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Elections in the Ukraine, 1990

  • Peter J. Potichnyj

Abstract

The first free elections in the Ukraine since the 1917 Revolution took place in March 1990. In contests for local soviets, non-Party candidates were permitted to run and most constituencies had seriously contested multicandidate elections. The significance of these elections is not only the historic departure from completely manipulated and purely symbolic elections, but also that they provide a fascinating glimpse into the attitudes of the over 50 million inhabitants of a vital area of the USSR. There was considerable debate and struggle over the rules of the new electoral game. The Communist Party, despite its rhetorical adherence to the policies of glasnost and perestroika, did not lose its reflexes of manipulation, but tried to use well tested means to influence the outcome of the elections and avoid political embarrassment. It succeeded only partially. It now turns out that the 1990 elections were the first step in a long-term process of democratisation and the emergence of an autonomous or independent Ukrainian polity. The Ukraine’s recently declared independence will have a more profound impact on the USSR, Europe, and the world than the actions of any other Soviet republic save the Russian republic itself. A detailed examination of the electoral process and outcomes, insofar as it illustrates larger currents in Ukraine, is therefore in order.

Keywords

Communist Party Party Leadership Party Member Electoral District Party Candidate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 5.
    Valentyna S. Shevchenko, ‘Pro pravove zabezpechennia reformy pred-stavnytskykh orhaniv derzhavnoii vlady v Ukrainskii RSR’, (RU) (26 October 1989) pp. 2ff; See also, Ia. Oleinichenko, ‘Shkola mudrosti narodnoi’, Pravda Ukrainy (hereafter PU) (15 November 1989) p. 2.Google Scholar
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    See Oksana Hutsul, ‘Zapytuiut vybortsi’, Molod’ Ukrainy (hereafter MU) (16 December 1989) p. 1.Google Scholar
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    See V. Honcharenko, ‘Khronika dvokh sensatsii’, Radians’ka Osvita (hereafter RO) (19 December 1989) p. 2.Google Scholar
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    Olena Hubina, ‘Orhanizatsiia bez pechatky’, MU (1 February 1990) p. 1; in this matter, in Kiev, seven candidates of ‘Zelenyi Svit’ — Serhii Fedorinchyk, Iurii Mishchenko, Vadym Skurativskyi, Roman Serhienko, Volodymyr Tykhyi, Viktor Chariniok, and Vitalii Kriukov — were refused registration.Google Scholar
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    See Iu. Mushketyk, ‘Chy budut’ na Ukraini ievreiski pohrorny?’, LU (8 February 1990) p. 1Google Scholar
  6. 45a.
    V. Iavorivskyi, ‘Do neukraintsiv iaki prozhyvaiut’ v URSR’, LU (8 February 1990) p. 1Google Scholar
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    Ol. Ieltsov, ‘Ne prosto shantazh — provokatsiia’, MU (22 February 1990) p. 4Google Scholar
  8. 45c.
    Liuba Samoilenko, ‘Tsei hariachyi sichen’’, Visti z Ukrainy, 6 (February 1990) p. 1; ‘Izbavliaias’ ot dogm’ (about Crimean Tatars), PU (13 January 1990) p. 2. On 15–16 Setpember 1989 the Constituent Congress of the German Society ‘Rebirth’ (Wiedergeburt) took place in Kiev with some 71 delegates from organisations in Dnipropetrovs’ke, Kiev, Zaporizhzhia, Transcarpathia and Donets’ke regions. In order to pay greater attention to nationality problems at the Institute of History, Academy of Sciences Ukrainian SSR, a Centre for the Study of Nationality Problems, was set up. Iu. M. Khvorostianyi, Deputy Director of the Institute indicated that the new Centre might perform consulting services for the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian republic, Radio Kiev-1 and -3 (5 March 1990).Google Scholar
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    V. Proshchakov, ‘Na platformi partii: Shliakh do suverenitetu’ (about A.V. Merkulov), RU (26 December 1989) p. 3; ‘Shchodennyk vyborchoii kampanii: Vazhke pravo vyboru’, RH (16 and 22 December 1989); ‘Idemo do vyboriv: Na osnovi demokratii i hlasnosti’, RU (23 December 1989). V. Karpenko, editor of Vechirnyi Kyiv, was accused of using his position to take advantage in the elections, and was therefore considered an oppositionist.Google Scholar
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    For an excellent review of Rukh programmes, see Mykhailo Kosiv, ‘Narodnomu rukhovi-rukh’, Zhovten’, 11 (1989) pp. 75–9.Google Scholar
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    Iurii Pryhornyts’kyi, ‘Ivan Chendei: “Konche skasuvaty tsenzuru”’, LU (22 February 1990) p. 3;Google Scholar
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    P. Iurchenko, ‘Roman Lubkivs’kyi: “Z iakym lytsem perestupymo porih khramu?”’, LU (22 February 1990) p. 2;Google Scholar
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    Iurii Pryhornytskyi, ‘Oleksii Opanasiuk: “V otochenni triokh AES...”’, LU (15 February 1990) p. 7;Google Scholar
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    Ievhen Vasylchenko, ‘Sfotohrafovanyi u vyshyvantsi’ (about B.I. Tkachenko), LU (15 February 1990) p. 7; ‘Borys Tkachenko: Nam potribni tverezi holovy’, Ukraina, 2 (January 1990) pp. 6–7;Google Scholar
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    Iurii Pryhornytskyi, ‘Anatolii Pohribnyi: “Zalezhyt’vid koznoho z nas”’, LU (25 January 1990) p. 2;Google Scholar
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    S. Ianovs’kyi, ‘Anatolii Pohribnyi: “Aby zhodom ne kaiatsia...”’, RO (19 January 1990) p. 2; ‘Myroslav Popovych’, Radio Kiev-2 (9 February 1990); and articles in LU (4 January 1990) p. 2; LU (1 February 1990) p. 2; LU (8 February 1990) p. 2; LU (25 January 1990) p. 2; LU (25 January 1990) p. 2; MU (18 January 1990) p. 1. See also ‘News of Ukraine’, Radio Kiev-1 (1 February 1990); ‘Vitalii Berezyn-s’kyi’, Radio Kiev-3 (10 January 1990); ‘Viktor M. Leshchenko’, Radio Kiev-2 (7 February 1990); Iu. Riabukha, ‘Povpred molodoho Krasnodona’ (about A.H. Nikitenko), KiZ (21 January 1990) p. 1; ‘Serhii Koniev’, Radio Kiev-2 (6 February 1990); ‘Ivan Pushyk’, Radio Kiev-3 (7 February 1990); ‘Viktor Teren’, Radio Kiev-3 (15 January 1990); ‘Ivan Salii’, Radio Kiev-2 (9 January 1990) and Radio Kiev-3 (22 January 1990); ‘Serhii Holovatyi’, Radio Kiev-2 (30 January 1990); MU 18 (1990) p. 1; LU (8 February 1990) p. 2; LU (1 February 1990) pp. 1–2; ‘Zustrich z kandydatom Edvardom Oleksievychem...?’, Radio Kiev-2 (12 February 1990); LU (1 February 1990) p. 2 and Stanislav Kalinichev, ‘Poslednyi shans’, Ogonek, 3 (1990); LU (22 February 1990) p. 2; MU (20 February 1990) p. 1;Google Scholar
  27. 81j.
    O. Talaieva, ‘U pohoni za vtrachenoiu slavoiu’ (about P.M. Talanchuk), Visti z Ukrainy (hereafter VzU), 6 (February 1990) p. 3; ‘Demokratiia i my: “tykhi vybory?”’ (about Bohdan D. Kotyk), VzU (6 February 1990) p. 2;Google Scholar
  28. 81k.
    H. Selikhov, ‘Perehlianemo-priorytety, proponuie kandydat u narodni deputaty URSR’, (18 February 1990) p. 2; LU (4 January 1990) p. 2; RO (27 February 1990) p. 2; RO (27 February 1990) p. 1; MU (28 February 1990) p. 2; MU (28 February 1990) p. 2; MU (1 February 1990) p. 2; MU (1 March 1990) p. 3; ‘Zustrich z kandydatom M.M. Starodubom’, Radio Kiev-2 (15 January 1990); But see also ‘Kandydat u deptuaty vid KDB respublily heneral iurii Shranko’, Radio Kiev-1 (2 March 1990).Google Scholar
  29. 92.
    See V. Kusherets’, ‘Spravedlyvist’ za rakhunok koho?’, Ukraina 50 (1989) pp. 4–5.Google Scholar
  30. 95.
    Kusherets’, ‘Spravedlyvist’ za rakhunok koho?’. Some interesting in-formation, which was previously unavailable, was contained in the article, ‘Kakova zarplata rabotnikov partorganov Ukrainy’, PU (14 February 1990); see also Hanna Kryvenko, ‘Zoik u cherzi: Bil’, No. 1’, MU (9 December 1989), which described callous treatment of the needy and defenceless individuals and their families by the functionaries; an official economic report showed that very little economic progress took place in the republic in 1989. ‘Rozvytok respubliky v mynulomu rotsi’, MU (2 February 1990) p. 1. There were also those who felt that even glasnost still had a long way to go, and suggested that the regime ought to stop a‘ludicrous campaign of control over xeroxing machines’ and do something more constructive instead. Liudmyla Mykytiuk, ‘Hlasnist’ i svoboda slova’, MU 19 (1990) pp. 1–2.Google Scholar
  31. 97.
    ‘Stavlennia molodi do vyboriv’. In another street survey by Radio Kiev, some individuals complained that the reconstruction was being sabotaged by 80 per cent of the party apparat. Still others held a very cynical view of the future. Some complained that the four aims of the 1917 October Revolution — Land to the Peasants; Factories to the Workers; Peace for Nations; and All Power to the Soviets — had never been fulfilled. Others spoke for the multiparty system and some proposed that the emphasis on republic sovereignty include demands for a ‘separate, professional Ukrainian army’. Radio Kiev-2 (9 February 1990). See also Captain O. Hlaholiev, ‘Notatky z pryvodu, de sluzhyty soldatu’, RH (15 February 1990) p. 4, in which he criticised calls for a separate Ukrainian army heard at Kiev meetings organised by SNUM;Google Scholar
  32. 97a.
    V. Boldurin, ‘Komu vyhidno’, RH (23 February 1990) p. 4.Google Scholar
  33. 98.
    At least this was the opinion of Les Taniuk, one of the candidates. See Oksana Boiko, ‘Vremia soedineniia, a ne rozni’, Vechernii Kiev (15 February 1990) p. 2; On the other hand, both A.H. Pohribnyi, and O.Ie. Shevchenko saw this as a clear attempt to prevent a sovereign Ukrainian state from becoming a reality, while Drach called it an attempt of those in power to retain it at all costs. The Estonian view of the situation in Ukraine is nicely summarised in an article highly critical of V.A. Ivashko, see ‘Chelovek na svoem meste: Ili Ukraina i ee novyi namesnik’, Atmoda 18 (December 1989) p. 4.Google Scholar
  34. 99.
    For example, in addition to several small groupings that called them-selves political parties, large organisations such as ‘Zelenyi Svit’ expressed the intention of organising themselves into a political party. See Iurii Shcherbak proclaiming that on 26 April (the anniversary of Chernobyl) a new party would be formed. Radio Kiev- (2 March 1990); Volodymyr Iavoirivs’kyi, on the other hand, proclaimed the intention of organising a‘fraction of the Communist Party of Ukraine’ in order for the Communists to separate themselves from those leaders in the party like Kriuchkov and Dikusarov who were guilty of leading the party into decline. When asked whether Rukh itself should become a party, he answered that at this stage of development he would not want to prognosticate on the matter. It was interesting that a few days later, Ivan Drach proposed the formation of a new party, to be discussed on 25 March by 95 members of the Rukh Council. Radio Kiev- (2 March 1990). See also Dmytro Poiezd, ‘Do pravovoii derzhavy’, Vil’ne Slovo, 7 (January 1990); In Rivne an organisational committee was set up with Mykola Perovs’kyi as its head for the purpose of organising the Ukrainian Communist Party. In Chernivtsi, Lviv, Chernihiv, Zhytomyr and Kiev, initiatory groups were also created. See ‘Stvoreno komitet dlia zas-nuvannia UKP’, Ukrainski Visti (Detroit) (4 February 1990) p. 1; On 7 February 1990, the Organising Committee issued its ‘Proclamation to Communists of Ukraine’, in which it called for a Communist Party, independent of the imperial centre in Moscow Ukrainski Visti (Detroit) (25 February 1990) p. 1.Google Scholar
  35. 100.
    For a competent summary of the question in March 1990, see Stefan V. Mardak, ‘Kirchenstreit in der Westukraine’, Aktuelle Analysen (BIOst), 21 (12 March 1990). Unfortunately, in dealing with the Orthodox— Catholic dimension of the question, he did not deal with growing Protestant denominations in Ukraine, which by some accounts numbered nearly 5 million people.Google Scholar
  36. 101.
    In the beginning of February, the party leadership admitted without much enthusiasm that the famine was man-made, Radio Kiev (14 February 1990). Lazar M. Kaganovich, who carried out this genocidal policy in Ukraine, lived in Moscow as a party member in good standing until his death in 1991. See also A. Zubkov, V. Karpenko, L. Taniuk, O. Shlaien, I. Shpak, V. Iavorivskyi, ‘Vidkrytyi lyst L.M. Kahanovychu’, KiZ (18 February 1990) p. 8.Google Scholar
  37. 123.
    See an excellent statement on this theme by a newly elected deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the Ukraine, P. Movchan, to the Second Regional Conference of the Interntional Pen-Club, on 27 February 1990, in Vienna. ‘Svoboda zovnishnia i vnutrishnia’, LU 12 (1990) p. 2.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Council for Soviet and East European Studies, and Zvi Gitelman 1992

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  • Peter J. Potichnyj

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