The classic promises of cutting down the gas price, loyal friends and comrades in the party’s top ten, changing program rhetoric and a bunch of “donors” across the country. All you should know about Batkivshchyna Party – in the section Elections from Opinion.
We have created this section so that you have the opportunity to make a conscious, objective, and most importantly – your own decision in the parliamentary elections this summer. Talking about each of the parties, we turn to the official sites and public sources. Emotions aside, we figure out program promises and the reality of their performance.
We have planned materials about 10 political parties, which, according to sociological companies, have the highest chances. To avoid manipulation, the order of the texts was alphabetized.
What’s in the party program this time?
The party runs for parliamentary elections with the same “New Course”, with which the leader of the party Yulia Tymoshenko tried to take the presidential armchair. However, political force managed to do impossible: they reduced the significant volume of Talmud, “developed by a big team of Ukrainian specialists”. Let’s turn now to the principle positions.
New peace strategy
In the first section, Tymoshenko’s party directly expresses support for Ukraine’s accession to the European Union and promises to work on providing an Action Plan for NATO Membership.
Speaking about Donbas and the Crimea, the party doesn’t use the obvious term “war”, but they promise to work for “establishing peace and returning Ukrainian territories.” The key proposals of Batkivshchyna – to start negotiations on the formula Budapest +, attracting the United States and the United Kingdom.
New social doctrine
It’s actually kind of a classic story, in Batkivshchyna, over the next five years, they promise to increase the salary to the average level in Poland, introduce a “personalized pension reform” (the minimum pension is 3094 UAH) and cancel pension deprivation of working pensioners.
In the field of medicine, the Yulia Tymoshenko’s party plans to introduce compulsory health insurance at the expense of employers, thus ensuring “every citizen” free medical services of all levels and free medicines.
Then again – the classic story – halving the gas rates, followed by a decrease in tariffs for heat and hot water.
Interestingly that “the key priority of the new course” in the program volatiles depending on the section. Now, the thing is about the system of education and science which will be “fundamentally reviewed”. According to the plans of the political force, the law will guarantee free education: from elementary to high school. And, of course, raising the salaries of the educators.
New youth policy
Benefits to employers who hire graduates for their first job, micro lending for young entrepreneurs, affordable housing and support for families with children via increased childbirth payments – the policy of youth in a party’s presentation looks something like that.
New economic strategy
Batkivshchyna promises (or is it still planning?) to create conditions for the development of renewable energy, to solve waste problems, to take care of the environment, to demonopolize the import of gas and develop our own coal industry.
The political force also plans to extend the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land and to adopt a law introducing a single tax per hectare of land for farmers.
Moreover, Tymoshenko’s party is going to cancel 37 taxes and fees, including inheritance tax, state duty and the court fee. The VAT will be replaced by a minimum sales tax, and “burdensome income tax” by exit capital tax.
Who is in the party’s top ten?
Batkivshchyna can’t boast about new faces in the party. The first ten candidates for MPs are old friends and fellow party members of Yulia Tymoshenko. Obviously, they don’t support the novelty.
1. Yulia Tymoshenko. Unchangeable party leader runs for the elections under the first number. Ms. Yulia Tymoshenko is an old-timer of Ukrainian politics. She chanced to become an MP for the first time in 1996 and this time she can get a certificate of the MP already for the seventh time.
2. Serhiy Taruta is an entrepreneur, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Industrial Union of Donbas, ex-chairman of the Donetsk Regional State Administration, and an incumbent MP. In this year’s presidential elections, Taruta withdrew his candidacy in favour of Tymoshenko. Forbes estimated the candidate’s fortune in 2013 at $ 597 million.
3. Valentyn Nalyvaychenko is a diplomat and head of the Security Service of Ukraine in the past. He an old friend of Tymoshenko: back in 2013, Nalyvaychenko organized events in Germany in support of the politician. Prior to that, he was the chairman of the political council of the Our Ukraine Party and a member of the Udar Party. He is a participant of the EuroMaidan and the war in Donbas.
4. Serhiy Sobolyev is also an old-timer of the Ukrainian politics who plans to become an MP for the seventh time. Deputy chairman of the Batkivshchyna faction in the Verkhovna Rada, at the same time – a deputy chairman of the same party.
5. Olena Kondratiuk isn’t a new face in the party either. For success in the elections, she may become an MP for the fourth time. Her whole political route is solely tagged on Yulia Tymoshenko’s party.
6. Ivan Kyrylenko also won’t surprise you with the lack of experience and a strange face. Under his belt, there are already six successful attempts to become an MP. Kyrylenko runs for the third time from Batkivshchyna Party. In the past, he was the Vice Prime Minister of the Agro-Industrial Complex in the government of Yanukovych and the Minister of Agrarian Policy during Kuchma’s presidency.
7. Andriy Kozhemiakin is another friend of Yulia Tymoshenko and an MP for the third time. The candidate’s father is one of the founders of the Security Service of Ukraine. And Kozhemiakin-Jr himself worked as a deputy head of the same Security Service.
8. Hryhoriy Nemyria, as you have probably guessed, is also an MP with experience. And also – a historian, political scientist and Vice-Prime Minister in the second government of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. The politician is often believed to be the Batkivshcyna leader’s chief expert on international affairs.
9. Serhiy Vlasenko is a triple MP and lawyer, in the past, he was a member of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Rule of Law and Justice. As a lawyer, he defended in 2004 the interests of the presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko. Also, he was a lawyer of Yulia Tymoshenko. True enough, he was a figure of anti-corruption investigation when in 2016 his mother “gave” him one and a half million hryvnias.
10. Valeriy Dubil is another true member of the Batkivschyna party, MP of the last three convocations of the Verkhovna Rada. Dubil’s surname is involved in the series of scandals. In particular, in March this year, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said that the MP organized a network of agitators with the participation of Russian political technologists and planned to bribe voters for the win of Yulia Tymoshenko.
What is known about the Batkivshchyna Party?
Today, to imagine Ukrainian politics without Batkivshchyna is utterly difficult. The party was registered by the Ministry of Justice on September 16, 1999. Yulia Tymoshenko headed it at the second congress in December.
The first time that Tymoshenko was the Vice Prime Minister of Yushchenko’s government, Batkivshchyna was considered a pro-government party. After the arrest of the leader in 2001, the political force became an opposition and joined the movement “Ukraine without Kuchma”.
In the presidential elections in 2004, Batkivshchyna, headed by Tymoshenko, supported Viktor Yushchenko and took an active part in the Orange Revolution. After the win of Yushchenko, Tymoshenko took the post of the Prime Minister. Later, the party joined the opposition.
After the parliamentary elections in 2006, Tymoshenko, together with her party, again turned out to be in opposition because she failed to form a coalition with the Our Ukraine bloc and the Socialist Party. However, after the snap elections in 2007, the party formed a coalition. In February 2008, the party was admitted to the European People’s Party as an observer.
In the last elections, Batkivshchyna “brought” only 19 people to the Parliament. Before that, part of the party members had made a peculiar demarche, refusing to run for the elections in Tymoshenko’s party. Nadiya Savchenko was the first number on the lists of Batkivshchyna in the 2014 parliamentary elections. However, now the party is more about not to recall this.
According to the official charter, the party defines itself as “a nationwide democratic, patriotic political party that reflects the views and protects the interests of broad strata of the Ukrainian people in their struggle for the real and irreversible independence of Ukraine.”
What did the party promise in the last elections?
Unlike this year’s program, in 2014, Batkivshchyna clearly said that there was war in Donbas. And, actually, the key promise with which Tymoshenko’s party ran for the Parliament was the victory and peace. The only way to do this was to “negotiate from the position of force”.
Batkivshchyna also aimed at the accession to NATO and was going to hold a referendum on this issue on the day of elections itself.
In addition, Tymoshenko’s party insisted on the need for urgent lustration and “victory over corruption”, the reformation of the judicial system, decentralization and the development of free enterprise. As well as this year, the program of the party involves the position of inevitable membership of Ukraine in the European Union.
What’s in the treasury of the party?
According to the calculations of the CHESNO Civil Movement in the framework of the “Gold of the Parties” project, the contributions to the budget of the party amounted to 132 434 277 UAH, while the expenses are slightly less – 125 217 690 UAH. A considerable part of the contributions is state financing, provided by the legislation – almost 25.5 million UAH.
As for expenses, Batkivshchyna is currently spending the most on services related to transport, real estate and communications (estimated at 390 thousand hryvnias). At the second place – expenditure on the political campaign on the billboards, advertising in the media and on the Internet. Approximate cost – 158 thousand hryvnias. At the third place – salaries and taxes – almost 149 thousand hryvnias.
Does the party have ties to any scandals?
Yeas, it does. One of the freshest ones – fake “donors” who made donations to Batkivshchyna. As it became known in the investigation of the journalistic project “Our Money”, during the second half of 2018, millions of hryvnias came to the accounts of the party as contributions. The report of the party indicated that allegedly dozens of Ukrainians from small towns and villages donated at least 150 thousand hryvnias.
During the journalistic investigation, it turned out that the biggest “donors” of the party were a supermarket cashier in the Kyiv suburb, an unemployed resident of Sumy and a non-existent enterprise that belonged to a kindergarten guidance counsellor.
Also during the presidential campaign, to promote its page the Batkivshchyna Party used a photo of the famous TV presenter Serhiy Prytula without his consent. Almost after that, a new scandal broke out – on the cover of the Batkivshchyna’s electioneering newspaper there was a photo of a veteran of the Russian-Ukrainian war. The defender said that he didn’t support the party and didn’t give his consent for the use of the photo. Apart from that, Oleksiy Lysenko urged Tymoshenko to publicly apologize for the actions of her political scientists.
In addition, on October 8, 2014, on the air of the “People’s Control” program, MP Ihor Skosar admitted that in 2012 he paid 6 million dollars for a place on the electoral list of Batkivschyna. According to him, he directly gave money to Mykola Martynenko who received the consent of Yatseniuk and Turchynov.
Another example of indignation of the part of society is Tymoshenko’s statements concerning the interim Minister of Health Ulana Suprun. In particular, the party leader called the Minister a person without experience who is bad at Ukrainian and doesn’t know Russian at all. Tymoshenko believes that the medical reform itself is “the genocide of the Ukrainian nation”.
Text by Dmytro Zhuravel