Ukraine’s complex transition
Edited By Klaus Bachmann and Igor Lyubashenko
Nationalism, Party Politics and Political Transition: Batkivshchyna and UDAR
This chapter provides a brief introduction to the two leading opposition parties at the time of the 2013/14 political crisis. It is based exclusively on publicly available sources including analytical literature and media reports.
The political parties Batkivshchyna (eng. ‘Fatherland’) and UDAR (‘The Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform of Vitali Klitschko’) are both relatively well known outside Ukraine. The former has a long-standing presence in Ukrainian politics and initially gained international attention in connection with the Orange Revolution, in which its leader Yulia Tymoshenko played a very visible part. In comparison, UDAR is a smaller and more recently established party, which rose to international prominence primarily in connection with the events on the Maidan in 2013–2014. They represent two of the three major opposition parties involved in the events following Yanukovych’s rejection of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
The scholar Max Bader, among others, has observed that the content of mainstream Ukrainian politics tend to be somewhat vague in terms of ideological content. Most political parties subscribe to a similar set of views, which include a commitment to a “European future” for the country as well as democratic ideals.1
In a 2008 analysis, Polish scholar Pawel Wolowski described accountability to voters as being limited in Ukrainian politics, implying, among other things, that there was little relation between promises made during the pre-election period and the actual politics pursued by the parties and their candidates. He observed that none of the parties had...
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