A year before presidential elections... pressure on opposition grows in Ukraine

May 2018
Over four years have passed since the shift of ruling elites took place in Ukraine. But despite the efforts to carry out vital reforms in the country, to liberalize Ukrainian economy and integrate into the EU market, new Ukrainian authorities face great problems in gaining the trust of own citizens. Current President's rating has dropped significantly since his election to the post in May 2014. Extremely low rates of economic growth in the country, the lack of progress in the fight against corruption and high crime rates are the reasons for this. Recent sociological survey has shown that ex-premier of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko is the leader of presidential rating now. As for the current President, within his four years in power he has lost support of his electorate, and now it is impossible for him to hope for victory even in the second round of presidential elections, which in conditions of the present-day Ukraine means not only his fall from power, but also the real threat to his personal safety. However, Poroshenko plans to make maximum use of the one-year period before the next elections and is ready to use whatever leverage he has, ranging from legislators to security agencies, to retain his power in Ukraine.

Recently the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) being conducted in the east of the country has been changed by Ukraine's Parliament to the major combat operation, which has established the preconditions for imposing the martial and canceling elections in Ukraine. It has been already characterized as Poroshenko's attempt to stay in power, despite his very low approval rating. However, such an approach is still highly dangerous, particularly as numerous plans for further improving the image of current power are being prepared along with its implementation. In particular, we can look at an order from the head of Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) V. Hrytsak to carry out information and promotional activities, which has been addressed to the Director of the SBU Department for Information Support and Management of Operations (DIU).

The use of security services in deriving domestic political benefits is a routine for Ukraine. Throughout all time of its existence, the SBU has played a more visible role in domestic policy decision-making process than in maintenance of the state's security although the very approach to the implementation of the state's information security policies is perplexing.

"1. To pursue work in cooperation with the media, including Internet resources, aimed at preventing the spread of information materials which may threaten to Ukraine's national interests, namely, be used to hurt reputations of current Government authorities and President of Ukraine, P.A. Poroshenko", as mentioned in the very first paragraph of the document. It is instructive to conclude from it that Poroshenko's reputation, which for objective reasons, as has been said, is extremely poor, is the sphere of national interests and for its sake freedom of expression can be restricted. And this happens in the country that declares European direction of its development.

"4. With the aid of the Unit's technological means, to post information materials to Internet resources in order to counter informational and psychological campaigns that have discredited the Government authorities and personally President of Ukraine P.A. Poroshenko."

Amazingly, the agency responsible for maintenance of country's security will have to post laudatory materials about President and his entourage on various websites over the coming year. That is how this paragraph can be understood. Moreover, the discredit of such main rival for the presidency as Yulia Tymoshenko is given prominence in this document:

"The preparation of materials for their further replication in the media or website posting made by the Unit's officials alone should be channeled in following directions:

- attracting attention of Ukrainian citizens, website visitors and social network users to Tymoshenko's illegal financial activities, as well as, to the existence of her Russian financial assets;

- condemning Tymoshenko's moral character inconsistent with her status of Ukrainian People's Deputy, as well as, the low level of her professional competence and the questionable political backgrounds of persons from her Bloc Fatherland (Batkivshchyna);

- emphasizing the negative role that Y.V. Tymoshenko has played in events leading up to illegal annexation of the Crimea and war in Donbas;

- detecting facts of Tymoshenko's collaboration with leaders of terrorist organizations 'DPR' and 'LPR';

- reminding of Tymoshenko's contacts with Russian businessmen, politicians, journalists and personally with President of Russia V.V. Putin;

- criticizing unreliable ratings of potential candidates for President of Ukraine that have appeared in the media and according to which Y.V. Tymoshenko is allegedly at the top of popularity ratings;

- disseminating information about Tymoshenko's intention to take advantage of the position of President of Ukraine for her own purposes, particularly, for making concessions to terrorists operating in the east of Ukraine, as well as, for waiving claims against Russia relating to the illegal annexation of the Crimea;

- from November 2018, replicating and disseminating information about Tymoshenko's unwillingness to participate in the 2019 presidential elections and her imminent departure from Ukraine for permanent emigration..."

Obviously, Ukraine not only leaves the chosen path of democratic advancement, but is also headed towards dictatorship. For one year of such intensive psychological manipulation of Ukrainian population one can radically change citizens' attitudes, bearing in mind the ways and means that have been chosen by Poroshenko for achieving these goals.


Forum Staff
Oct 2010
The criminals ousted in 2014 were replaced by criminals. Of all those involved in the Maidan Revolution, only Klitschko offered any true break from the corruption that characterizes government in Ukraine and Russia. Only he was "clean," and he was popular. "They," the Poroshenko regime, made him Kiev's mayor, a job that would keep him busy while Poroshenko and his cronies stole from the Ukrainian people.

Part of the problem is the culture, which tolerates corruption, and practices it on small scales.

Ukraine has so much potential, but Putin will make sure that potential remains out of reach.