Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko leads the presidential race with 15.9 percent, according to a poll released on Friday. The election in Ukraine will happen next year.
President-in-Office Pyotr Poroshenko is behind Tymoshenko, the right-wing Party leader of the Al Ukrainian Union Fatherland Party (Батьківщина), with a 6.6 percentage point lead, according to a poll conducted by the Ukrainian research center in Sofia.
She is running on a platform equally as jingoistic as Poroshenko, but emphasizing the need for a political process to end the conflict, and towards a ‘just peace’ with Russia. In her campaign to ‘sue for peace’, she does not specify per se that Ukraine must cede its territory, but rather exploits a combination of various criticisms levied against Poroshenko ranging from corruption, to the abuse or lack of concern for both soldiers and veterans of the conflict, as well as other real-existing problems in Ukrainian society.
The situation in Ukraine is so bad, and Poroshenko has become such the object of the common person’s vitriol, that many have in fact forgiven or forgotten the significant corruption scandals that revolved around Tymoshenko’s last stint as head of government.
Another angle is the possible connection to support from Trump, who reportedly is not fond of Poroshenko, whose entire network of relations to the U.S revolves around neoconservative figures whom Trump is allegedly at war with. Trump appears to be engaged in a long conflict with some figures of the military industrial complex, deep state, and figures in the Democrat Party who are ‘overly invested’ in the current catastrophe in Ukraine. Trump instead seems to want to focus on creating a better relationship with Russia on the condition that they lessen support for Iran and China.
Former energy minister Yuriy Boyko comes in third with 8.8% of the vote. Former head of defense Anatoliy Hrytsenko was fourth with 8.2% of the vote, while rock star Svyatoslav Vakarchuk is at the bottom with 7.9%.
Ukrainians will go to the polls as early as the spring between March and as late as June to elect a new president. Poroshenko has not yet announced his candidacy for a second term. An earlier poll by the Kiev Institute of Sociology gave Tymoshenko an even greater advantage of 7.4% over the current president of the country.
The Sofia poll also identified six parties that would have a chance to gain seats within a year. The next elections for the Ukrainian parliament are not expected before next fall in the country, towards the end of the year.
Tymoshenko’s party received the projection of to gain 15.7% of the vote, followed by Boyko’s opposition bloc with 9%. Already the block of President Poroshenko, led by boxer Vitali Klitschko, would have 8.7% of the vote.
Meanwhile, Friday marks150 days since the arrest in Kiev of Kirill Vyshinsky, head of the news portal RIA Novosti Ukraine. Journalists gathered at the headquarters of Rossiya Segodnya in Moscow to show solidarity with colleague.
About 100 journalist colleagues raised a large banner with the portrait of Vyshinsky and the hashtag #TruthNotTreason with dark lines in the background, symbolizing the arrest and violation of freedom of expression in Ukraine, where the journalist was accused of treason for expressing a contradictory opinion that of the Ukrainian authorities.
“Kirill is a prisoner of conscience detained for his professional activity and I hope there will be increasing pressure on the Ukrainian authorities to create a situation where it is impossible to keep our friend and colleague in prison,” said Rossiya Segodnya, director general of the agency, Dmitry Kiselev.
Kiselev hopes the international community of journalists will help. The action demonstrated today may not resolve the case, he added, but “there will be hundreds.”