I had the chance to meet the Kiev’s faction of Samopomich this week.
Samopomich (Self-Reliance) is a new Ukrainian political party which made 12,9% at the last parliamentary election, and which is led by Andri Sadowy, the major of Lviv. (See my previous post on my meeting in Lviv)
There are in fact so far only two factions in Samopomich party, one in Kiev and one in Lviv. The party is only 2 years old, it has 5 out of the 120 members of the Kiev city parliament. The next municipal vote will take place in October and for the time being the polls are favourable to Samopomich, crediting it with approx. 20% of the vote in Kiev. Last time they made 7%, with a totally new and unknown party.
The 5 Kiev MP of Samopomich works in five different commissions: city governance, budget, e-government, fight against corruption and education. Everything remains to be done here. Ukraine is still very far from being a country of law, it is a country of power. The implementation of a true democratic governance remains a real challenge. Strict balance of power, or separation of powers are still nice wishes. Samapomoich say other political parties are satisfied with only removing some representatives of the old regime, but Samopomich wants much more. They want to change the way the local administration is organised, to establish true governance, clear accountability and control.
This democratic concern is also very much present in the own governance of Samopomich. The party suggests the lists of its candidates, but these lists are then put on Facebook and the web users can modify them, suggest new names, comment some proposed names or change their ranking in the list. This method was already used for the first parliament vote, and the head of the party was put accordingly at the place 50 of the list. And he accepted it. Samopomich will use the same method for the October local votes. Currently the party is suggesting a list of 66 candidates. They are quiet confident that the list will have a success, because it is exactly summarising what Ukrainians want to have today , new people, clean and professionals.
Fight against corruption is key for Samopomich which does not share the recent autocelebration of the current administration. Some laws have been passed, but everything remains to be done. And Ukraine is far from being immune from further and new corruption. As long as they are rumours and no proven facts, my interlocutor did not want to comment the rumours of corruption that we find in the press on the Prime Minister himself.
Since I saw on their site that few members are very close to the Donbass battalion, I wanted to discuss the issue of the battalions of volunteers. I told him that for a western European it is very strange to see the presence of battalions of volunteers along side the Ukrainian Army. In the EU we share the strong believe that only the state can have the monopoly of violence, and that if it is not the case it can lead to disaster or at least very damaging situations. I raised the point of the the Azov battalion and of Pravy Sector, which are openly fascist and are very much damaging the image of Ukraine. First in my views any fascist movement should be forbidden (on the same way that Ukraine just passed a law to forbid promotion of soviet ideology or symbol!…), second when you allow people to fight alongside the official army, yo have to expect seeing them demanding to share the benefits of the victory tomorrow, which is totally unacceptable with fascist. Last but not least you easily feed the anti-Ukrainian propaganda, which from an unacceptable exception build an overall globalisation. My interlocutor was open to European advise on the subject, but unfortunately … Europe totally closes the eyes on this topic… He said that the main reason of being for all these battalions of volunteers is the lack of confidence in the state structures. The Army is highly corrupted and completely inefficient, therefore the willingness to create parallel structures. I should consider that the bulk of these volunteers organisations are not fighting, but dedicated to logistics and humanitarian support in the war area. I have to say that I can only praise the civil involvement of the Ukrainian population in these difficult times, however once again we cannot accept any fascist movement there, because of very obvious and simple political reasons, but also by respect of the millions of people which died specifically in Ukraine because of these criminal ideas.
Civic involvement and initiatives belong to the very core of Samopomich NDA (see my previous post on the subject). Each local office of Samopomich is developing its local initiatives which bring very concrete results for the local population. We find the detail of that on the website (this part is only in Ukrainian).
Samopomich is finally the only Ukrainian party which is very clear on its ideas, the other ones are much more organisations dedicated to one particular charismatic leader, if not dedicated to a specific clan. Samapomich is about building a true democracy, and to give responsibility to the citizens.
The last topic that we quickly discussed is Europe. It was interesting to see that Samopomich does not wait so much from Europe. They naturally really feel as being Europeans, and want to see Ukraine being one day integrated in the EU, but they consider that this is Ukraine’s responsibility to make the way to Europe, to reform and adapt. Here again self-reliance: do not expect Europe to help if you do not first do the job yourself. Samopomich is naturally also very far from all our current internal European debates on the European governance, being totally absorbed by their own agenda.
Samopomich is doing an amazing job at all level, stubborn on the democratic principles and requirements, and infusing a very sound spirit around, in order to create a responsible society. They really deserve to be known and supported! We are Europe!