Ukraine’s October local elections highlight battle under way to fill eastern Ukraine power vacuum

The competition is on for the October 25 local elections in the remaining eastern Ukraine power hubs of Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv, where the fall of ex-President Viktor Yanukovych, Russia’s war and destabilization have created a political vacuum – and a fair share of scandal and power struggles.

“In eastern Ukraine, the elections are being held in a vacuum. Some political forces have left the scene, while others are appearing,” Vadim Karasev, director at the Institute of Global Strategy, said at a press conference on October 8.

The loudest new party posturing as an alternative to the parliamentary mainstream is United Ukrainian Patriots (UKROP). Despite only being founded in June, it already stands to gain 5.8 per cent of votes in the east, according to Kyiv International Institute of Sociology.

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(Voters look at campaign material for Ukrop, or United Ukrainian Patriots, a political project linked to billionaire oligarch Igor Kolomoisky. The party is expected to do well in eastern Ukraine, particularly Dnipropetrovsk — where Kolomoisky used to be governor — and Kharkiv. © Volodymyr Petrov)