language, but advocates to allow ethnic minorities to be able to define Russian and other minority languages as regional languages in their own communities. In 2017 Opposition Bloc MP's opposed the law that made Ukrainian the main language of public education, in 2018 they were against a draft bill that establishes Ukrainian as the obligatory language in all spheres of public life, and makes the violation of this legislation an administrative offense.
The party hopes to criminalize "the incitement of inter-regional hatred" and ban all organizations that promote "inter-regional hatred", use "violence as an instrument for political gain", or set up illegal paramilitary forces.
Other political wishes of the party are "the reduction of tax pressure", introduction of "advisory referendums and plebiscites", cancellation of "draconian pension reforms" and a referendum on the sale of agricultural land.
|Year||Popular vote||% of popular vote||Overall seats won||Seat change||Government|
29 / 450
- Tadeusz A. Olszański (17 September 2014). Centre for Eastern Studies (ed.). "Ukraine's political parties at the start of the election campaign".
- Nordsieck, Wolfram (2014). "Ukraine". Parties and Elections in Europe. Archived from the original on 13 May 2019.
- "Anti-recessionary Program of the Opposition bloc". Opposition.org.ua. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
- Opposition Bloc boosts rating by distancing itself from Yanukovych era, Kyiv Post (Oct. 24, 2014)
Development party of Ukraine, 'Ukraine - Forward!' and four more political forces team up in Opposition Bloc, Kyiv Post (Sept. 15, 2014)
Ukraine’s Elections: The Battle of the Billionaires, The Daily Beast (10.25.14)
(in Ukrainian) Non-Maidan parties united into the Opposition Bloc. Radio Liberty. 14 September 2014
- Кандидати, яких обрано депутатами рад. www.cvk.gov.ua (in Ukrainian). 15 November 2015. Archived from the original on 13 November 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
- Opposition Bloc chooses top ten candidates for parliamentary elections, Interfax Ukraine (23 September 2014)
Allies of Yanukovych trying for parliament, Kyiv Post (21 September 2014)
Party Of Regions Will Not Contest Snap Parliamentary Elections Independently, Ukrainian News Agency (14 September 2014)
- (in Ukrainian) "OPPOSITION BLOCK", Civil movement "Chesno" (2018)
- Kazanskyi, D. Revenge of separatism. 2014 will happen again, the question is when? (Реванш сепаратизма. 2014 год повторится, вопрос — когда?). Argument. 10 May 2017
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People's Front 0.33% ahead of Poroshenko Bloc with all ballots counted in Ukraine elections - CEC, Interfax-Ukraine (8 November 2014)
Poroshenko Bloc to get 132 seats in parliament - CEC, Interfax-Ukraine (8 November 2014)
- "How Paul Manafort Wielded Power in Ukraine Before Advising Donald Trump". The New York Times. July 31, 2016. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
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(in Ukrainian) Kiva and Vilkul surrendered to the Central Election Commission, Ukrayinska Pravda (22 January 2019)
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- (in Ukrainian) Odd-man-out. Why Leovochkin and Medvedchuk are preparing for the election without Akhmetov, Ukrayinska Pravda (20 November 2018)
- (in Ukrainian) Boyko began registering as a presidential candidate, Ukrayinska Pravda (17 November 2018)
(in Ukrainian) The association of Boyko-Rabinovich was determined with the presidential candidate, Ukrayinska Pravda (17 November 2018)
- "Вибори Ради: у списку Опоблоку мери 5 міст". Українська правда.
- (in Ukrainian) In Ukraine registered 181st political party, Zaxid.net (2010)
List of all Ukrainian political parties, Ukrainian Ministry of Justice
- (in Ukrainian) Results of voting in single constituencies in 2012 & Nationwide list, Central Election Commission of Ukraine
- (in Ukrainian) What distinguishes the "opposition bloc" of the Party of Regions?, BBC Ukrainian (23 September 2014)
- Ukraine's Party of Regions Refuses to Participate in Rada Elections, RIA Novosti (23 September 2014)
- "Poroshenko wins presidential election with 54.7% of vote - CEC". Radio Ukraine International. 29 May 2014. Archived from the original on 29 May 2014.
(in Russian) Results election of Ukrainian president, Телеграф (29 May 2014)
- Yanukovych appoints new Cabinet of Ministers, Kyiv Post (24 December 2012)
- Serhiy Lyovochkin: 'Conflicts of interest are everywhere', Kyiv Post (July 9, 2010)
Lyovochkin resigns over draconian anti-democratic laws; others expected to quit soon, Kyiv Post (Jan. 17, 2014)
- Liovochkin running for MP from Opposition Bloc, Interfax Ukraine (24 September 2014)
- Parliamentary elections not to be held at nine constituencies in Donetsk region and six constituencies in Luhansk region - CEC, Interfax-Ukraine (25 October 2014)
- Parliament passes law on parliamentary elections, Kyiv Post (17 November 2011)
- (in Ukrainian) Перший крок до зриву виборів, Ukrayinska Pravda (9 April 2012)
- Only in six constituencies of Donetsk region and one constituency in Luhansk region voting to be at all polling stations, says CEC, Interfax-Ukraine (26 October 2014)
- Kharkiv, Luhansk, Zaporizhia regions prefer Opposition Bloc, Interfax-Ukraine (27.10.2014)
- (in Ukrainian) In Parliament created a faction, Ukrayinska Pravda (27 November 2014)
- Poroshenko Bloc, Batkivschyna, Nash Kray get largest number of seats in local councils – Ukrainian Voters Committee, Interfax-Ukraine (12 November 2015)
- Why a 'Star Wars' Emperor Won Office in Ukraine, Bloomberg News (26 October 2015)
Exit Polls Show Ukraine Divided For, Against Poroshenko Rule, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (27 October 2015)
After Ukraine’s Local Elections: Early Misinterpretations, Carnegie Europe (27 October 2015)
Poroshenko hobbles on, Politico Europe (26 October 2015)
Week’s milestones. Elections to be continued, blackmail in Minsk, and emotional lustration, UNIAN (27 October 2015)
- "www.cvk.gov.ua". Archived from the original on November 13, 2015.
- "From the Opposition bloc goes Rabinovich". May 13, 2016.
- (in Ukrainian) The association of Boyko-Rabinovich was determined with the presidential candidate, Ukrayinska Pravda (17 November 2018)
- (in Ukrainian) Boyko's decision to merge with Rabinovich does not concern the "Opposition" - Novinsky, Ukrayinska Pravda (9 November 2018)
- (in Ukrainian) The Party of Lyovochkin considers Ukrainian soldiers "punitive" and does not notice the annexation of the Crimea, UNIAN (11 August 2014)
- Boiko, Loovochkin excluded from Opposition Bloc faction for betraying voters' interests — Vilkul, Interfax-Ukraine (20 November 2018)
- Oleksandr Vilkul to be nominated as candidate for president, Kyiv Post (1817 December 2018)
- (in Ukrainian) Split "Opoploko": the court imposed restrictions on the party before the congress, Ukrayinska Pravda (14 December 2018)
- "В партии "Оппозиционный блок" заявили, что Вилкул не сможет выдвинуться от нее в президенты". gordonua.com. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
- "http://opposition.org.ua Server Status Check". isitdownrightnow.com. Retrieved 20 December 2018. External link in
- (in Ukrainian) PARTY "INDUSTRIAL UKRAINE" HEADS "MAN AKHMETOV", 5 Kanal (26 August 2014)