At the beginning of May, the MP and one of the leaders of the Opposition Bloc found himself at the epicenter of the scandal regarding the concert of the TV channel “Inter” on May 9. Recall, a fragment of the concert that got into the network the day before sparked a stormy reaction, including, nationalist organizations. During the concert, the hosts were talking about the renaming of streets in Ukraine “named after fascist criminals”.
After that, under the buildings of the TV channel “Inter”, protests in Kyiv were organized, in particular, by the National Corps party, demanding the withdrawal of “propaganda statements”. On May 10, activists of this political force came to the unfinished house near Kyiv of the co-owner of “Inter” Lovochkin, and even broke into his territory.
Although it is worth noting that on TV channel “Inter” Lovochkin mainly controls the information block, and the production of entertainment content is regulated by businessman Dmytro Firtash, who is located in Vienna forcedly.
Control over the information policy of one of the country’s largest television channels is one of the means of influence that keeps Lovochkin in the political life of Ukraine. This influence is very significant.
In a short interview with RBC-Ukraine, Lovochkin told about the situation regarding “Inter”, the political prospects of the leaders of the presidential race and his vision of the upcoming election campaigns.
- Let’s start with the situation with “Inter”. How can you explain the reaction of the “National Corps” to the scandalous concert on May 9?
- Political struggle. Radical nationalists try to increase their ratings through a demonstration of strength. However, in the upcoming elections people will not vote for strength, people will vote for an intellect that will propose the path of peace and development – a hope for a better future.
- In your opinion, does the “National Corps” have political prospects?
- They will be able to get into the parliament only in two cases. The first is if the entry barrier decreases to 2%. The second is if the politically strong South-East is reborn.
In case of the unification of the political forces of the South-East, such a party or union will obtain more than 30% votes in the parliamentary elections, and then, in opposition to this party, radical nationalists can overcome the current barrier.
- How do you assess the situation and ratings on the eve of the presidential elections and the latest actions of Poroshenko?
- The president certainly hopes to be the winner in the upcoming elections, but the authorities are in time trouble. Ratings are low – this explains the current often little-understood political fuss. However, I am convinced that, for example, the issues of church life, church structure should be excluded from the political agenda. Attacks on the canonical church must be completely stopped.
In addition, for today the authorities have not decided on a single candidate for the presidency, so the future of the current parliamentary coalition is under a big question. This explains the empty agenda of the parliament.
- You have touched on the church theme. In your opinion, is there any chance of achieving autocephaly?
- There is a meme “Byzantine policy”. It means an extreme multi-vector, centrism and slow decision-making. On this bases, the granting of autocephaly, especially under pressure and with the threat of strengthening the split of Orthodoxy, is unlikely in the foreseeable future.
- Let's go back to the elections. What do you think about the chances of Anatoliy Grytsenko?
- I consider, if Grytsenko is supported by Vakarchuk, Sadovyi, Saakashvili from Amsterdam, and he can unite “democratic kids”, then he has good chances.
- That is, will he win in the second round with Yulia Tymoshenko?
- For today, Tymoshenko is the leader of the race, but Gritsenko can defeat any of the opponents in the second round. If we talk about the second round, I believe that there will be a single candidate from the South-East in the person of Yuriy Boyko.
- Do you believe that Yuriy Boyko has a chance to win?
“H’s got significant support in the South-East and a good basis for growth in Central Ukraine. It is important to inform voters that Yuriy Boyko is the only candidate who, if elected, will be able to bring peace, establish order and restore the economy in a short time.
- Is there a unity on the issue of the presidential candidate in the Opposition Bloc? For example, at the beginning of May we saw outdoor advertising of both Vadym Novynskyi and Oleksandr Vilkul.
“We will have to make this decision.”
- At what expense will peace be achieved quickly?
- First of all, through the implementation of the Minsk agreements. For the sake of peace, the Opposition Bloc is ready to take part in direct negotiations with Russia and representatives of unrecognized “republics”. For us, achieving peace is an absolute priority. Only peace will bring the unification of the country and the improvement of people’s lives. Along with the issue of peace, the Opposition Bloc sets its priorities to fight poverty, effective economic management, decentralization of power, the restoration of historical justice and, of course, the development of democracy.
- You said about Boyko as a single candidate from the South-East. However, there is also “For Life” and Vadym Rabinovych with Yevhen Muraev.
- The probability of unification in our political field is very high. In this case, the Opposition Bloc with satellites will become the leader of political sympathies: the total support of such an association will be the highest in the country.
- One of the most realistic options for the election results is the victory of Yulia Tymoshenko. What is the Opposition Bloc’s the position in this case?
- It all depends on what program Tymoshenko will propose. I am impressed when she talks about the inadmissibility of external governance, economic patriotism, the fight against poverty, the reforms that have now completely stopped, the need to reduce tariffs and review the current bondage conditions of interaction with the IMF. I see a lot of rational in this.
However, the main thing is not promises, which we have heard a lot. The main thing is what values the newly elected president will promote. We want to ensure that there was no corruption, persecutions of mass-media and political reprisals in Ukraine. We will fight for the victory of our candidate.
- You have said about repressions against the media. What do you mean?
- My conviction that journalists, even in case of unacceptable activities from the point of view of the authorities, can be expelled from the country, but not deprived of their liberty. Journalists must not be imprisoned for their professional activities.
- Will the Opposition Bloc vote for the draft law on strengthening responsibility for buying votes in elections proposed by the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Arsen Avakov?
- We are ready to vote for laws that will make the election process more honest and transparent and in the first place – for a proportional system on open lists.
- How do you assess the probability of carrying out a constitutional reform with the transfer of a significant part of the power from the president to the parliament and the government, for which, for example, the People’s Front is actively advocating?
- Constitutional reform with the transition to a parliamentary republic is one of the main political priorities of the Opposition Bloc. This is our consistent position. Until recently, there were two opportunities for constitutional reform: through a referendum and through a parliamentary vote. After the abolition of the law on the referendum by the Constitutional Court, there is only one way – through the Verkhovna Rada. However, I do not think that it is possible to collect 300 votes before the elections.
Nevertheless, constitutional reform must be promoted. It can become not only an important element of the country’s development, but also a mechanism for achieving peace in the East and restoring the unity of the country.
- In your opinion, how effective is the current anti-corruption system in the country?
- So far, there is no effective fight against corruption and, no less important, street crime. It is often replaced by political PR. Moreover, the confrontation of law enforcement agencies with each other undermines the already low confidence of society.
Serhiy Scherbina, Editor-in-Chief, RBC-UkraineFollow @serhiylovochkin