Godfathers and godchildren

07.11.2014 | By Yehor Struzhkin


It is easy to see that based on results of the elections of 2006, 2007 and 2012 an essential number of newcomers came to the parliament, and not just the notorious drivers and bodyguards. Albeit on a smaller scale, but entrance of journalists, voices of the middle class and field commanders of the Maidan to the body of legislative power has already taken place. It is not even worth asking whether this has affected the quality of the Verkhovna Rada.

It is much more interesting to explore the depth of Ukrainian voters political memory. For example, whether they remember the circumstances in which certain politicians started their careers, whose support they enjoyed and they ways they changed their preferences.

Obviously, voters clearly demonstrate unequal attitude to their elected representatives. Oleksandr Morozov was not forgiven the coalition maneuver in 2006, but, for example, Yuriy Lutsenko, his fellow party member in the Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU), has changed allegiance three times since then, consistently refocusing on Yushchenko, Tymoshenko and Poroshenko.

Poroshenkos career seemed to be over in the autumn of 2005 today it is pointless to look back at it, as well as at the fact that the SDPU(U) was his first faction in the parliament. Viktor Yushchenkos political career was over in 6 years (2001 2007) and Oleksandr Turchynov has served for 2 decades in the political Olympus and, as it became obvious at the current elections, he is still in demand among voters.


For several years it was believed that Donetsk origin is the key to successful political or bureaucratic career. The imbalance was more than evident, and we all known its outcome but who replaced the Donetsk clan in the highest branches of power?

Leaving out the abovementioned rookies and newcomers, we noticed an interesting trend: the majority of the successful Ukrainian politicians supported by numerous voters come from the 1990s or even previous decades.

Back in 1993, Oleksandr Turchynov was appointed one of the advisers to the then Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma, clearly the factor of Dnipropetrovsk fraternities played its part. Four years later Turchynovs career as the founder of the AllUkrainian Association Hromada intertwined with the career of Pavlo Lazarenko. It is also worth mentioning that in 1994 Hromada supported Kuchma during the second presidential election in the history of Ukraine.

Almost at the same time two decades ago Dmytro Yarosh, who became known all over Ukraine during the EuroMaidan, was one of the cofounders of the Tryzub (Trident) organization and for a long time was widely known in narrow circles of the nationalist movement, which never intended to participate in the public power struggle.

Yaroshs brother in arms Andriy Parubiy, considered to be a relatively new face in Ukrainian politics, actually came into politics back in the days of the USSR, and in 1991, when the Social National Party (direct predecessor of the Svoboda) was created with his involvement, he had much more political experience than Oleh Tyahnybok, with whom the SNPU and the Svoboda are associated.

In 1994 Yuriy Lutsenko (who was 30 at the time) served as Deputy Chairman of the Rivne Oblast Council. Yet the career of the 2nd politician in the Petro Poroshenko Blocs list was promoted by his father Vitaliy Lutsenko, the first secretary of the Rivne Oblast Committee of the Communist Party and MP of the 2nd and the 3rd convocations.

Family ties had a decisive influence on the political career of Oleksandr Vilkul, a son of the chief of the Dnipropetrovsk legislature and now Kryviy Rih the mayor; and Serhiy Lyovochkin (Volodymyr Lyovochkin is the Col Gen of militia and served as the Chief of the State Department for Execution of Punishments).

While the beginning of the political career of the currently successful politicians formally accounts for the beginning of the 2000s, it is possible to say with almost an absolute certainty that he is a businessman from the same 1990s, who added political activities to business operations.

Among the most famous examples are Arsen Avakov, Oleksandr Feldman, Mykhailo Dobkin and Hennadiy Kernes from Kharkiv (notably, Kernes worked quite closely with Dobkins father Mark). The triumphant of the recent elections Arseniy Yatsenyuk got his first political appointment back in 2001 but until then, he managed to prove himself in the business environment as a lawyer and a banker in the 1990s (the failed kamikaze started his career in Aval Bank, once the largest in the country).

Andriy Sadoviy, another rightful winner. Became the Mayor of Lviv in 2006. Back in 1998 was elected to the city council. In 1992 95 worked as Deputy Director of the Lviv branch of the Foundation for Social Adaptation of Young People at the CMU. Made his first million in the 1990s.


Unlike the 1990s, the 2000s were a wasted decade for Ukrainian politics. It is hard to name enough politicians of national level, whose career started in this period. And, as a rule, political progress is attributed to personal preferences of former presidents.

Yuriy Boiko rose to prominence in 2002, after he was appointed to the office of the head of Naftogaz of Ukraine, which happed due to some influence of Oleh Dubyna, then Vice Prime Minister. Back in those days journalists and flatterers referred to Dubyna and Boiko as the Kuchmas favorite top managers.

The same time marked the prime of the careers of Vira Ulyanchenko and Iryna Herashchenko, confidantes of the presidenttobe Viktor Yushchenko (then leader of the Our Ukraine party).

Oleh Lyashko received his first deputys seat in 2006.

Obsession of Ukrainian policy with the top figures played a mean trick on elites. Most of the favorites of Yushchenko and Yanukovych ended their political careers with their patrons. In the middle of the 2010s Ukrainian voters are forced to deal either with brand new politicians or with people from the past times.

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