Yuriy Boyko, the presidential candidate from pro-Kremlin political force 'Opposition Platform-For Life', held a speech at this party's convention in Kyiv. He voiced out some of the major provisions of his program, as he's running for the presidency in March 2019.
'I sincerely thank you for the given trust. I'll apply all efforts to justify it, and I will see to it that you'd not be ashamed for our today's decision so that we would win'.
'The convention of the ruling party took place simultaneously with ours. It seems symbolic to me. But that's all we have in common because we stand for peace while they've been promoting war for five years in a row. We stand for the unification of the entire country, and they divide our society by religion, language and war. We support reducing social tariffs, while they plan to increase the prices this spring. We are the only alternative to this destruction. We are the creators, and I congratulate you on that', he said.
Boyko stressed that his priorities would be 'to stop the bloody opposition in eastern Ukraine', 'to stop the poverty'. 'We will immediately go for direct negotiations [with Russia] for reaching peace in the state; that's the first thing we do after the victory', the politician claimed.
He also added that another important provision would be canceling of the medical reform. 'The government will provide the citizens of Ukraine with the accessible and high-quality medical service, according to the Constitution', he said.
Boyko also insisted on the revision of the pension reform. 'The law enforcers will be protecting people instead of protecting the authority from its own citizens', he added, speaking of the order and security issues.
'We'll implement a clear and solid action plan. We're sure about our forces and assets (...) The future of our country and the fate of Ukrainians depend on all of us. We've got clear goals and tasks, and, most importantly, the support of millions of our citizens who trust in us. The future is ours. We will prevail!', he said.
Earlier, Boyko was officially registered as the candidate for the presidency during the upcoming election.
He is a Ukrainian politician, former Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, and a former Minister of Fuel and Energy of Ukraine (in three Cabinets; in 2006-2007, 2010, and 2012-2014). He is well-known for his firm pro-Russian position, claiming that one of the key points of this electoral program would be 'direct negotiations with Russia', which he believes would help bring an end to the ongoing Donbas conflict.
On 17 November 2018, 'Opposition platform - For Life' party nominated Boyko as its candidate in the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election. Because it was not yet registered as a party in January 2019 it could not nominate him as a presidential candidate. Hence on January 17, Boyko submitted documents to the CEC for registration as a self-nominated candidate.
The voting day is scheduled for March 2019.
Previously, Boyko belonged to the Party of Regions, the pro-Kremlin political force, which is currently disbanded. When the party lost the authority in early 2014, the politician joined the newborn 'Opposition Bloc', along with many of his allies from the Party of Regions.
In late 2013, the-then Ukrainian president and the government decided to delay the signing of EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. That resulted in the birth of Euromaidan, the all-Ukraine movement for the integration with the EU and NATO. The brutal actions of the law enforcers that crashed down a peaceful rally eventually led to human casualties. Eventually, the Revolution of Dignity prevailed in February 2014, toppling the government. President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country. The former Cabinet and the leading political figures, including Boyko, stayed low-profile for a while. However, Boiko and other members of that party made it to the next roster of the Ukrainian Parliament, which created legal grounds for them to vote for the laws and to join the presidential election campaign.