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Lesson 15

Politics

Author: Vladislav Rublenko

Political life in Ukrainian lands originated long ago and was virtually unchanged. Until the twentieth century, not all ordinary people were participants in political life. Only in the twentieth century, everyone receives a political right. Political life regulated the internal and external relations of the state, which at one time existed on the territory of modern Ukraine.

The peculiarity of political life was that they decided on issues such as: with whom to have friendly relations and with whom to fight for their own freedom, dignity, security, and independence.

Political life in the Ukrainian lands has always been accompanied by democracy and democratic decision-making, regardless of whether it was a chamber, a Cossack council, or a meeting in a building.

Beginning with the Cossacks and ending today in Ukrainian lands, political life is associated with the internal political struggle of the current government against the opposition, which often defended personal interests and not the interests of the state or its citizens.

The first president of Ukraine is Leonid Kravchuk

The first president since independence.

During the presidency of Leonid Kravchuk (1991-1994), a monopoly and administrative-command system of government prevailed in Ukraine. There was an escalation of the confrontation between the legislative and executive branches of the central government, the conservatism of power.

As President of Ukraine, on December 7-8, 1991, he signed the Bialowieza Agreement on the Liquidation of the USSR and the Establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

In March and April 1994, parliamentary elections were held for the first time on a multiparty basis. 32 political parties participated in the elections, 14 of which won the right to be represented in the Verkhovna Rada.

The Communist, Socialist, and Peasant parties were the most successful. Ukraine became a member of the IMF and in foreign policy focused on the Russian Federation. The political crisis between the President and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has begun.

The second President of Ukraine is Leonid Kuchma

He was remembered for his adoption by parliament in 1996 with his participation in the Constitution of Ukraine and the introduction of the hryvnia.

During the presidency of Leonid Kuchma (1994-2004), the Constitution of Independent Ukraine was adopted, the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with Russia was concluded, multi-vector foreign policy began, censorship and restrictions on freedom of speech began, and the political crisis between the President and Verkhovna Rada ended.

The only president in the history of Ukraine who ruled the country for two terms. He won the election twice in the second round.

The third President of Ukraine is Viktor Yushchenko

On November 21, 2004, the Central Election Commission announced the preliminary results of the second round of the presidential election. According to them, Viktor Yanukovych should become President, bypassing his opponent in the presidential race Viktor Yushchenko. However, international observers said the vote count was incorrect.

Viktor Yushchenko became the first Ukrainian President to come to power due to mass protests during the Orange Revolution, a protest against mass fraud in the 2004 election in favor of his main rival, Viktor Yanukovych. Viktor Yushchenko's supporters took to the streets of Ukrainian cities with orange flags, claiming mass fraud. The orange color became a sign of demonstrators due to Viktor Yushchenko's presidential campaign, and various paraphernalia was distributed in the same color – ribbons, clothes, and accessories.

During his rule, a new version of the Constitution of Ukraine came into force, with significantly weakened powers of the president and a more substantial role of parliament.

Viktor Yushchenko was the first Ukrainian President to dissolve the Verkhovna Rada, and early elections were held in 2007.

During Viktor Yushchenko's presidency (2004-2009), there were two political crises in 2007 and 2008.

During the political crisis of 2007, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine opposed the President of Ukraine. During the political crisis of 2008, the "pro-presidential coalition" disintegrated.

The political crises of 2007 and 2008 ended with early elections to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. In foreign policy, there were "gas wars" and strained relations with the Russian Federation.

Viktor Yushchenko has been pushing for a NATO Membership Action Plan and was one step away from it in the summer of 2008.

Also, in 2008, Yushchenko tried to obtain a tomos on the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church, which was unsuccessful.

And back in 2008, Yushchenko began a dialogue with the EU on obtaining a visa-free regime for Ukraine.

The fugitive President is Viktor Yanukovych

During the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych (2010-2014), Ukraine pursued a multi-vector foreign policy, in which a significant place was given to the Russian Federation and rapprochement with the EU. Viktor Yanukovych refused to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as states independent of Georgia.

During Viktor Yanukovych's presidency, the principle of "nepotism" and "kinship" became relevant in political life.

The only President of Ukraine who fled the country was removed from office by parliament. He lacked a few days to four years of rule.

Viktor Yanukovych is the only President in the history of Ukraine who was convicted in his youth and imprisoned for criminal offenses.

As of January 13, 2016, ex-President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych topped the ranking of the most corrupt people in the world.

President Yanukovych was best remembered for the bloody events on the Maidan, when more than 100 people were killed in an attempt to disperse protesters by force in February 2014.

The revolution of dignity

On November 21, 2013, one and a half thousand people came to the square to protest against the fact that pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign a document that the state had been working on for years: the agreement on Ukraine's associate membership in the European Union. On November 30, several hundred activists, mostly students, continued to remain on the streets. Police brutally dispersed them. In response, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in central Kyiv on December 1. Police arbitrariness has brought together people neglected by corruption, usurpation of power, Russification policies, and rapprochement with Russia.

European integration slogans gave the continuous rally the name Euromaidan. Having become a project of a complete renewal of the state system, it was called the Revolution of Dignity. People demanded to punish those responsible for the pogrom of the protesters.

On the 61st day of the Maidan, the first two activists were shot dead at the protest site. At that time, there were already two dead outside the confrontation. For exactly another month, the authorities will try to clear the city center of protesters. It was not until the night of February 22, 2014, that President Yanukovych fled to Russia on a charter flight. 107 victims of the Revolution of Dignity have been officially identified. Most of the "Heavenly Hundred" heroes died of gunshot wounds on February 20, 2014.

Mezhyhirya

Mezhyhirya is a former private residence of Viktor Yanukovych in the village of Novi Petrivtsi, Vyshhorod district, Kyiv region, which he occupied from 2002 to 2014. The large-scale natural complex "Mezhyhirya" with an area of 137 hectares, is a "must visit" for many Ukrainians.

After Viktor Yanukovych's escape, journalists and politicians called Mezhyhirya a symbol of presidential-scale corruption and a museum of corruption.

The residence was founded in 1935 on the site of the ancient Mezhyhirya Savior-Transfiguration Monastery, known since the XII century. Since 2002, Mezhyhirya has been Viktor Yanukovych's residence. The complex includes clubhouse "Honka", the old house of Yanukovych, guest house "Putin's house", landing stage "Galeon", sports complex, spa center, golf club, yacht club, garage with car collection, zoo, dog center, a huge park with artificial lakes.

Since February 2014, the Mezhyhirya residence has been open for access. There are walking tours with a visit to "Honka" and the health complex, sightseeing tours by electric car. You can rent a bicycle at the entrance. La Petite Ecurie Equestrian Club offers horse riding lessons and carriage rides. There are barbecues and coffee shops on the territory of the complex.

The residence is famous for its fleet of collectible cars. It houses 35 vintage cars and 7 motorcycles – for example, ZIL 2009. There are only three of them in the world.

Currently, the territory of "Mezhyhirya" is open to everyone, but you will have to pay for the entrance. Legally, this is a "charitable contribution" so that the estate's territory can be kept in good condition.

The fifth President of Ukraine is Petro Poroshenko

The only President of Ukraine who won the election in all regions of Ukraine where voting took place.

During the presidency of Petro Poroshenko (2014-2019), Ukraine was forced to wage a military struggle against the military aggression of the Russian Federation in eastern Ukraine. He pursued a policy of "lustration" against the authorities of President Viktor Yanukovych.

He tried to fight corruption and oligarchs and successfully carried out reforms of decentralization and decommunization. Achieved a visa-free regime for Ukraine from EU countries. He focused on the EU, the United States, and Canada in foreign policy.

Petro Poroshenko signed an Association Agreement with the EU, and during his presidency, Ukraine met the requirements for a visa-free regime, and it came into force.

Ukraine suspended the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with Russia on his initiative.

He also initiated the enshrinement in the Constitution of Ukraine of the course for accession to NATO and the EU.

Petro Poroshenko lobbied for establishing a local Orthodox church in Ukraine independent of Moscow and for the Ecumenical Patriarch to receive a tomos on autocephaly, which even mentions his name.

The current President of Ukraine is Volodymyr Zelensky

On May 20, 2019, Volodymyr Zelensky was sworn in as President of Ukraine.

"Good actor" became the most famous politician in the world.

He began his career by participating in the KVK (“Club of the Funny and Inventive”) in the teams "Zaporizhzhya – Kryvyi Rih – Transit", "National Team of Kryvyi Rih" and "95th Quarter", the last of which Volodymyr Zelensky was captain, actor, and author of most issues. In 2003 after leaving the KVK, his team "95th Quarter" began to give concerts on television. As "Studio Quarter-95" in 2005, the team created a show, "Evening Quarter", in which Volodymyr Zelenskyy appears as an ideologue, author, director, and lead actor.

During 2015-2018, Volodymyr Zelensky played the role of Vasyl Holoborodko in the TV series "Servant of the People" – a history teacher who is elected President of Ukraine. The TV series has been repeatedly accused of political advertising, and the first three episodes of the third season of the series were released just before the first round of the 2019 presidential election, in which Volodymyr Zelensky participated as a nominee of the TV series "Servant of the People" and won the most votes.

After winning the second round of elections, he was elected President of Ukraine.

During the presidency of Volodymyr Zelensky (2019), there was a domestic political struggle of opposition forces against the current government. In foreign policy, Ukraine has tense relations with the Russian Federation and seeks to join the EU and NATO.

External relations are pro-European and pro-American, which causes negative actions of the Russian authorities towards Ukraine – continued occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk regions, the full-scale war against Ukraine in 2022.

According to numerous world media, Zelensky took on a role almost no one expected from him.

How did the three months of full-scale war change Volodymyr Zelensky? "Good actor" became the most famous politician in the world.

During the three months of the war, according to the UN (the minimum estimate), nearly 4,000 civilians have died in Ukraine, and more than 4,000 have been injured. Dozens of Ukrainian towns and villages were affected by the shelling. Some of them, like Mariupol, are almost completely destroyed.

Before the war, the West believed Kyiv would be taken in a few days. And in Russia, it was claimed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would flee the capital. But three months have passed, and neither Volodymyr Zelensky nor his family has left Ukraine. Kyiv has survived, Ukraine is struggling, and Zelensky is one of the world's most famous politicians.

Zelensky himself spoke about these changes as follows: “I became older, I grew old from all this wisdom, which I never wanted. This is knowledge about the number of dead and the torture committed by Russian soldiers. That's the wisdom”.

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It is an opportunity to both elect presidents and "demolish" them.

Lesson 16

Outstanding figures and science

Lesson 16