Olena Semenyaka: Lessons for nationalists from the Ukrainian parliamentary elections

Parliamentary election-2019 in Ukraine widened the gap between political representation and nationalists as an engine of the Maidan Revolution. As experience shows, nationalists are associated precisely with power aspects of the Ukrainian statehood (clashes in the streets with the prerevolutionary special riot police Berkut, fight on the frontline with the Russia-backed forces). It means that patriots have a high authority in a society yet are not trusted as politicians. Unless a nationalist transformed into a soldier, he’s disregarded as a subversive social element. Svoboda as an epitome of Ukrainian nationalism of the 90-s, Pravyi Sektor and even National Corps are feared as potential “radicals” in all social fields yet are summoned anytime the Ukrainian nation is in danger. The Azov Regiment of the National Guard of Ukraine, as opposed to Western media, is invariably held in a high esteem.

For intellectuals like me, this is no big news. In my opinion, the vast majority of nationalist street marches and print agitation literature are remnants of the former centuries which should remain where they belong to. Insightful supranational projects like Plomin and Intermarium should lead the way and attract intellectual audience beyond the nationalist movement (otherwise, its growth will be impossible), as well as upgrade the very foundations of the nationalist ideology and modus vivendi. Professional audiovisual and personal communications with target audiences should replace an abstract ideological call to everyone and none. The new government will get discredited soon but old nationalist approaches will never be alive again. Time for a new nationalism as part of postideological studies meeting the revolutionary standards of the next patriotic generation.

For those interested in less sophisticated conclusions and updates, I can say the following:

– 2,15% of the Nationalist bloc (Svoboda, National Corps, Pravyi Sektor, CUN) means that it will get a state funding, but, overall, since the nationalist idea was hijacked by an old oligarchic representative, Petro Poroshenko, Ukrainian voters prefer more moderate patriotic forces who, basically, did nothing or worse. Funny story: one ex-member of Svoboda joined Zelenskiy’s party and won over a rival – his former Svoboda colleague – under the mark of “total reload of power” announced by Zelenskiy;

– the same destiny befell Petro Poroshenko whose rival Volodymyr Zelenskiy got 73% as a result of the spring presidential election. At the parliamentary election, Poroshenko’s party got 8%, which is also quite a modest result for a “beloved patriotic president.” Candidates of Zelenskiy’s party, “Servant of the People,” won everywhere as a new brand, even if they didn’t show up at their district during the election or didn’t lead any Facebook preelection campaign, so not only nationalists have their victory “stolen”;

– the pro-Kremlin opposition also got more votes than Poroshenko’s party – 11%, mostly because they are “for peace” (the end of war). Zelenskiy also pushes forward this idea, but he pretends to care about Ukrainian national interests;

– another “patriotic” liberal party entered the parliament with 6% (the threshold is 5%) – Golos (Voice) headed by a lead singer of a popular Ukrainian band Okean Elzy Sviatoslav Vakarchuk. In other words, the current Ukrainian parliament will be the parliament of singers and comics (Zelenskiy) rather than officers like Biletsky;

– Moreover, the result of both the European Solidarity of Poroshenko and Golos of Vakarchuk got additional votes of those patriotic and even nationalist Ukrainians who didn’t vote for the Nationalist bloc as the less likely one to enter the parliament. Poroshenko issued a special video calling not to vote for the parties that “do not stand a chance.” This is another example of how fake patriotic parties use media to artificially isolate much more developed movements;

– Presidential party “Servant of the People” will not even need to form a coalition to become a majority in the parliament. As always, the main antidote to the anti-Ukrainian decisions in the parliament will be thousands of activists of National Corps. The good thing about it is that Zelenskiy will not have an excuse for non-implementing certain populist promises, which means that disappointment with the new authorities might be very fast and even end with preterm elections;

– regional international work will be centered around security cooperation based on the rapid development of the Azov Regiment of the National Guard of Ukraine. Just yesterday, its soldier received new awards for successful operations on the frontline.

Leave a Reply