Society

Ukraine may face pro-Russian revenge

Russian revenge in Ukraine

The fear of possible retaliation by the pro-Russian forces is growing in Ukraine. The sociological surveys confirm this hypothesis.

Recent polls show that the pro-presidential “Servant of the People” party keeps losing electoral sympathy. President Volodymyr Zelensky himself still enjoys a high level of support, but his rating is falling.

According to the latest survey conducted by the sociological company RTS, “Servant of the People” is supported by 27.1% of Ukrainians polled (during the parliamentary elections in July 2019, this political force won 43.16% of the votes).

Such a rapid fall in the ruling party ratings is facilitated by the deputies from the “Servant of the People” party since it consisted of inexperienced politicians or officials, and rather casual people (showmen, bloggers, corporate leaders, etc.).

The latest high-profile scandal erupted over the remarks of Galina Tretyakova, a “Servant of the People” Parliament member, who heads the Committee on Social Policy and Veterans’ Rights, remarks. She stated that Ukrainians from poor families have “children of very low quality.”

Of course, these words hit the political force’s rating, as did the lack of harsh reaction of the faction and party leaders.

Significantly, while the “Servants of the People” rating decreases it is becoming clear to whom the votes of potential voters flow.

According to the mentioned poll results, the party “Opposition Platform – For Life” showed significant growth – 21.7%. Its leaders are Yuriy Boyko, Vadym Rabinovich and Viktor Medvedchuk. The latter is known in Ukraine as Vladimir Putin’s godfather and a man with clearly pro-Russian views.

According to media experts, Medvedchuk owns several national TV channels (112 Ukraine, ZIK, NEWSONE), although their formal owner is member of Parliament Taras Kozak. It is these media that directly or indirectly pushed the ideas beneficial for Russia. In particular, about peace in Donbas through direct talks with pro-Russian militants’ leaders; on granting the status of autonomies within Ukraine to the uncontrolled territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts; on the introduction of the Russian language as the second state language in Ukraine; on the harmfulness of reforms that bring Ukraine closer to Europe, and on the need to resume close economic cooperation with the Russian Federation.

Interestingly, during the visit of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to Volyn the other day, National Corps activists asked him about Medvedchuk and reminded him of his words that he had known the source of the odious politician financing.

“I am sure that he (Medvedchuk – ed.) is funded by the Russian Federation… The law enforcement agencies have to sort this out precisely. I hear you, and I agree with you on this issue,” Zelensky replied.

“Opposition Platform – For Life” party sharply criticized Zelensky’s words, saying that he was simply dancing “after the radicals’ piping.” At the same time, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman of the Russian president, noted that “The Russian Federation does not fund Medvedchuk. Most probably the President (Zelensky – ed.) has the incorrect information.”

By the way, a poll by the sociological company RTS showed a significant increase in the popularity of another pro-Russian political force – the Party of Shariy, which came close to the entry barrier. 4.7% of voters are ready to vote for the party. Significantly, Medvedchuk’s TV channels have recently started promoting this populist political force.

According to patriotic activists and public figures, broadcasting of pro-Russian ideas in Ukraine takes place not only openly but under the guise of slogans about freedom of speech and expression through TV channels. Simultaneously, hundreds of pro-Russian groups continue to operate secretly in Ukraine on social networks.

The latest confirmation of this is the detention of a separatists group in Zaporizhzhia which had promoted the “Russian Spring” ideas and campaigned for the so-called “Zaporizhzhya People’s Republic.”  The Security Service of Ukraine reported that “the criminals belonged to a pro-Russian radical movement, whose followers advocated the separation of the south-eastern regions from Ukraine.”

Surprisingly, there are supporters of such ideas still in Ukraine after 6 years of war in the Donbas and the complete failure of attempts to create quasi-republics. Even Igor Girkin (Strelkov) has recently stated in his interviews that he was disappointed with what was happening in the territories out of Kyiv’s control. The terrorist admitted that “Donbas has turned into a landfill, and the inhabitants of the occupied region hate Russia.”

In general, this situation indicates that Ukraine has certain problems both with the special services’ activity and with the state information policy implementation. The authorities have not yet mastered communication with citizens, to convince them of the chosen policy correctness, to talk about prospects and demonstrate achievements. Therefore, people are more willing to believe in fairy tales from Russia.

On the other hand, Ukraine’s Western partners should also monitor the situation in our country more deeply. Europe and the world need to understand that it is difficult. Moreover, there are noticeable threats to the democratic achievements of 2004-2005 and the last six years. Therefore, Ukraine may again find itself not only in the sphere of Moscow’s interests but also under the direct control of the Kremlin.

Bohdan Marusyak

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