Three lesser candidates standing for president in next January's election appeared in an interesting and lengthy 'Shuster Live' TV program last Friday. Representatives and spokesmen from the main condenders' political parties also took part. [You can watch it via the above link.]
The candidates were Anatoliy Hrytsenko, a former minister of defence in both Yanukovych's and Tymoshenko's government; Inna Bohoslovska, who ran her own party a while, was a member of PoR for a couple of years, then quit Regiony to run as an independent candidate earlier this year; and Oleh Tyahnybok, leader of the right-wing 'Freedom' party.
PoR send two of their top mouthpieces - attack dog Nestor Shufrich and Oleksandr Efremov, whilst BYuT sent their deputy Oleh Lyashko. Former president Leonid Kravchuk, whilst not strictly a BYuT party member, spoke in support of 'she who works'.
A couple of political experts pointed out that it was important to remember that the president, according to the consititution, is not primarily responsible for the economy, even though in the coming campaign the current economic crisis this will completely overshadow all other matters.
In LEvko's opinion, the three 'minor' candidates performed most competently with creditable seriousness and eloquence, presenting policies and ideas, whilst the others were more concerned in mutual mud-slinging. Hrytsenko's performance in particular, was impressive and was appreciated by the audience.
At the end of the program the studio audience, which Shuster made great pains to point out was a true cross-section of Ukraine's adult population, were asked: "Which one of the speakers was the most convincing". Top came Hrytsenko - 37%. Second came Tyahnybok - 30%. Bohoslovska 14%. The PoR representatives, perhaps the best they've got, scored 11%
None of the three candidates mentioned have financial resources and backing to match the main candidates, which is a shame. Hrytsenko in particular would give any other candidate a run for their money in any TV debate. I would not be surprised if he came in a creditable third in January, even though he would make an excellent president.
After this show, PoR will have to do some serious thinking about their presentational policy for Yanukovych's campaign. Even though he is favourite, they cannot keep their man wrapped in cotton wool for the entire period. And they may rue the loss of Bohoslovska.
p.s. There may well be more dirty allegations soon. Well known journalist Sonya Koshkina makes mention, in a piece in 'Lyevyi Byeryeg', of shall we say, unnatural and illegal behaviour of a sexual nature, by 'Yanik' during his second prison stretch in the early '70's. The rumblings around this may have caused PoR to 'get their retaliation in first' with 'paedo' allegations against BYuT deputies...
Who knows where the truth lies? Maybe the electorate of sick of the dirt - hence the possibly growing support for the minor presidential candidates.
In another article by the same journalist, entitled 'The recidivist candidate', describing Yanukovych's party nomination conference, the first [untitled] photograph in the article shows the above-mentioned Nestor Shufrich embracing a rather sinster-looking character. This can't be PoR deputy Elbrus Tedeyev, whose brother was allegedly involved in a wild-west-style shoot-out between two criminal gangs in a Kyiv park recently, can it?
After the shooting, several participants were allegedly seen driving away in Elbrus's officially registered Merc 500. But it couldn't possibly be him - 'cos he's also a pal of fellow PoR-deputy, Yanik-junior..