Opposition Bloc

Opposition Bloc, Опозиційний блок, is a Ukrainian political party that was founded in 2014 as six parties that did not endorse Euromaidan merged. In the 2014 election, it won 29 seats predominantly in the Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia, Luhansk and Kharkiv oblasts.

American lobbyist Paul Manafort acted as political consultant for the party.

In Ukraine the party is perceived as the successor of the disbanded Party of Regions.

The party was registered at the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice on 23 April 2010 as “Leading force”  Ведуча сила,. The party was the led by Anatoly Kornienko.

The party did not participate in the 2012 parliamentary elections.

In September 2014 American lobbyist Paul Manafort was hired as an advisor to (former Manafort client) Viktor Yanukovych’s former head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Serhiy Lyovochkin. Manafort was tasked with rebranding Party of Regions. Instead, he argued to help stabilize Ukraine, Manafort advised to create a new political party called Opposition Bloc. According to Ukrainian political analyst Mikhail Pogrebinsky “He thought to gather the largest number of people opposed to the current government, you needed to avoid anything concrete, and just become a symbol of being opposed”.

It was planned that the biggest party in the previous 2012 parliamentary elections, Party of Regions, would be part of the Opposition Bloc in the 2014 parliamentary elections. This alliance was to be led by Serhiy Tihipko. But he refused to do so because in his opinion in this alliance there were “people tainted by corruption and to put it mildly, unpatriotic”. Tihipko then became leader of (the revived) Strong Ukraine.

According to Tadeusz Olszański (pl), of the Centre for Eastern Studies, the party’s 2014 election programme was socially liberal and pro-Russophone. The party’s platform envisages protecting the status of Russian as a regional language.

The party wants “maximum decentralization” for Ukraine.

The party wants a non-aligned status for Ukraine and wants to prevent it from becoming a NATO member.

In the War in Donbass the party advocated to end the conflict by peaceful means and by negotiating with Russia. The party rejects the March 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia and wants “peace in united Ukraine within the borders of 1991”.

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