Any large financial and industrial group just cannot survive without its own faction, because then random persons or groups make lobby, and it is necessary to negotiate each time again. So it happened with oligarch Viktor Pinchuk and his Holos party. Now the rating of this political force is within the limits of statistical error. Instead of being the locomotive of the pinch projections, the fraction is lagging off the pace.
The leader’s change did not help either: Kira Rudyk, seizing the baton from Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, did not entail a global revolution. And it’s better to say evolution, which would bring Holos to a new level. So now Pinchuk could (and even should) start creating a new political force.
Sentsov and quarantine: pause or cancel?
Soon after the release of Oleg Sentsov from a Russian prison in the fall of 2019, there was information that he would become the core around which Pinchuk would rotate his new project. It seemed that everything was going according to the scheme of Nadia Savchenko: the famous Kremlin prisoner + his ambitious media support = a new powerful leader. However, Savchenko has reset her rating, but that was already at the end of the story. Whereas the beginning of her adventures in big politics resembled the start of Sentsov.
The latter was invited as a guest to Pinchuk’s TV channels, taken to Davos, presented at the events of the Renaissance Foundation. And even more: starting in 2019, the name of Sentsov began to be included in opinion polls, measuring his rating along with the rating of other politicians. All this no longer resembled Savchenko, but rather Volodymyr Zelensky, who took a step on Bankova directly from the TV screen.
But then everything gradually waned. In his (cinematic) field, Oleg Sentsov is still active, he is busy preparing for the shooting of a new film. Sentsov does not remain indifferent to events in the country and the world, from time to time criticizing the power in social networks. But all this taken together no longer resembles the preparation for the election. Perhaps due to quarantine?
"Sentsov is pausing for now. There would be more certainty by the end of the year when it will become more obvious whether the authorities are doing their job or not. And then Pinchuk will begin working with ex-PM Honcharuk, former prosecutor general Ryaboshapka, Sentsov... He will scratch the top five and may put Sentsov at the head of the list. He has good international fame," says Vadym Karasiov, director of the Institute for Global Strategies.
"Politicians’ interest in him has actually fallen somewhat because he will no longer be useful at these elections. The coronavirus and war pose new challenges. And Sentsov, perhaps, is not very interested in big politics - he is more interested in creativity," political scientist Kyrylo Sazonov says.
Ruslan Bortnyk, director of the Ukrainian Institute for Analysis and Policy Management, does not agree with him: "All projects are currently in an inoperative state, so it’s hard to say what's with Sentsov, but I think for Pinchuk, this is not the end of the story yet" he says.
Head of the Third Sector Center Andriy Zolotariov notes, "since they are not in a hurry to promote Sentsov, this is perhaps not a promising figure from a political and technological point of view."
Two on one push-bicycle
But even permanent failures do not mean that Pinchuk will not make new attempts to acquire a reliable lobby in parliament.
It's just too early to talk about him, said Bogdan Petrenko, deputy director of the Ukrainian Institute for the Study of Extremism. “Today, no one has yet reached the start of the elections - it’s too early. Yes, and the coronavirus is not over, and you can’t carry out a campaign without meeting people,” Petrenko is convinced.
Kyrylo Sazonov believes that with all the external similarities of circumstances, joining Honcharuk and Ryaboshapka into one political force is not worth it. They are different, and their fates will be different.
“But in the end, what can they both promise the voter? Combating corruption?” he adds. “Therefore, Honcharuk and Ryaboshapka are hardly interesting to Pinchuk. He is pragmatic and will not drag the doomed. He will either bet on those who are definitely going to the Rada, or try to come to an agreement with the already formed leaders."
Sazonov, by the way, believes that Pinchuk has not abandoned his Holos project. Even despite the indecently low rating of the latter. Because the rating before the next election may grow, and the party already has a number of tactical advantages over those projects that will only be created.
Holos is an all-Ukrainian party with a network of extensive party organizations (in particular, in Western Ukraine), and yet it has its own media resources plus ideology. What can’t you say, for example, about Ryaboshapka, who at best is known only in Kyiv," Sazonov emphasizes.
Unexpected turn right
Ruslan Bortnyk does not agree with the fact that Pinchuk traditionally supports mainly liberal projects. "Theoretically, Pinchuk might support Honcharuk with Ryaboshapka, but he might be also interested in the right segment," Bortnyk says.
“Conservatism and isolationism have come for a long time. Countries are closing down and revising their liberal policies. The longer and more difficult the world is to get out of the epidemic, the more significant will be the conservative movements with their state protectionism and the rejection of liberalism,” states Bortnyk.
Sazonov recalls: in isolation business would not only have disadvantages but also advantages – forcing the state to support its citizens and its products and in moving away from globalism.
However, in the end, all these subtleties will mean little, because "the Ukrainian voter, unfortunately, did not learn how to think in the elections. He chooses a bright picture, and under his alluring wrapper (new faces, fresh projects) they slip a toxic sweetie," says Ruslan Bortnyk.