As a result of the disintegration of the Opposition Bloc party, to which ex-members of the Party of Regions mostly belonged, a new political project appeared: Opposition Platform - For Life. In fact, the wing of Firtash-Lyovochkin, which broke away from Opposition Bloc, and Vadym Rabinovich's For Life party, political council of which was headed by godfather of Putin's child Viktor Medvedchuk in November last year, became its pillar. The latter became the main locomotive of Opposition Platform - For Life with his information and financial resources.
In fact, Opposition Platform - For Life today is the only open pro-Russian force that sees the solution of all the problems of Ukraine solely in fulfilling the Kremlin's will.
The top ten candidates for deputies from Opposition Platform - For Life includes: Yuriy Boyko, Vadym Rabinovich, Viktor Medvedchuk, Natalia Korolevska, Serhiy Lyovochkin, Nestor Shufrych, Vasyl Nimchenko, Serhiy Larin, Serhiy Dunayev and Taras Kozak.
"By means of dialogue and compromise, we will stop fighting, ensure political settlement of the conflict and return the people of Donbass through their consciousness, providing security guarantees", - the party's electoral program says.
Priority steps to achieve peace:
- provision of direct negotiations in the quadrangle Kyiv - Donetsk - Luhansk-Moscow;
- termination of the economic blockade of Donbass;
- granting the autonomous status to Donbass as an integral part of Ukraine by amending the Constitution and the laws of Ukraine;
- adoption of the law on amnesty, the law on elections and the law on the free economic zone in Donbass.
Opposition Platform - For Life also promises to end the policy of mutual sanctions and restore mutually beneficial trade and economic relations with Russia and the CIS countries; as well as to repeal the laws on language, lustration and decommunization.
The party's plan for resolving the conflict in the Donbass is painted in the most detailed way. Perhaps, no political force goes to the election with a more detailed and clear program "to achieve peace". To tell the truth, there is one nuance - it absolutely does not take into account the factor that it is Russia that is waging war with Ukraine, it was it who annexed the Crimea and supplies its agents in Donbass with all the resources, therefore, it is impossible to establish peace with an external aggressor with purely internal changes in legislation. Or it will be peace according to the Russian scenario, that is, the surrender of Ukraine…
Let us start, perhaps, with the main idea of the Opposition Platform - For Life party and its ideologist Viktor Medvedchuk - this is giving autonomous status to the Donbass. In this case, the program does not specify, whether we are talking about the occupied territory or the entire territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
"Our concept plan envisages the creation of the autonomous Donbass region within Ukraine, its organization through the government bodies such as parliament, government and other bodies that will carry out their livelihoods in the Donbass. Our plan is based on the Minsk agreements and complies with the declaration of the Normandy format. We propose to amend the Constitution that will determine the status of the autonomous region of Donbass", - Medvedchuk says.
Indeed, paragraph 11 of the Complex for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements provides for the implementation of constitutional reform in terms of decentralization, "taking into account the peculiarities of certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts". However, there is no talk about any autonomous status. This is already a personal interpretation of Viktor Medvedchuk, who is trying with all his might to "push through" either the "autonomy" of Donbass or its "special status". To be true, the "autonomy" of Donbass, implying the "special status" prescribed in Minsk, is often spoken of in Moscow.
It should be noted that this idea "for the sake of peace" is in fact very dangerous for Ukraine. We all remember the role played by the autonomous status of the Crimea, when its Supreme Council was simply captured by the "men in green", and deputies of the autonomy allegedly decided to hold a "referendum". If Crimea had no autonomous status, such a scenario of "legitimizing" the occupation would have been impossible.
Furthermore, other regional elites of Ukraine may want the autonomy status, which may lead to the emergence of a whole series of all kinds of "people's republics". There is no doubt that Russia will contribute to their appearance; Moscow will gladly reanimate its own idea of Novorossia or Little Russia.
In addition, a special status with political rights, or the "autonomy" will certainly make the Donbass an object of general hatred in other regions of Ukraine, since any privileges recaptured from their country at the cost of 15 thousand deaths and millions of refugees are not fair, but it is justice, according to sociological polls, that is the motive that is able to call Ukrainians to the streets.
That is, the "autonomy of Donbass", which is served by the godfather of Putin's child as a recipe for "peace", is in fact not such and can lead to the growth of the theatre of war throughout Ukraine.
We will dwell on the promise of the party to adopt the law on free economic zone in the Donbass separately. First of all, there is no text or even developments of this bill. Secondly, this is not the Opposition Platform - For Life's initiative: as early as 2014, President Petro Poroshenko initiated the creation of free economic zone in the occupied Donbass and told more details of this plan.
"We are ready to provide a special regime of free economic zone, where business entities that are registered in these territories will have a special regime of economic relations with the European Union. We have already talked about this with the leaders of European states. And special regime, I hope Russia will go for it, of economic relations with Russia", - Poroshenko stated at that time.
However, this initiative of the Ukrainian le was criticized in the "DNR".
"Now we will be offered a special economic zone. The punishers who destroyed the Donbass hypocritically offer us handouts in the form of benefits and empty promises. The Kyiv regime brazenly appropriated the money of our people. It does not transfer local taxes to the Donbass. It does not pay out pensions and children's benefits. Now the traders ruling in Kyiv offer us to bargain with them, beg them for what is ours by right… We are for economic cooperation, but it can be only equal. We do not need handouts. Ukraine is all but lived off of the Donbass. That's not going to happen anymore. The Donbass will decide", - self-proclaimed "deputy prime minister" of the "DNR" Andrei Purgin said in 2014.
Today, Viktor Medvedchuk assures that the "republics" and even the Russian authorities agree on a free economic zone…
"I am sure that if we realize the peace opportunities in the Donbass and stop the hostilities, including our concept plan, to which Donetsk, Luhansk and Moscow have already given preliminary consent and which provides for free economic zone in these uncontrolled territories and issues, related to financial, economic and business activities in these territories", - Medvedchuk stated.
The party also offers to lift the economic blockade of Donbass. Apparently, this issue is a priority, because during the last meeting of Viktor Medvedchuk with the "DNR" and "LNR" leaders, the issues of lifting the economic blockade of Donbass were discussed. This is also required by Russia, which does not want to pay extra money for the maintenance of social base of the "republics". To be true, the Verkhovna Rada, where Medvedchuk and Co. are going, cannot lift the blockade of Donbass, because this is not question of the legislators, but of the NSDC and President. So, Opposition Platform - For Life will has extremely limited opportunities in the implementation of this promise.
The idea to "separate" the Donbass is not new for the deputies from Opposition Platform - For Life. In 2016, deputies from the Opposition Bloc registered bill No.4297 "On peculiarities of management of individual territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts", proposing to create an Interregional Territorial Association Donbass - autonomous region with free economic zone.
According to the conclusion of the Main Scientific and Expert Administration, the provisions of the draft law contradict the Constitution of Ukraine. As a result, it was not even considered by the parliamentary committee.
Opposition Platform - For Life promises to adopt the law on amnesty
"The amnesty is needed for those who voted for independence on May 11, for those who work in state institutions in the unrecognized republics today, the amnesty is also provided for other crimes that are not of a particularly serious nature", - Medvedchuk explained.
But such a law has already been passed. In 2014, the Verkhovna Rada supported the draft law "On the prevention of prosecution and punishment of individuals involved in the events in the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts" proposed by President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. However, due to the escalation of the situation in Donbass, the law was not signed and did not enter into force.
In addition, people's deputies from Opposition Platform - For Life supported the law on the special status of Donbass, where "the state guarantees, in accordance with the law, not to allow criminal prosecution, criminal liability, administrative responsibility and punishment of persons participating in the events in the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts".
In 2015, people's deputies Nestor Shufrych and Serhiy Dunayev even submitted their bill "on amnesty" to the Verkhovna Rada, but it was never considered.
As for the implementation of the election program in 2014 regarding Donbass, the deputies from Opposition Platform - For Life did not try very hard to follow it. They promised to develop and implement a national reconciliation plan, protect neutrality and non-aligned status, allow displaced persons to fully participate in the parliamentary election. None of that has been achieved.
Moreover, in 2014, Opposition Bloc intended to intensify negotiations with Russia through the mediation of the EU, USA and other countries in order to create sustainable conditions for peace in the east of Ukraine. But after the arrival of Viktor Medvedchuk, this promise was transformed into direct negotiations with Russia and the unrecognized "republics"…
"The policy of reconciliation and consent, which will allow Ukrainians to unite from the West to the East and from the North to the South, "sew" the country", - the Opposition Platform - For Life program says.
To be true, it all looks different in word. Leader of Opposition Platform - For Life Viktor Medvedchuk said in a recent interview with BBC that he was negative about half of Ukrainians.
The correspondent reminded him that according to the opinion polls, 46% of Ukrainian citizens are negative about politics. "Now people treat you negatively", - the journalist said.
"Well, great, I also treat them negatively. We have 60% who consider Russia to be the aggressor, but I do not. I have to be among those 60%? No, I will be among the other part", - Viktor Medvedchuk said.
The leader of Opposition Platform - For Life is going to "sew the country" quite strange, making such statements.
In addition, if he believes that there is no role of Russia in what is happening in the Donbass, then why he offers to hold talks with Moscow, along with Donetsk and Luhansk? Medvedchuk claims that the conflict in the Donbass is civil, but at the same time, he calls for quadrilateral talks…
Moreover, the party does not mind promoting itself on the negotiations with the leaders of the unrecognized "DNR" and "LNR", who speak of Opposition Platform - For Life quite favorably. All this is being constantly showed on TV channels controlled by Medvedchuk, forming his image as almost the only peacemaker.
"We see that the For Life party took the initiative, took the liberty of direct negotiations and is ready, apparently, to take the responsibility. This is probably one of the parties that is ready to solve the conflict in a peaceful way and take specific steps for this, giving no empty promises that we heard from Zelensky during the election campaign and from which he disavowed, when came to power", - the "DNR" leader Denis Pushilin stated, following the last meeting with Medvedchuk.
Well, the leaders of the "DNR" and "LNR" transferred four Ukrainians captured earlier to Medvedchuk as a symbol of this "friendship". At the same time, do not the propagandists wonder why the opportunity to return the Ukrainian prisoners appeared just before the election?
The Opposition Platform - For Life program has not a word about the Crimea. The party leaders are limited to scanty and dry statements about the status and procedure for reintegrating the peninsula.
"I can say that according to the current legislation and Constitution, the Crimea is Ukraine. De jure, this is Ukraine, and de facto, this is, unfortunately, Russia", - Viktor Medvedchuk says.
Yuriy Boyko tries not to answer the question about the strategy of return of the Crimea directly. According to him, it is needed to resolve the issue with Donbass at first.
"You will not find a politician in Ukraine who will say that the Crimea is Russia. You will not find a politician in Russia who will say that the Crimea is Ukraine. First of all, the Donbass issue should be solved. There is no recipe for the Crimea now", - he believes.
The politician explained the annexation in 2014 as follows: "It was the mood of the Crimeans, most of whom were ethnic Russians, and seeing these processes, they decided to support the referendum".
In the same 2014, Nelya Shtepa (No.74 on the Opposition Platform - For Life's list of candidates) thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for seizing the Crimea in an interview with Russian journalists.
"I am very grateful to Putin for entering the Crimea. He stopped Right Sector in Poltava. If Crimea had not passed to Russia, we would have been wiped off from the face of the Earth, like so many, and now there would be no militia in Sloviansk, but Right Sector", - she said.
Neither the party program, nor the statements of its leaders have a clear message that the Crimea is an integral part of Ukraine, not to mention the peninsula's reintegration program. However, given the frequent visits by Boyko and Medvedchuk to Moscow and their meetings with the Russian leadership, this is not surprising.
"We will stop the hostilities by means of dialogue and compromise…", - let us recall the words of program of the Opposition Platform - For Life party.
Perhaps, the amnesia that the Ukrainian Crimea is occupied by Russia and needs to be returned is one of the compromises…
The path of awareness of Illia Kyva
The appearance of former adviser to the MIA Minister Avakov and former head of the Poltava branch of the Right Sector Illia Kyva in the electoral list of Opposition Platform - For Life under number 34 was a complete surprise. Moreover, Kyva became almost a daily guest of the Medvedchuk's TV channels studios.
"This is period of change. Do you know who has the right to talk about peace and knows its value most of all? This is a soldier who has gone through the war. It is time to sew a country. Enough of flirting with each other in embroidered shirts. We roll up our sleeves, unite and start building strong, independent and integral Ukraine. We should learn to hear and see each other, discard all prejudices and learn a system of compromises", - he explained his decision with cliché phrases from the party's electoral program, which he had nothing to do with before.
It is interesting how Kyva is going to sew the country, if in 2015, being in the position of deputy chief of the General Directorate of the MIA of Ukraine in the Donetsk oblast, he called to execute the Ukrainians who go to the "DNR" by shooting.
"If I had decided, I would shoot these travelers to the "DNR", lovers of referendums and parades of Ukrainian prisoners of war… Only the strict stance of society will make the Donbass sober! There are no more halftones here! There is only our own and the enemy! We will defeat this plague only in this way", - he wrote on Facebook four years ago. By the way, this post has been removed from his page as of today, but as you know, manuscripts do not burn.
Later, Illia Kyva called for a complete blockade and isolation of the occupied territory of Donbass, what is fundamentally at variance with the program of the Opposition Platform - For Life party.
But such past of the candidate did not greatly embarrass the party leaders. Viktor Medvedchuk even saw only "pluses" in this.
"Look at his position. He realized many things. He believes that peace is needed, that we will not bring peace without Moscow, we should speak directly with Donetsk and Luhansk. Yes, he once considered them enemies. Today he knows that these are citizens of Ukraine, we have to negotiate with them at the negotiating table. The person who passed this path is very important for us. Not least because our main idea is that we have to unite the country. We need to save the country from disintegration, "sew" the country - with those people who had a different point of view, and changed it today", - he stated.
Does such "flexibility" of Medvedchuk mean that he himself can drastically change his views after some time and urge "to execute the Ukrainians who go to the "DNR" by shooting".
They started the war
The electoral list of Opposition Platform - For Life is full of hate figures. If the party's program contains a desire for peace and "sewing" of the country, some of its candidates for people's deputies were directly related to the start of the war in Ukraine…
For example, this is mayor of Druzhkivka Valeriy Hnatenko, who is running in the 49th single-member constituency (Kostiantynivka, Druzhkivka, Kostiantynivka and Krasnoarmiisk districts of the Donetsk oblast).
Hnatenko was member of the Party of Regions and even nominal head of its Druzhkivska branch until February of this year.
In 2014, the mayor publicly spoke in favor of holding the illegal referendum in Druzhkivka, allowed the Russian tricolor to be raised above the city council and even proposed to set up "polling stations for voting".
"We need to improve relations with Russia. And the sooner we do this, the faster we will support the economy of our city… We need to find out through a referendum where we should go", - he said in 2014.
As adviser to the SBU head Markiyan Lubkivsky reported in 2015, a criminal case was initiated against the mayor of Druzhkivka under the article "violation of foreign territorial supremacy". However, as we see, he did not bear any punishment. Hnatenko continues to occupy his post and even rushes to the Verkhovna Rada.
Portal CHESNO writes that after the release of Druzhkivka from the occupiers in July 2014 and until the end of the term of President Petro Poroshenko, Valeriy Hnatenko was clearly loyal to the central government. In 2019, his official adviser Halyna Nebohatikova was curator of the Poroshenko team's campaign network…
Ex-mayor of Sloviansk Nelya Shtepa, who unexpectedly decided to return to Ukrainian politics, received the 74th number in the electoral list of Opposition Platform - For Life.
N. Shtepa was detained by the Ukrainian law enforcement officers in July 2014. She was accused of calling for a change in the borders of Ukraine, facilitating pseudo-referendum on secession of the Donetsk oblast from Ukraine and creating conditions for the activities of terrorist groups and organizations.
The fact is that when the militants entered Sloviansk, Shtepa not only did not resist their presence, but openly took their side.
"These are not people from Western Ukraine, as we have concerned. These are our Donbass guys", - she called the Russian mercenaries of Strelkov just like that. Later, she repeatedly gave Russian propaganda channels an interview in support of Russia's actions in Ukraine.
N. Shtepa was also supporter of federalization and holding of "referendum" in the Donbass.
"We will hold a referendum. What is happening here, says that the Ukrainian authorities need to think… I look at the supporters of federalization and see that they are strong in spirit. They will win both the Right Sector and the military. They will win all here, because they are sure of what they are doing. They have no hatred for Bandera supporters, they just know that they cannot let anyone in here", - she said.
Shtepa categorically denied her guilt at the trial, stating that the then head of the Donetsk oblast Serhiy Taruta, in fact, gave her carte blanche to cooperate with the militants in order to prevent bloodshed.
Currently, the court continues to review her case, the maximum sanction that she faces is life imprisonment.
By the way, during the presentation of N.Shtepa in the list of Opposition Platform - For Life, she said that the place allocated to her in the party list does not mean that she would refuse to nominate her candidacy for the post of mayor of Sloviansk at the future local election.
"Whatever the outcome of the parliamentary election, my goal is local election", - she said.
Serhiy Dunayev (No.9 on the electoral list) is former mayor of Lysychansk, figurant of the Myrotvorets base.
According to the testimony of one of former leaders of the "LNR" militants Serhiy Korsunsky, who was detained in February 2016, Serhiy Dunayev provided cover for the militants who captured the Luhansk SBU, and prevented the building from being assaulted by the Ukrainian law enforcement officers.
Answering the question of who from representatives of the Ukrainian authorities came to the seized SBU building for talks with the militants, Korsunsky noted that Serhiy Tihipko and people's deputy Serhiy Dunayev elected to the parliament in a single-mandate district in Lysychansk, came to the talks. At the same time, Tihipko persuaded the militants not to remove the Ukrainian flag, and Dunayev lived in the building of the SBU for 6 days to prevent it from clearance from the criminals.
"Dunayev stayed for about six days. He was there for six days. There was a threat of assault. Therefore, at least some messages were sent to Kyiv that people's deputy Dunayev was here so that there was no assault on the building. They tried those people to be heard in Kyiv. And it worked, negotiations began", - Korsunsky told.
On May 9, 2015, speaking at the rally in Lysychansk, Dunayev called the "LNR" militants "heroes" and stated that the Ukrainian government is puppet of the IMF.
"Those who have lost their jobs and the ability to support their wives and children are forced to go to the war, expecting to receive at least some money. Yes, they are heroes, because they face death in the face every day", - he said about the residents of Donbass, who fight in the so-called "militia".
Former member of the Party of Regions Vitaliy Bort is under the 28th number on the Opposition Platform - For Life's election list. On April 14, 2014, he attended session of the Makiivka City Council, which supported the decision to hold a separatist referendum on the separation of Donbass from Ukraine in the city.
"On that day, the deputies created a public council, which became involved in organizing the referendum. It included members of the "DNR" grouping, who openly proclaimed liquidation of the Ukrainian statehood and joining of Donbass to Russia as their goal. Including the future "Minister of Foreign Affairs of the "DNR" Alexander Kofman. Vitaliy Bort supported the decision of the city council. He promised to legalize the initiatives of the militants and introduce this process into the legislative field of Ukraine", - journalist Denis Kazansky writes on Facebook.
The entire program and activities of the Opposition Platform - For Life party speak about the realization of the Russian scenario of "peace" in Ukraine. Opposition Platform - For Life will use the parliamentary rostrum and their deputy mandates to promote and implement the ideas of the Donbass autonomy, imposing direct negotiations with the "LDNR" militants, restoring trade and economic dependence on the Russian Federation and silencing the Crimea topic.
Vladyslav Bulatchik, OstroV