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    2002 Parliamentary Elections

    RCC Guide: Ukrainian Political Internet Through Partisan Prisms

    Some months ago, the Editorial Board of RCC Political Review gave our readers basic information on the Ukrainian political Internet, as seen through available news and analysis resources. In this issue, we return to this country’s rich virtual political hunting grounds by offering mini-reviews of 20 political parties and blocs contesting the upcoming Parliament election.

    One major drawback of most Ukrainian political party and electoral bloc sites is the lack of quality English-language content. However, some sites can be visited and their value as campaign tools measured even without an understanding of Ukrainian. We invite you to read on and surf away.


    Party name: Vyborchyi Bloc Yuliyi Tymoshenko (Electoral Bloc of Yuliya Tymoshenko)

    Top candidates: Yuliya Tymoshenko, Oleksander Turchynov, Anatoliy Matviyenko, Levko Lukianenko, Stepan Khmara

    URL: www.tymoshenko.com.ua

    Languages: Ukrainian, Russian, English

    Features: "personal" web-site of Yulia Tymoshenko: biography, news, interviews, forum, and photo album.

    Summary: This site is part of an apparent personality-oriented image strategy being pursued by Mrs. Tymoshenko’s communications specialists. It is done in an online newspaper style, replete with regularly updated items with genuine news value, albeit emphasizing issues, events and positions that are central to the bloc, which is also known by its acronym BUT (pronounced “Beaut’”). This site is heavily bannered on major Ukrainian Internet portals and news sites, as well as specialty (politics-only) sites.

    Party program: no


    Bloc: Vyborchyy bloc Demokratychna Partiya Ukrayiny - Partiya "Demokratychnyy Soyuz" (Democratic Union)

    Top candidates: Volodymyr Horbulin, Oleh Rafalskiy, Hetman IvanBilas, Vyacheslav Pikhovshek

    URL: www.demunion.kiev.ua

    Languages: Ukrainian (some items in Russian)

    Features: news, press-commentaries, discussion club, chat, contacts to regional offices.

    Summary: The site focuses on the party’s party list, but makes no mention of some of its more influential and financially secure individuals, such as Oleksander Volkov and Volodymyr Satsiuk (who are not on the party list and are running in single-mandate constituencies instead). There is an almost total absence of graphics that would catch a reader’s eye, and press-oriented content is dry and uninteresting.

    Party program: yes


    Bloc name: Vseukrayinske politychne obyednannia "Zhinky za maibutnie" (Women for the Future)

    Top five candidates: Valentyna Dovzhenko, Mariya Orlyk, NataliyaKaterynchuk, Valentyna Svatyeva, Halyna Ponomariova

    URL: www.woman.org.ua

    Languages: Ukrainian

    Features: news, press commentary, interviews, party anthem

    Summary: The site focuses on this party’s priorities and plans (read ambitions). The entry page strikes many viewers with its faded image of a mother-and-child seeping through a stark blue and yellow forefront. However further exploration shows the futility of creative design when original content is lacking. The party program is boring, and conservative in a neo-Soviet sense. The writing style is also very bureaucratic.

    Party program: yes


    Party name: Komunistychna Partiya Ukrayiny (Communist Party of Ukraine)

    Top five candidates: Petro Symonenko, Omelian Parubok, IvanHerasimov, Borys Oliynyk, Valeriya Zaklunna-Myronenko

    URL: www.kpu.kiev.ua

    Languages: Russian

    Features: press-commentaries, candidate lists, official documents, upcoming events, chat, photo album.

    Summary: The site is short on everything except for CPU-related information. This site has been difficult to access at times, but this is not, presumably, due to extremely heavy traffic.

    Party program: yes


    Bloc name: Vyborchiy bloc "Komanda Ozymoho Pokolinnia" (The Winter Generation Team, a.k.a "Generation X" in Western publications)

    Top five candidates: Valeriy Khoroshkovskyy, Inna Bohoslovska, Mykola Sytnyk (Veresen), Ostap Protsyk, Valeriy Voshchevskyy.

    URL: www.zbirna.org.ua

    Languages: Ukrainian (with some texts in Russian)

    Features: news, press commentary, party list and Manifesto.

    Summary: The site highlights publications and news coverage of this “under-40 pro-business progressive” group’s activities. KOP is positioning itself as a genuine (relatively youthful) alternative to the heavyweights in the race, be they centrist or center-right in their orientation. Colors are used effectively to bring across the idea that KOP’s candidates are like winter wheat that will give a good early harvest. Another site strength is the presence of intelligently written materials by and about KOP members, who include popular TV personalities and individuals selected via an “open application” process from throughout Ukraine. The site’s main weakness is that its owners do not appear to have a nationwide base of support that can be enhanced through the site and other media strategies and tools.

    Party program: yes


    Bloc name: Bloc Viktora Yushchenka "Nasha Ukrayina" (Our Ukraine)

    Leader: Viktor Yushchenko

    URL: www.razom.org.ua

    Languages: Ukrainian

    Features: news, press commentary, polling data and analysis, search engine, forum, “Ask Viktor Yushchenko” Q&A Online.

    Summary: Besides bloc-related info, this portal-style site provides news and commentary about the bloc. It also features polls and forums, and has substantial search and navigation capabilities. A distinct strength is the prominence of sources for material posted to the site, which enhances both the site’s and owners’ credibility. Razom is also widely advertised (though not nearly as widely as the Tymoshenko site) through banners, and the site includes downloadable banners for those interested in “spreading the word” about Viktor Yushchenko and Our Ukraine. The “Ask Viktor Yushchenko” Q&A Online element also adds value to the site experience, although it is not updated frequently. Also, see www.yuschenko.com site for an unofficial site, that purports to be genuinely pro-Yushchenko, but sneaks in pot-shots at the former PM, and spreads good news about his opponents, including SDPU(o).

    Party program: yes


    Party name: "Partiya Zelenykh Ukrayiny" (Green Party)

    Top five candidates: Vitaliy Kononov, Oleh Shevchuk, VasylKhmelnytskyy, Serhiy Kurykin, Yuriy Samoylenko

    URL: www.greenparty.org.ua

    Languages: Ukrainian, Russian, English

    Features: news, photo album, forum, on-line booklet ordering, polls, "Green Internet" project: (email account, chat), background radiation monitor and (!) weather forecast.

    Summary: This all-green portal-style site contains extensive links to international environmental protection-oriented sites, as well as Ukrainian political news and press commentary. The site features a “Green Internet” project, providing email and other on-line services to those interested. It is well designed, and clearly showcases the Greens’ strategy of avoiding “dirty politics” by highlighting “apolitical” environmental protection issues and the party’s achievements in parliament and government thereon. To would-be-voters who are regular Internet users but who do not otherwise follow the Greens’ voting record in Parliament, this site is a powerful argument in support of casting a “green ballot” for the site owners on Election Day.

    Party program: yes


    Bloc name: Vyborchyy bloc "Za yedynu Ukrayinu" - "Partiya regioniv" (Party of Regions)

    Leading Lights: Mykola Azarov, Volodymyr Semynozhenko, Andriy Klyuyev, Volodymyr Rybak, Hennadiy Samofalov.

    URL: www.partyofregions.org.ua

    Languages: Ukrainian, Russian, English

    Features: news, poll, contact phone numbers to all the candidates.

    Summary: This site has good color composition but the content is somewhat bland and bureaucratic. Although the site claims to be tri-lingual, only the Ukrainian section works at this time. The site is quite similar to the Women for the Future site reviewed above in terms of being a valiant attempt to package old products in new boxes. It is simply not interesting.

    Party program: yes


    Bloc name: Vyborchyy bloc "Za yedynu Ukrayinu" - "Narodno-demokratychna partiya" (People Democratic Party)

    Top candidates: Valeriy Pustovoytenko, Anatoliy Tolstoukhov, Oleksandr Karpov

    URL: www.ndp.org.ua

    Languages: Ukrainian, English

    Features: general information, email contacts.

    Summary: A dreadfully boring site for those seeking campaign propaganda and the like, this site could be of interest to political science students looking for primary source material on Ukraine’s consummate centrist party of power. For those who need additional information about this party, there is a contact email address. The English-langauge version is currently under construction.

    Party program: yes


    Party name: "Narodniy Rukh Ukrayiny za Yednist" (Popular Movement of Ukraine for Unity)

    Leader: Bohdan Boyko

    URL: www.rukh.org

    Languages: Unable to ascertain

    Features: The site, affiliated with a splinter faction of the original Rukh, a once-influential national democratic party, is currently closed due to technical difficulties, with no indication of when it may reappear on-line. Presumably the site’s owners will provide interesting content if and when they do return to the Internet.

    Party program: no


    Party name: SDPU(o) Social-Democratic Party of Ukraine (United)

    Top five candidates: Viktor Medvedchuk, Oleksander Zinchenko, ValeriyYevdokymov, Vasyl Kremen, Ihor Pluzhnykov

    URL: www.sdpuo.org.ua

    Languages: Ukrainian, Russian, English

    Features: news, recent elections info, press commentary, discussion club (forums, polls), search engine, contacts, link to the “Nasha Hazeta+” newspaper, on-line “One Million Red Roses” contest.

    Summary: Comprehensive on-line political news coverage, news analysis, as well as a range of links on all-you-needed-to-know-about-the-party info. The site features a Discussion Club section that includes polls and an allegedly uncensored forum. It offers helpful search and navigation functions. Links to ideologically related parties in foreign countries are provided as well. The on-line contest that offers a 17 inch monitor as a prize is a definite sign of innovation in the Ukrainian political Internet. The party also uses the site as an important communications vehicle for its members of the regions. Hleb Pavlovskiy’s people, from the Moscow-based Fund for Effective Politics, manage the site. Their other Internet projects include http://www.ukraine.ru, http://www.strana.ru and other sources of disinformation, aimed at discrediting Medevdchuk’s arch-enemy and rival —Victor Yushchenko. Medvedchuk’s people are using the site to prop up his image, and position him as a contender for the next presidential elections.

    Party program: yes


    Party name: Trudova Ukrayina (Labor Ukraine)

    Leader: Serhiy Tyhypko

    URL: www.trud.org.ua

    Languages: Ukrainian, Russian

    Features: news, link to party publications, forum, legal consultations on issues related to the state language.

    Summary: This site is the Internet calling card of one of Ukraine’s premier oligarch-associated parties. Nominally led by former Vice Prime Minister Serhiy Tyhypko, Labor Ukraine blends center-left economic policies with a marked pro-Moscow geopolitical orientation. “To Europe with Russia!” is one of their battle cries during these elections. The site does not reflect the party’s actions and voting record. It is professionally designed and provides the gamut of basic information to be expected from political party sites. Once, the site provided a downloadable copy of a report by the U.S. based Kroll detective agency that sets out to prove the falsity of conversations taped in high official’s offices by a former Security Service of Ukraine officer, in which these officials discuss issues of a potentially criminal nature. After the recordings were ascertained to be authentic by a top former FBI agent, the Kroll report mysteriously disappeared from prominence on the site. The accent on Tyhypko content also suggests that the successful banker from Dnipropetrovsk is positioning himself, or being positioned, for the next persidentials.

    Party program: yes


    Party name: Sotsialistychna Partiya Ukrayiny (Socialist Party of Ukraine)

    Top five candidates: Olexandr Moroz, Ivan Bokiy, Yuriy Lutsenko, Valentyna Semeniuk, Ivan Spodarenko.

    URL: www.socinfo.kiev.ua/socinfo.htm

    Languages: Ukrainian

    Features: news, commentaries, interviews, hot line, video section.

    Summary: The Socialist Party site offers coverage of party activities along with detailed information on each of the top five candidates. One innovative feature is a Real Media format video titled “In Commemoration of Heorhiy Gongadze.” Moroz also has a personal site, http://www.moroz.com.ua. Turn up your speakers before visiting this one!

    Party program: yes


    Party name: Ukrayinska Natsionalna Asambleya UNA-UNSO (Ukrainian National Assembly - Ukrainian National-Self Defense Organization)

    Top five candidates: Andriy Shkil, Mykola Karpiuk, Oleh Marchuk, Ruslan Zaychenko, Serhiy Chumak

    URL: www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/5331/index1.htm/

    Languages: Ukrainian, English, German, Spanish, Russian

    Features: news, press-center, media commentary, discussion club, photo album, art-page, contacts, links on Ukrainian history and geo-political strategy.

    Summary: The web-site info is permeated by UNA-UNSO right wing ideology. News coverage is utterly subjective. Besides political information, the page contains links to Ukrainian history, geo-politics and culture pages. Visitors may also subscribe to on-line UNA newsletters. Many of the party’s leading lights have not been able to access their own site over the past eleven months, as they are in jail awaiting trial for incitement to riot in demonstrations that took place in March 2001.

    Party program: yes


    Bloc name: Vyborchyy bloc politychnykh partiy "Bloc Nataliyi Vitrenko" (Electoral Bloc of Political Parties of Nataliya Vitrenko)

    Leader: Nataliya Vitrenko

    URL: www.vitrenko.org

    Languages: Russian

    Features: press-center, photo and video albums, link to the newspaper of the Party "Dosvitni Vohni", Internet conferences.

    Summary: If the public Internet had existed some 30 years ago, probably all Soviet sites would have been akin to the website of Ukraine’s arguably most (in)-famous politician. The total absence of adverts is a definite plus. Clicking on the Leader’s portrait will direct you to a strictly laid out page full of paeans to Alexander Lukashenko and venom aimed at the United States, IMF, NATO and the Socialist leader Oleksander Moroz. Ms. Vitrenko needs a face-lift, however, as the years of Marxist struggle are beginning to tell, and one would have thought that the web-site designers had a pirated copy of Photoshop lying around.

    Party program: yes


    Party name: "Nova Generatsiya Ukrayiny" (New Generation of Ukraine)

    Leader: Yuriy Miroshnichenko

    URL: www.newgeneration.kiev.ua

    Languages: Ukrainian

    Features: news, commentaries, link to the newspaper of the Party "Nova Generatsia", email contacts.

    Summary: The site lacks new ideas in terms of web-design and presentation. To draw attention to the party’s youthful image and ideology, the site has, in addition to standard political news and analysis fare, a Top 20 music listing. This novelty is more likely to help party members find jobs as DJs, not MPs in the new Parliament.

    Party program: yes


    Party name: Ukrayinska Partiya "Yednist" (Unity)

    Leader: Oleksandr Omelchenko

    URL: www.yednist.kiev.ua

    Languages: Ukrainian

    Features: news, media commentary (old version).

    Summary: This site is temporarily “Under Reconstruction.” Party Leader and mayor of Kyiv Omelchenko is known for high volume and speedy public works and reconstruction projects in the center of the capital, so there is every likelihood that this site will be up and running in know time at all as well¸

    Party program: yes


    Party name: Vseukrayinska Partiya "Nova Syla" (New Force)

    Leader: Mykola Kushnirov

    URL: www.novasyla.org.ua

    Languages: Ukrainian

    Features: news, commentaries, email contacts, questionnaire.

    Summary: Party-related info, newsletter subscription, nothing outstanding. The party is not a real player in the coming Parliament election, however the site contains a pleasant picture gallery and a somewhat startling front page (startlingly confused design-wise).

    Party program: yes


    Party name: "Yedyna Rodyna" (Unified Family)

    Top candidates: Oleksander Rzhavskyy, Oleksander Karelin

    URL: www.edina-rodina.org

    Languages: Ukrainian, English, Russian.

    Features: press commentary, forum, polls, questionnaires, photo album, party anthem.

    Summary: A very standard site. All the basic information about this party and its leader is present. The current online poll did not work consistently when tested from a variety of locations, which leads one to wonder whether the content and “responses” are 100 percent accurate.

    Party program: yes


    Party name: "Yabluko" (The Apple)

    Top five candidates: Viktor Chayka, Mykhailo Brodskiy, Rostyslav Mokhovykov, Oleksiy Danilov, Dmytro Vydrin.

    URL: www.yabluko.org.ua

    Languages: Ukrainian

    Features: news, commentary, polls, forum (email, SMS, phone contacts), links to the party newspaper "Yabluko" ("Apple"), photo archive.

    Summary: The site provides an extensive description of the “Apple’s” activities, as well as constantly updated news coverage, analyses, and commentary focusing on media issues. The web-page contains on-line polls and subscriptions, also offering email and SMS contacts. Apples are everywhere, and the party is in some ways a curvy copy of its older, and less populist, Russian cousin. All material is presented in a direct fashion, and the light scent of scandal draws readers’ attention. This site pulls very few punches, which makes for good reading.

    Party program: yes


    The above was provided by
    RCC Political Review
    RCC Political Review


    About RCC Political Review

    RCC Political Review is a new information product devoted to reporting and analyzing political developments in Ukraine. It is currently distributed free-of-charge in electronic format as an e-mail message and A-4 format Word document. Materials published in RCC Political Review may only be reproduced with the consent of the Editorial Board. Upon reproduction, citing and crediting RCC is mandatory.

    To find out more about RCC's research, analysis, writing and reporting services, please contact our new Ukraine office. RCC's new Ukraine office is located at 25/40 Ivana Franka, Suite 20 in Kyiv, Ukraine, 01030. Call us at + 380 (44) 223-63-63, or contact us via e-mail - info@rccpr.com.ua to find out how you can put RCC's experience, know-how and resources to work for you.

    RCC Political Review is produced by the Editorial Board:

    Stephen Bandera, Yarema Bachynsky, Mark Suprun, Lubomyr Kwasnycia, Jerry Dutkewych and Basil Danchuk.

    RCC - the most experienced Western communications firm working in Ukraine.


     

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