Question of war and peace in the 2019 early parliamentary election

 

33% of Ukrainian population are personally concerned about warfare in Donbas. The question of war and peace will to a large extend determine electoral moods of Ukrainian military servicemen, internally displaced persons (IDPs), residents of eastern regions and ideological voters. “Opposition Platform-For Life” will receive electoral support of citizens who are in favour of establishing peace at the expense of meaningful concessions to Russia and the pro-Russian militants. Instead, citizens who distinctly reject peace at the expense of reducing Ukraine’s sovereignty will vote for “European Solidarity” or “Holos”. Meanwhile, “Sluha Narodu” and “Batkivshchyna” will receive votes of citizens who are more concerned about social problems and public administration system than issues of war and peace.  

 

The conflict in Donbas is an ongoing key national security challenge and one of the main problems facing Ukrainian society. According to a survey conducted in June 2019, Ukrainian citizens pointed out warfare in Donbas (45%) among the four main problems facing the country along with corruption (48%), a price increase (31%) and unemployment (30%).

However, only a third of Ukrainian society (33%) is personally concerned about warfare in Donbas. The Donbas issue is largely a concern to Ukrainian military servicemen, IDPs, residents of eastern regions who are the most sensitive to security and economic implications of the conflict, and citizens who vote on ideological grounds.

Key political parties pay different attention to issues of war and peace. These issues are central to election programs of “Opposition Platform-For Life” and “European Solidarity”. Instead, “Sluha Narodu” and “Batkivshchyna” are largely focused on social problems and changes in public administration system.

 

Party Peaceful settlement in election programs
Sluha Narodu

Rating 47%

  • Support for Volodymyr Zelenskyi’s iniatives (regarding the establishment of peace, the release of prisoners and captives);
  • Information reintegration of residents in the occupied territories;
  • Humanitarian policy aimed at uniting the citizens;
  • Defense expenditures at no less than 5% of GDP, reform of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in accordance with NATO standards
Opposition Platform-For Life

Rating 11.6%

  • Direct talks in the quadrangle Kyiv-Donetsk-Luhansk-Moscow;
  • Lifting economic blockade from Donbas;
  • Granting autonomous status to Donbas by means of amending the Constitution of Ukraine and respective laws;
  • Adopting the law on amnesty, the law on elections and the law on free economic zone in Donbas;
  • Providing security guarantees to people in ORDLO;
  • Securing Ukraine’s politico-military neutrality;
  • Cancelling reciprocal sanctions between Ukraine and Russia
European Solidarity

Rating 8.2%

  • Deploying UN peacekeepers in the entire territory of ORDLO;
  • Strengthening sanctions pressure on Russia;
  •  Return of Crimea and Donbas by politico-diplomatic means;
  • Grating the status of Crimean Tatar national autonomy to Crimea within Ukraine aimed at protecting the identity of the Crimean Tatar people;
  • State support for IDPs;
  • Modernization of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, defense expenditures at 6-7% of GDP, increasing cash and social security of military servicemen;
  •  Meeting EU and NATO membership criteria till 2023, full-fledged membership in the EU in 2030
Holos

 

Rating 6.6%

  • Suspension of hostilities and restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity by diplomatic means and anti-Russian sanctions;
  • “DPR” and “LPR” members shall not hold positions in state and local bodies;
  • Unacceptance of peace at the expense of reducing Ukraine’s sovereignty;
  • Social and material support for military servicemen, increasing combat capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, creation of the system of territorial defense on the basis of Swiss and Israeli experience;
  • Facilitating an access of IDPs to public services and voting rights;
  • Facilitating the procedures for crossing the contact line in checkpoints;
  • Support for families of prisoners and captives;
  • Crimea shall not be a bargaining chip;
  • Support for the Crimean Tatar community;
  • Active development of territories adjacent to ORDLO and Crimea;
  • Accession to the EU and NATO
Batkivshchyna

 

Ranking 6.4%

 

  • Negotiations in the format “Budapest+” (with the involvement of the U.S. and the UK), in addition to the Minsk and Normandy formats;
  • Release of prisoners and hostages as primary step toward peace;
  • Consideration of Donbas and Crimean issues in a single package;
  • International activities within the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the European People’s Party aimed at achieving peace and returning territories
Strength and Honor

Ranking 3.6%

  • Return of Donbas and Crimea by diplomatic and economic means;
  • Negotiations in the Normandy, Minsk and Budapest formats;
  • Increasing combat capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, cash and social protection of military servicemen, creation of the system of territorial defense;
  • State support and concessional lending for IDPs;
  • Adopting a new Foreign Policy Strategy, taking into account the current challenges;
  • Forming a new concept of relations with Russia;
  • International program of ecological recovery in Donbas, Crimea and the Sea of Azov;
  • Preventing militarization and nuclearization of the Black Sea and Sea of Azov Region;
  • Accession to the EU and NATO

 

Thus, analyzing election programs of the key parties enables to define socio-political trends in peaceful settlement.

  1. With the exception of “Holos”, political parties predominantly reiterate peace ideas which their candidates proposed during the recent presidential campaign.
  2. The leading political parties reject the return of Donbas through the military force. They stand for returning Donbas by diplomatic, economic and sanctions means.
  3. With the exception of “Opposition Platform-For Life”, all key political forces avoid references to the Minsk agreements. This is explained by unpopularity of its political provisions (special status, amnesty, elections in ORDLO), frustration of hopes for effectiveness of the Minsk process and the lack of vision how to break the deadlock created by the Minsk agreements.
  4. Two socio-political narratives about Donbas dominate the 2019 parliamentary election. The first narrative proposes the establishment of peace and the return of people as soon as possible. The second one provides for demonstration of successful domestic reforms in Ukraine for residents of ORDLO.
  5. The position of parties on Donbas and Crimea will be an important factor for ideological voters. “Opposition Platform-For Life” will receive electoral support of citizens who are in favour of “peace at any price” or meaningful political concessions to Russia and the pro-Russian militants. Instead, citizens who distinctly reject peace at the expense of reducing Ukraine’s sovereignty will vote for “European Solidarity” or “Holos”.
  6. The Crimean issue remains on the margins of Ukrainian socio-political discourse. Two frontrunners of the parliamentary race (“Sluha Narodu” and “Opposition Platform-For Life”) do not mention Crimea in their political programs. Other parties see no other option for returning Crimea than new sanctions against Russia, the Crimean Tatar autonomy and successful domestic reforms in Ukraine.