Ukrainian far-right demonstrations pressure presidential candidates over corruption

Ukrainian far-right demonstrations pressure presidential candidates over corruption

Some 5,000 supporters of Ukraine’s far-right National Corps will march in Kiev today in protest of endemic corruption. The demonstration

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Photo: Reuters

Some 5,000 supporters of Ukraine’s far-right National Corps will march in Kiev today in protest of endemic corruption.

The demonstration comes after National Corps members tried to attack President Petro Poroshenko’s motorcade earlier this week, injuring 22 police officers and leading to the arrest of two party members.

Far-right groups have been on the rise in Ukraine since 2014’s revolution. Allegations that Mr Poroshenko has embezzled military funds, as well as a perceived failure by the president to address corruption has fuelled that rise in recent months.

Still, far-right groups are not expected to feature prominently in Ukraine’s March 31 elections, although the National Corps and another far-right group, Svoboda, could add to the few seats (two and six, respectively) they currently hold in the 451-seat parliament.

The prominence of far-right groups could rise quickly, depending on who wins the presidency. Two of the three frontrunners, Poroshenko and former PM Yulia Tymoshenko, have poor track records on corruption and appear unlikely to seriously alter their approach to the issue. The other, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a comedian currently leading polling at around 25%, has promised to address corruption, but has links to a powerful oligarch. Far-right groups fuel public discontent; their increased prominence could spark further instability in Ukraine.

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