The course to the new justice system, the desire to turn the oligarchs into “obedient citizens” and new, but sometimes familiar faces selected in a non-stop format. All you should know about the party “Voice” 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 program of the party?

“Justice is worth fighting for its victory”

The first thing that the “Voice” draws attention to is the need for real justice. Svyatoslav Vakarchuk’s team assures that they know how to change the system of bribes and intermediaries, and plans to begin with “judges over judges”.

In particular, the “Voice” stresses the need to fill the High Qualification Commission of Judges and the High Council of Justice with decent and competent judges. Also, Vakarchuk’s party plans to introduce new standards of requirements for judges and prosecutors and to change the system of judicial education. Other plans are introducing electronic document flow in courts, making Security Service “accountable to the people”, liquidating anti-corruption divisions of SSU and adopting the law on turnover of weapons, coordinated with the European legislation.

Vakarchuk promises prison to corrupt officials. Moreover, the singer’s team notes that they know how to establish an effective anti-corruption system. They are talking, for example, about strengthening the powers of the NABU, rebooting SAP and NACP, returning the responsibility for illegal enrichment.

“We will become richer”

The team of the political force is convinced that the IT industry is the future unless the state prevents this future from developing. Therefore, the “Voice” promises to adopt Acts of Digital Freedom, with which the IT sector will have low taxes, and the Labor Code will be cancelled for it.

Vakarchuk and Co are going to turn oligarchs into “law-abiding citizens”, by means of blocking the opportunity to monopolize economic sectors, control the media and appoint “their people” to public positions. To strike “all sources of influence of oligarchs simultaneously”, Vakarchuk plans to apply antimonopoly legislation, to appoint ready-to-fight professionals to state regulators’ positions and to introduce strict requirements for the editorial independence of media.

“The state is for a person, not a citizen for an official”

Medicine. “Voice” promises to complete the health care reform on the principle of “money follows the patient”, to improve conditions in medical institutions, to expand state funding of medicines, to regulate the pharmaceutical market by getting fair prices for quality medicines.

Education. Electronic textbooks on digital tablets, accelerating school reform, equal access to quality education, inclusive education, the possibility of online self-education, changing the system of financing of higher education, the elimination of academic malpractice – these are key, but not all of the party’s proposals.

Social policy. Targeted social assistance, the creation of an electronic register of the recipients of social assistance, funded pension system, census, the launch of a 24-hour information platform to support the Ukrainians and the construction of a system of effective control over international adoption.

Culture. Modernization of culture along with the preservation of authenticity, supporting the carriers of modern new culture and development of cultural centres across the country.

“New approaches to politics and governance”

The party promises to change the work of the Verkhovna Rada “from a crooked mirror to transparency”. The methods for this are elections with open lists, the abolition of the majoritarian system, the abolition of parliamentary immunity, reduction in the number of people’s deputies, strengthening the participation of citizens in decision-making at the expense of “instruments of e-democracy”, the procedure of impeachment of the president, deprivation of mandate for “truants” and the increase in the length and number of days of work of the parliament.

Also, the party plans to change the state apparatus and to deprive people of the need to face officials, but to introduce electronic tools for the state. Therefore, the “Voice” wants to reduce the functions of the state, to create an electronic cabinet of a citizen, to change the process of appointment to civil service position and to introduce a system of evaluation of the public service by citizens.

“Stronger together with European security and diplomacy”

The team of Vakarchuk promises to create decent conditions of service for the military, to bring the army closer to NATO standards, to create conditions for rehabilitation and adaptation to peaceful life, social support for veterans. In addition, the “Voice” is going to launch open tenders for the supply of equipment and weapons and to develop military medicine. The party also started talking about the creation of a system of territorial defence and military reserve.

Also, the political force promises to work on strengthening the international pressure on Russia and the restoration of territorial integrity through diplomatic work. The “Voice” states about Crimea: they are not going to trade, for it’s not a bargaining chip, but a part of Ukraine. In foreign policy, the party supports EU membership and NATO accession.

Who is in the top ten of the party?

The “Voice” team is openly betting on new faces – mostly people who weren’t in politics before. And at the same time, there are many assistants to people’s deputies of different convocations, deputy ministers and officials even in the top ten. Civil and anti-corruption activists, a journalist and a city council deputy – how does the first “ten” of the party look?

Svyatoslav Vakarchuk is the leader and the founder of the party “Voice”, a musician and the leader of Okean Elzy, a public figure, a merited artist of Ukraine. Also, Vakarchuk is a co-founder of the Center for Economic Strategy and the Fund “People of the Future”. In 2007, the musician had already become a people’s deputy on the lists of the party “Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defense”. However, a year after receiving the mandate Vakarchuk resigned.

Yuliia Klymenko is an economist, the vice-president of Kyiv School of Economics. In 2015-2016, she worked as the deputy minister of economy, was responsible for working with small and medium-sized businesses. Kymenko was also a member of the board of the Ukrainian branch of the anti-corruption organization Transparency International.

Kira Rudyk is an IT-entrepreneur, the head of the company Ring Ukraine. She managed the Kyiv R&D office, which is engaged in the development of all software for Ring, with a staff of 500 people. Amazon bought the company Ring Ukraine together with its main office in the United States for $1 billion. Ring specializes in the production of “smart” doorbells, allowing you to track territory and visitors at a distance in real time.

Yaroslav Zhelezniak worked with the parliament before working at the headquarters of Vakarchuk’s party. First, he was a consultant to the minister of economy Aivaras Abromavicius. Since 2016, he worked with the office of the prime minister Groysman. In the past, he was a member of the Strategic Advisory Group for Support of Reforms in Ukraine (SAGSRU). According to the resource posipaky.info, Zhelezniak was the assistant to the people’s deputy from the “Party of Regions” Oleksii Plotnikov in the parliament of the 6th convocation on a voluntary basis.

Oleksandra Ustinova is an anti-corruption activist and a former member of the board of the Anti-Corruption Center, where she was responsible for the medical sphere. In 2015, she was elected to the first Board of Public Control at NABU. Recently, the candidate for people’s deputy became a graduate of the Stanford University program for new leaders of Ukraine.

Oleh Makarov is a lawyer, a partner in the company “Vasyl Kisil & Partners”, which is engaged in legal support of most major financial and industrial groups of the country. In the autumn of 2015, Makarov became a deputy of the Kyiv City Council from the party “Self-Reliance”, but later, as a result of the scandal, a part of the faction separated and created the “Kyiv Team”.

Yaroslav Yurchyshyn is a public activist and former head of Transparency International in Ukraine. He was a member of the Council of Public Control at NABU, and a member of the competition commissions for the election of prosecutors for SAP and the head of the ARMA. In 2014, he was an adviser to the secretary of the NSDC Andrii Parubii.

Serhii Rakhmanin is a well-known journalist, Deputy editor-in-chief of one of the most authoritative Ukrainian publications – Zerkalo Nedeli newspaper. Specializes in particular on issues of constitutional changes and political structure.

 

Solomiia Bobrovska is an activist, a co-founder of the initiatives “Euromaidan SOS” and “Help to SBGSU”. A member of the social movement CHESNO in 2012-2013. In 2014, she was the advisor to the deputy prime minister for humanitarian affairs. The following year she occupied the position of the advisor to the head of the Odessa Regional State Administration Mikheil Saakashvili. From November 2016 to January 2017, she served as the Chairman of the RSA. 

Olha Stefanyshyna is a former deputy minister of health for European integration. While in office, she coordinated the following areas of work: public procurement of medicines and medical products, vaccination and public health. Prior to the appointment, she was the executive director of the charity fund “Patients of Ukraine”, created to protect the rights and interests of the Ukrainian patients in access to treatment.

What is known about the party “Voice”?

The “Voice” is a newcomer in Ukrainian politics. The creation of the party was announced recently – on May 16, 2019. Svyatoslav Vakarchuk headed it, of course. However, it was too late to register the political force, so it was decided to rename and re-register the party “Platform of Initiatives” to “Voice”.  On May 21, the political party of Vakarchuk received the documents on successful re-registration.

Svyatoslav Vakarchuk himself notes that the decision to go into politics is final, but it was taken very quickly.

“This decision was made very quickly, I did not think for a long time, because I believe that the parliament in the country is now the place where the key, fundamental decisions are made, which, by the way, relate to the life, well-being and future of every ordinary Ukrainian. This is the main place of key political decisions with long-term and short-term consequences in the country. Therefore, we believe that we should be there today,” the founder of the party assured.

The “Voice” considers the implementation of the interests of citizens, the European future, the economy without oligarchs and the unity of the law its main tasks.

 

Who finances the party?

In mid-June, the “Voice” announced the names of the first donors who finance the election campaign of the party. Namely, an investment banker, the specialist of Dragon Capital on sales of debt securities Serhii Fursa, the regional president of Jacobs Douwe Egberts in the countries of Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa Taras Lukachuk and the former president of “Kyivstar” Petro Chernyshov.

“The party received the first payment from Svyatoslav Vakarchuk himself. In accordance with the policy of fundraising, the “Voice” accepts financial or other support only on the condition that donors will not influence the independence of the party, will not question its reputation and will not contradict our values,” the press service of the “Voice” stated.

Subsequently, the political power introduced one more donor: a consulting company EBS, the partners of which are Olena Volska, Nataliia Sarhuns and Olena Levshun.

Is the party connected with any scandals?

Since the party has existed for only a few months, its reputation can be considered almost perfect. However, except for a few moments, some people try to turn into a big scandal. For example, during one of his speeches, Vakarchuk made a slip and said that “Russia has captured and annexed the Russian Crimea”. Of course, a number of publications released the news with the heading “Vakarchuk called Crimea Russian”, but the “Voice” explained that this is only an unpleasant slip of the tongue.

Also, Vakarchuk is reproached that his concert tour is actually agitation during the election campaign. But the singer denies the charges, claiming that no agitation during performances occurs.

Also, after declaring a format of new faces in the party, Svyatoslav Vakarchuk and his team provided the candidates with the especially close attention of journalists. For example, the team of the project “Scheme” noticed that one of the majority candidates of the party Dmytro Ohniov has family ties with the people’s deputy from the “Petro Poroshenko Bloc” Hlib Zahorii, the co-owner of the pharmaceutical company “Darnytsia” who was involved in numerous journalistic investigations. In the end, Vakarchuk’s party withdrew this candidate, and the CEC cancelled the registration.

Text by Dmytro Zhuravel

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