Kirill Solod
The Golda Meir Institute for Political and Social studies

Ukraine before the elections. Ideological factor

In accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine and the Law of Ukraine “On Elections of the President of Ukraine” the next elections of the President of Ukraine should be held on March 31, 2024. However, according to the constitution of Ukraine, the date of the presidential election may be postponed if martial law continues in the country.

The issue of ideology will be key factor winning the parliamentary and presidential elections. The emotional connection between the people and the state is necessary against the economic downturn and the absence of the enemy’s capitulation.

It is obvious that the recent changes in the structure of Ukrainian society are based on so called “ Russophobia”. This allows the citizens of Ukraine to identify themselves as belonging to the “nation of heroes”. The new “Ukrainian ideology” turned out to be a mixture of nationalism and paganism. Back in 2014, it was on this theoretical basis that the motivation of the national battalions (replaced completely demoralized and plundered Armed Forces of Ukraine) was built. Together with tens of thousands of volunteers, the fighters of national formations became carriers of a new national consciousness. Hence the elements of paganism – “the modern Vikings”. 

In 2019, the topic of the Ukrainian national code was developed by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, who spoke about the “components of the DNA” of Ukrainians. According to Zelensky, “dignity and freedom” are “an integral part” of a Ukrainian’s DNA. He noted that the country’s citizens “know beyond words” how to protect the elements of their genetic code and fight for them on the barricades. “In that struggle, unfortunately, we paid the highest possible price – human life,” he said.

According to the experts, the course of the current Ukrainian leadership towards the formation of a mono-nation has been successfully implemented, which was largely facilitated by the war – confrontation of a common threat.

Representatives of radical nationalist parties such as Dmytro Yarosh’s Right Sector, Oleg Tyahnybok’s Svoboda or Andriy Biletsky’s National Corps managed to seize the initiative in the fundamental issues of fighting corruption, language, religious preferences for Ukrainians.

The main competitors of the “Servant of the People” party – are representatives of the “Party of War” represented by military commanders. It is for them that even a hypothetical victory over Russia creates an exceptionally comfortable environment for gaining legal power, including during the upcoming election campaigns. It is no coincidence that the fighters of the Azov regiment and their participation in the heroic defense of Mariupol and Azovstal occupy a central place. The names of their commanders are well-known, they are active in the media space, social networks, even being surrounded at Azovstal, they had the opportunity to broadcast online from the battlefield and give interviews to various media.

A possibility of the frozen conflict (there is no question of a full-fledged peace between the warring parties, at least for the next decade), will require unique decisions from the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, aimed at capitalizing any result he has. Especially, because the role and influence of the nationalists in the political, military and state structures of Ukraine inevitable increases.

During the pre-election debate, the nationalist organizations will not miss the opportunity to make the fighters of the national battalions the real heroes of the bloody struggle for independence. Political rhetoric during election season will inevitably undergo significant changes. There will be no restrictions and even hints of political correctness in it. And at this point, a number of Western democracies that are Ukraine’s friends today are likely to tense up in the future. Apart from such countries as Poland, Estonia and others, in which the ideology of nationalism has been the main “transmission belt” of the state mechanism for a long time.

About the Author
Political advisor. Research analyst. Government Relations, International Affairs, Political Sociology. Head of The Golda Meir Institute for Political and Social studies and managing partner of the Institute of Political Consulting LS GROUP. Former consultant to M. Gorbachev on public relations. Former head of NGOs in Russia. MBA, Instituto de Empresa (Madrid, 2010). Repatriated to Israel in 2017.
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