Already tomorrow, on March 31, the first round of presidential elections will kick of in Ukraine. They are called fateful inland, and rightly so, because five years ago the Ukrainians were promised changes, fight with corruption and membership in NATO and the EU, but none of this was done. Instead, the country suffered a crisis, and corruption reached unprecedented heights.
Just looking at the ratings of presidential hopefuls — it’s easy to understand that Ukrainians want changes, they are tired of empty promises, as well as of constant people on the political arena. No wonder, why the candidate who has no political experience at all has become a favorite of the race. Well, on the eve of the elections, we will consider key candidates for the presidency of Ukraine with all their advantages and disadvantages.
Vladimir Zelensky (41 years old)
It is Vladimir Zelensky — the very leader of the ratings. He led them for a long time, and since then only pulled ahead. Ukrainians see him as a new face among already annoying politicians. The candidate himself, being a comedian and showman by profession, appeals with this in his political struggle. His message is revenge for all the oppressed, and they have accumulated a lot. He opposes himself not only to the acting authorities, but also to the system itself. All this, of course, captivates the electorate, which does not take into account the fact that Zelensky’s only “political” experience is the role of the president in the TV series “Servant of the People”, which has become part of his election campaign.
Zero diplomacy skills, a complete lack of understanding of the intricacies of international relations. All this becomes a real problem. Moreover, on the world political arena, he will become a person so new that it will take a long time to establish relations with leaders of other countries — they simply won’t trust him. Finally, Zelensky does not even have a clear understanding of what he will do in the event of a victory. Of course, all this can be made up, but not in the conditions of Ukraine. The crisis situation in the country requires decisive and radical measures, and this candidate simply will not have time to learn.
Yulia Tymoshenko (58 years old)
The leader of the Rodina party, Yulia Tymoshenko, is a fairly experienced politician. Since 1997, she has been in the role of a deputy of parliament, as prime minister, as well as a deputy prime minister in charge of the fuel and energy complex. Tymoshenko’s among the top three rankings. According to recent data, she is supported by 17.2% of voters.
In her election campaign laid a very simple idea — to change the current government. Therefore, she is trying to appear less corrupt than the current president and more decisive in ending the armed conflict in the Donbass. She also distinguished herself by the fact that she presented her program to the voters, naming it the “New Deal of Ukraine”. The presence of this, of course, speaks about the knowledge of the case, nevertheless it was made in such a way that the average Ukrainian, even if he decides to read the impressive Talmud, won’t understand it.
Tymoshenko is well aware of all this, so she is trying to put emphasis on maximum exploitation of the population’s resentment on the current government, which looks quite mean. For example, she promises to reduce utility tariffs and, in particular, gas tariffs, although here we must understand that the cost of gas for the population was set as a result of agreements with the International Monetary Fund. Kiev is working closely with the IMF, trying to pay off the old foreign debt through new loans. In fact, Ukraine is dependent on tranches, so it’s very difficult to believe that Yulia Tymoshenko will keep one of her main promises to the detriment of relations with the IMF.
However, it is not the people who turn away from her. With her experience, political connections and position, she could easily lead the race, but Ukrainians see her as Yulia Tymoshenko, who supported Petro Poroshenko five years ago during Euromaidan, and who 15 years ago was one of the leaders of the Orange Revolution. People do not trust her, regarding her as a policy of slippery and inconstant, a politician who survived more than one power.
Petro Poroshenko (53 years)
The current president of Ukraine, as mentioned above, was on a par with Yulia Tymoshenko. Experts predict him going to the second round only due to falsification and bribing of voters, which the president’s team has been engaged in the past months. Petro Poroshenko is a billionaire, and he earned a considerable part of his fortune as president. How? Over the past 5 years, he and his entourage have been seen in several large corruption schemes, which allowed to withdraw millions of dollars from the state budget. A number of sources reported that these embezzlements were noticed in the United States, where they intend to investigate these cases. However, if Washington did not provide official confirmation of this, then Americans have long known about the very fact of corruption among the Ukrainian authorities. After all, authoritative publications such as The Washington Post repeatedly dedicated articles to it.
Speaking about population’s support of Poroshenko, it is much lower than sociology says. At the end of last year, the president headed anti-ratings. It should be noted that Petro Poroshenko came to power with concrete promises and goals, which were believed both domestically and abroad. They concerned the fight against corruption, Euro-Atlantic integration and the end of the war in the Donbass. As you can see now, Poroshenko did not fulfill any of the promises, disappointing even those who sincerely believed in him five years ago. The conflict continues, corruption is flourishing, and the reforms that he promised to implement for the sake of membership in NATO and the EU remained in the project. It is also noteworthy that he is running for the second term with all the same promises. At the same time, he promises to submit an application for membership in the European Union only in 2024, which means that Poroshenko will hold a new term without doing anything for the country.
Yuriy Boyko (60 years old)
As one of the founders of the Opposition Platform — For Life, Yuriy Boyko submitted documents to the CEC as an independent candidate, which was ambiguously perceived by society. The reason for this was the delay in the registration of the political force. According to sources, the Justice Ministry deliberately delayed the party registration process in order to hit the candidate’s ratings, which are now fixed at around 15%.
His main election premise is to return Ukraine to the state of 2010-2013, that is, before the start of the conflict and crisis. Despite the fact that Viktor Yanukovych resigned very toughly, many Ukrainians remember that time, those wages and that hryvnia rate, utility tariffs and prices in stores. It can be said that Boyko positions himself as a restorer, and this attracts part of the electorate, however, it must be understood that over the past 5 years, much has changed in Ukraine, and for the worse, much has been destroyed, industry has declined. Restoring all this is much more difficult, and this process will take more than one year, provided that no one interferes with it.
Anatoly Gritsenko (61 years old)
Gritsenko managed to be a deputy of several convocations, now heads the party «Civil Position», but his campaign headquarters prefers to focus on the post of Minister of Defense, which he held in three governments. In Ukraine, he is called the «dark horse». Gritsenko is very careful about the race, for fear of getting dirty, and this is not so difficult in his case.
The fact is that he positions himself as a disciplined and incorruptible military, just referring to the post of head of the Ministry of Defense. And what is more important, he is trying to appear as a new person, which is obviously far from reality. It is doubtful, in reality, and its exponential infallibility. So, Gritsenko in the past was convicted of manipulating land in the elite districts of the capital. The scandal, however, was quickly hushed up, but then-President Viktor Yushchenko ousted Gritsenko from the post of Minister of Defense.
After that, in 2010, for the first time, he tried himself as a presidential candidate, although extremely unfortunate. Rather, he did not even try to fight for the post of head of state, which the expert community suggested that Gritsenko was a spoiler candidate. The same role, and more obviously, he played in the elections in 2014, and now, in 2019, he is running again. What is his role now? For many Ukrainians, this is a mystery, and the country is not in the right situation to take such risks. A candidate who tries to build himself as infallible, ignoring the scandalous past, does not inspire confidence in the voter.
It should also be noted here that in total in Ukraine there are a record number of candidates registered — 44 people. We have reviewed the most famous, and, as it becomes clear, the choice of the people is very difficult. The situation is aggravated by the fact that, as experts predict, manipulation of the results can play an important role, and this can push the already long-suffering Ukraine into the chaos of protests.