Communist Party of Ukraine
|Communist Party of Ukraine|
|First Secretary||Petro Symonenko|
|Second Secretary||Igor Alekseyev|
|Parliamentary leader||Petro Symonenko|
|Founded||June 19, 1993|
|Split from||Socialist Party of Ukraine|
|Preceded by||Communist Party of Ukraine of the Soviet Union|
|Youth wing||Komsomol of Ukraine|
|Political position||Left-Wing to Far-Left|
|International affiliation||International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties|
|Continental affiliation||Union of Communist Parties – Communist Party of the Soviet Union|
|Politics of Ukraine
The Communist Party of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Комуністична партія України, Komunistychna Partiya Ukrayiny, or KPU) is a communist party in Ukraine, led by Petro Symonenko. It was a parliamentary party from 1994 till late 2014 after coming 1,12% short to overcome the 5% election threshold in the October 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election and it thus disappeared from (national) parliament for the first time since its existence. Until 2004's Orange Revolution it was the major party of the parliament.
Since the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014, the party has come into conflict with the Ukrainian government due to the party's prominent displays of support for ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych during the Euromaidan protests, involvement with the separatist movement in Eastern Ukraine, as well as the party's pro-Russian government agenda. Two days after Ukrainian parliament changed its regulations regarding the required size of parliamentary groups, the Communist Party of Ukraine faction was dissolved on 24 July 2014.
The General Prosecutor of Ukraine and the Security Service of Ukraine have both filed charges against the Communist Party of Ukraine. The charges against the party include supporting the annexation of Crimea by Russia and "financing terrorism" (i.e. providing support to separatists in Eastern Ukraine), both acts of treason against the Ukrainian state. The trial was set for August 2014 (if found guilty the Ukrainian Communist party was widely expected to become illegal), but a Kiev Court indefinitely postponed the trail early September 2014.
The KPU formally considers itself the direct descendant of the Communist Party of Ukraine, a branch of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), which was founded on 5 July 1918 in Moscow. The original communist party existed until 6 November 1991, when the CPSU and its branch in Ukraine were banned. Between 1991 and 1993, several small communist organizations were created throughout Ukraine. "Without clear legality" communists from all over Ukraine convened on 6 March 1993 for the All-Ukrainian Conference for Communists in an attempt to reestablish the KPU. In reaction the Verkhovna Rada, two months later, legalized the establishment of communist parties. On 19 June 1993, the 1st Congress of the newly founded KPU was convened—officially it was designated as the 29th Congress, to denote it as a direct successor to the Soviet KPU—and it elected Petro Symonenko as First Secretary.
In the 1994 presidential election the KPU supported the candidacy of Oleksandr Moroz from the Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU). The relationship between the KPU and SPU was strong throughout the 1990s, with Moroz even speaking to the 22nd KPU Congress (held in 1999). At the 1998 parliamentary elections the KPU won 121 seats, constituting 19.5% of the seats in the Verkhovna Rada. The good result led the KPU to field their own candidate in the 1999 presidential election; they nominated party leader Symonenko. Symonenko received 23.1 percent of the votes in the first round, trailing behind Leonid Kuchma who received 38,0 percent of the votes. In the second round Symonenko received 38,8 percent, losing to Kuchma who received 57,7 percent of the vote.
In February 2014, the party came out in firm opposition of the Euromaidan (pro-Ukrainian EU integration and anti-President Viktor Yanukovych protests) violence and identified the movement as a "coup" to overthrow the elected government and replace it with a pro-NATO regime, and in an open plea from the First Secretary, called for all communist and left-wing movements around the world to condemn the events as such.
After Yanukovych's ouster, several legislators have talked about the possibility of outlawing the KPU due to its alleged cooperation with pro-Russian separatists; on 6 May, the party was outraged when its parliamentary representatives were expelled from the parliamentary session hall. A week later, Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov threatened to ban the KPU for alleged involvement in the ongoing pro-Russian unrest in the east of the country. On 8 July the Ministry of Justice asked Kiev's District Administrative Court to ban the activity of the party "As a result of a large amount of evidence regarding illegal activities and illegal actions on the part of the Communist Party" (according to Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko). The Party of the European Left and the European United Left–Nordic Green Left grouping in the European Parliament have condemned the ban and declared their solidarity with the KPU. Russia's State Duma denounced the ban too and believed it was "an attempt by the new Kiev authorities to force political and civil forces that do not agree with the path taken by the ultranationalist powers to shut up". The KPU has also received solidarity from the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) in Britain.
On 1 July 2014 six MPs left the Communist Party faction in parliament, reducing it to 23 members. A vote, supported by 232 MPs, on 22 July 2014 gave the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada (the speaker of Ukraine's parliament) the power to dissolve a faction that has lost some of its members compared to the number it had while it was formed during the first parliamentary session after the precious election, pending a signature from President Petro Poroshenko. Later that day Poroshenko signed this bill giving effect to this new parliamentary regulation. The next day speaker (and former Acting President) Turchynov announced the party's impending dissolution and added to MPs "We only have to tolerate this party for another day". The party's faction in parliament was indeed dissolved 24 July 2014 by Turchynov. The same day it was announced that at the time 308 criminal proceedings against members of the party had been opened. Communists were accused of openly supporting the annexation of Crimea by Russia, supporting the creation of self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic and agitating for annexation of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast to Russia. On 4 September the Kiev District Administrative Court indefinitely postponed the hearing about the ban of the party.
The party's participation in the October 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election result was that the party dispersed from national politics since the party won no constituency seats and came 1,12% short to overcome the 5% election threshold. Since previous to its independence Ukraine was an administrative unit of the Communist Soviet Union this means that for the first time since 1918 Communists are not involved in Ukrainian national politics.
In its statute the Communist party claims that "on voluntary basis it unites citizens of Ukraine who are supporters of the Communist idea". The party considers itself a successor of the Communist Party of Ukraine of the Soviet Union and claims that prohibition of that party in August 1991 was unlawful, which was confirmed by the decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine on 27 December 2001. The party sets itself in an opposition to any government and seeks a full restoration of the socialist state in the country without any particular association with any other political parties.
The KPU was established as "the inheritor of the ideas and traditions of the KPU, as it existed until its banning in August 1991." In general, the party has laid weight on nostalgia for the Soviet Union to gain votes. In contrast to many parts of the former Soviet Union, where leftist conservatives have tried to win votes by promoting local nationalism, the KPU supports a form of Soviet nationalism, considering the establishment of an independent Ukraine as illegal. The party has remained loyal to the legacy of the Soviet Union. In 1998, to celebrate the would-be 80th anniversary of the Soviet Union, the KPU published Historical Thesis, a text which painted a rosy picture of the former state. The Soviet Union is barely criticized, and controversial events such as the Great Purge and Holodomor are not mentioned in the party press. There are some who are favorable to Joseph Stalin's legacy, giving the impression that things "only began to go wrong with [Nikita] Khrushchev's 'adventurism'." Despite all this, when the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) is criticized at all, the favored line is that the party and state lost their belief in key Leninist principles. Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union, "is still considered sacrosanct" by the party, and official pronouncements talk of the "Leninist Communist Party of Ukraine" and more precisely, that the KPU still continues "speaking in the words of Lenin".
Symonenko has criticized the label of conservative on the KPU, stating that the party is not willing to abandon its own history. He has referred to the dissolution of the Soviet Union as "the tragic events of the recent past". Further, the KPU believes the Soviet Union "was criminally destroyed". The party believes that Ukraine has been living off the legacy of the Soviet Union since its independence. However, certain concessions to the present have been made; at the 2nd KPU Congress it was stated that "it would be utopian to try and revive a socio-economic system of different relations, which existed in different conditions, under different principles and different organizations of production and distribution, different social-class structures of society, a different level of consciousness".
The party still adheres and believes in the Marxian concepts of class struggle and historical materialism. Their ongoing belief in historical materialism cements their views that the socialist mode of production will still be the society of the future. It could be said that the party believed stronger than ever in the possibility of a socialist future since the "careerists", symbolized by Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kravchuk, were gone.
The KPU believes that, since the West has developed into a post-industrial society, capitalism through globalization was actively "de-modernizing" Ukraine. This was in their favor, since de-modernization would lead to the reestablishment of a dominant proletarian class. As Vasyl Tereshchuk, a former Party theoretician expelled in 2005, noted, "People are surviving on what they accumulated in the years of Soviet power: that is, they are not yet a classic proletariat as they still have much to lose (a flat, a car, a dacha, etc.). But their full proletarianization will come sooner or later." Secondly, the dissolution of the Soviet Union directly led to the reestablishment of class antagonism in society. This antagonism led to the exploitation of the proletariat by "a comprador bourgeoisie [...] behind which stands world imperialism headed by the USA". According to Symonenko, on this basis, there was no chance for a social democratic movement ever to develop in Ukraine. The "softening of class antagonism in the West", which had led to the establishment of social democratic parties, "was only possible because the local working class, as part of the 'golden billion', lived 'as parasites on the labour of the countries of the world periphery' to which Ukraine was rapidly being consigned. Ukraine could not expect any 'lessening of class antagonism, only the reverse." Symonenko appreciates the economical aid and partnership with China, and calls to use Communist Party of China as the example, giving the country back to the working people, and "build our country into a strong country like China".
Views on nationalism
The party, at least in the beginning, is best described as Soviet nationalist (nationalist in the sense that they are nostalgic for the Soviet Union). As Yurii Solomatin, a member of parliament, noted in 2000; "we are Soviet communists; we are Soviet people; we are Soviet patriots". The party continues speaking about the existence of a "Soviet people" and "Soviet homeland", and at the beginning, no concessions were given to local, Ukrainian nationalism. There has been no talk of establishing a national communism unique to Ukraine, and the 1st KPU Congress even criticized the notion of establishing a unique "Ukrainian communism". Instead, the KPU has opted promoting Ukraine as a "bi-cultural state". At the 1st KPU Congress, Symonenko told the delegates that "'the interests, rights and specific traits of one nation above those of other nations and nationalities', and in which 'the Ukrainian language' should not be 'over'-privileged, but left alone to enjoy 'its natural development, purged of the imposed language of the diaspora. The Russian language, as the native language of half the population of Ukraine, [should be given] the status of a state language alongside Ukrainian." Their views on nationalism is highly nostalgic; when the Union of Communist Parties – Communist Party of the Soviet Union (UCP–CPSU), a loose organization of post-Soviet parties was formed, it was met with open arms. However, when the Communist Party of the Russian Federation proposed in 1995, to transform the organization into a modern-day Comintern, the KPU opposed because of their Soviet nationalist views.
In recent years their commitment to Soviet nationalism has been partially replaced with a vaguer East Slavic nationalism. Wishing not to reestablish a union with Russia "'as a protectorate of the Russian bourgeoisie", "the Ukrainian Communists have rediscovered the natural link from Soviet to East Slavic or Eurasian nationalism in the supposed common 'economic civilization' and proclivity for collective labour of all the East Slavic peoples." As noted in the party journal Communist, the "'Soviet man [...] did not emerge from nothing before him stood the courageous Slavic-Rusich, the labour-loving Ukrainian peasant, the self-sacrificing Cossack." At the 4th KPU Congress, the party finally conceded that Ukraine would not join any particular union as long as it weakened the country's sovereignty.
Because of these views, Symonenko has been referred to as an Ukrainophobe. Symonenko made controversy in 2007 when he accused the Ukrainian nationalist figure Roman Shukhevych of collaborationism with the Nazi Germany, for which the Pechersk District Court of Kiev city declared Symonenko's statement as false and obligated Symonenko publicly to disprove the "myth", and pay all court fees. These views are commonplace amongst Western Historians, linking Shukhevych to the Waffen-SS Nachtigall Battalion.
Popular support and electoral results
The electorate of the party is very loyal to them.
|Presidency of Ukraine|
|Election year||Candidate||First Round||Second Round|
| % of
| % of
In 1994, the party was part of the Coalition of Left Parties that voted for Oleksandr Moroz.
In the 2014 Ukrainian presidential election Symonenko initially again ran as a candidate of his party, but he withdrew from the race on 16 May. The Central Election Commission was unable to remove from the ballot his name because he withdrew from the race after the deadline of 1 May 2014. Hence, in the election he still received 1.51% of the vote.
The first ten members on the party list were: Petro Symonenko (MP), Omelian Parubok (MP), Anatoliy Nalyvaiko (tunneler of the Karl Marks Mine (Yenakieve)), Borys Oliynyk (MP), Valeria Zaklunna-Myronenko (actress of the Lesya Ukrainka Theater (Kiev)), Adam Martynyuk (the 2nd secretary of the Central Committee of CPU), Anatoliy Draholyuntsev (mechanic-electrician at Luhanskteplovoz), Vasyl Sirenko (Koretsky Institute of State and Law (NANU), unaffiliated), Borys Molchanov (tool craftsman at Dniproshyna), Anatoliy Strohov (pensioner).
At the parliamentary elections on 30 March 2002, the party won 19.98% of the popular vote and 66 out of 450 seats in the Verkhovna Rada. The first ten members on the party list were: Petro Symonenko (MP), Omelian Parubok (MP), Ivan Herasymov (Head of the Veterans of Ukraine Organization, unaffiliated), Borys Oliynyk (MP), Valeria Zaklunna-Myronenko (MP), Adam Martynyuk (MP), Stanislav Hurenko (MP), Oleksandr Tkachenko (MP), Anatoliy Nalyvaiko (MP), Oleh Blokhin (MP, unaffiliated).
Since then the party lost much support, particularly after the Orange Revolution. In the 2006 parliamentary election the party won 3.66% and 21 seats. The first ten members on the party list were: Petro Symonenko (MP), Adam Martynyuk (MP), Ivan Herasymov (MP), Kateryna Samoilyk (MP), Omelian Parubok (MP), Valeria Zaklunna-Myronenko (MP), Oleksandr Holub (MP), Valentyn Matvyeyev (MP), Oleksandr Tkachenko (MP), Petro Tsybenko (MP).
In the parliamentary elections on 30 September 2007, the party won 5.39% of the popular vote and 27 out of 450 seats. The first ten members on the party list were: Petro Symonenko (MP), Yevhen Volynets (tunneler of the Vasily Chapayev Mine (Shakhtarsk)), Maryna Perestenko (Head of the Mars farm (Simferopol Raion)), Ivan Herasymov (MP), Yuriy Haidayev (Minister of Healthcare, unaffiliated), Adam Martynyuk (1st deputy Chairman of parliament), Valeriy Bevz (Deputy Minister of Emergencies), Oleksandr Tkachenko (MP), Oleksandr Holub (MP), Ihor Aleksyeyev (MP).
The party participated in the 2010 presidential election as part of the Election bloc of left and central left political forces.
In the 2012 Ukrainian parliamentary election the party won 13.18% of the national votes, and no constituencies (it had competed in 220 of the 225 constituencies), and thus 32 seats. The party did win about one and a half million more votes compared with the results of the previous election. Independent candidate Oksana Kaletnyk joined the Communist parliamentary faction on 12 December 2012. Importance of Oksana Kaletnyk joining Communists was due to parliamentary regulations on obtaining its own parliamentary factions which required to have at least one deputy who came to parliament by winning a constituency. Oleh Tyahnybok tried to challenge the creation of Communist faction, but on 30 January 2013 the Higher Administrative Court of Ukraine declined his petition. Kaletnyk left the faction (at her own request) on 29 May 2014. The first ten members on the party list were: Petro Symonenko (MP), Petro Tsybenko (MP), Iryna Spirina (Head of Psychiatric Department (Dnipropetrovsk Medical Academy)), Spiridon Kilinkarov (MP), Oleksandr Prysyazhnyuk (unemployed), Ihor Aleksyeyev (MP), Ihor Kalyetnik (Head of the State Customs Service of Ukraine), Adam Martynyuk (1st deputy Chairman of parliament), Valentyn Matvyeyev (MP), Yevhen Marmazov (MP).
The first ten members on the party list for the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election are: Petro Symonenko (MP), Adam Martynyuk (MP), Kateryna Samoylyk (senior), Vasyl Sirenko (Koretsky Institute of State and Law, non-partisan), Petro Tsybenko (MP), Ihor Aleksyeyev (MP), Serhiy Hordiyenko (MP), Yevhen Marmazov (MP), Spiridon Kilinkarov (MP), Serhiy Khrapov (unemployed).
- March - December 2007 Yuriy Haidayev Ministry of Healthcare (Ukraine) (Second Government of Yanukovych)
- Yuriy Haidayev is officially unaffiliated, but on the party list to parliament from the Communist Party
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- Articles & journal entries
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Communist party of Ukraine.|
- (Ukrainian) (Russian) Official website