Desperation drives Ukrainian support for candidate Zelensky

Zelensky is rather the Ukrainian anti-Navalny

By Andrey Manchuk

April 19: An expert of fashion site The Hill compared Poroshenko’s struggle against Zelensky with the conflict of Putin against Navalny. It has long been known that the word “expert” often amounts to something like a clinical diagnosis in the former USSR. But, nevertheless, it would be worth briefly clarifying this issue for both Ukrainian and Russian audiences. 

In fact, the situation is exactly the opposite. Mass support of Vladimir Zelensky is just a public response to the victory of the collective Navalny which took place in Ukraine five years ago as a result of Euromaidan. Yes, the situation in the two neighboring countries has its differences. But the political logic of the post-Soviet reaction is such that a victorious Navalny — no matter what this is development was called — would do something similar to what the “Maidan team” did: reinforce the antisocial reforms already under way dictated by international financial organizations, conduct deindustrialization and proclaim the dependent status of their country.

And most importantly, he would implement the ideological policy of anti-communism, which was the cementing factor of the unification of the Ukrainian ultra-right and liberals, and is doomed to become the same link between the Russian opposition and the guardians of the patriotic-clerical camp, who equally consider the heritage of the hammer and sickle to be the cause of all society’s ills. Moreover, it provides an opportunity to destroy the left opposition, suppress social protest and distract people from their real problems with endless mantras about Bolshevik horrors that will flow from the mouth of the new Svanidze.

So, following the victory of this collective Navalny (whatever its name), the opposition political field was completely cleaned out in Ukraine, from which not only left-wing but all serious candidates who dared to resist the authorities disappeared — including yesterday’s favorites, like Savchenko or Saakashvili. As a result, Ukrainians support Zelensky not because they see him as an honest, democratic and progressive candidate, or have any substantial sympathies towards him — but because they see in this support the only hope for a change in the status quo.

It’s not surprising that a lot of people in Ukraine will vote for him who in Russia would be among the opponents of Navalny. Chekalkin, a notable defender of the status quo, pointedly published the electoral map of Kiev yesterday, showing that in the first round Poroshenko was supported by residents of the rich neighborhoods, while the “Uralvagonzavod” on the outskirts spoke in favor of his opponent.

In this sense, Zelensky can be called the Ukrainian anti-Navalny. Or, to be more precise, he himself is a product of the pro-Western Ukrainian regime — which, in general, explains all the contradictions and paradoxes associated with the figure of this showman who has risen to the heights of politics.


Translated by Greg Butterfield

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