Has there been space for a movement party in Ukraine after the 2013-14 Euromaidan?

Photo by Gleb Albovsky on Unsplash

In his seminal work, Herbert Kitschelt suggested that movement parties are coalitions of political activists who emanate from social movements and apply movement practices in the area of party competition. In this way, movement parties channel the energy of grassroots social movement protest into the institutions and thus may offer solutions for the ongoing crisis of representation, as Donatella della Porta points out in her research.

In Ukraine, as the nationwide Euromaidan social movement was gaining agency, many observers hoped it will amplify the voices of broad social groups lacking representation within the existing political system, introduce new issues to the ongoing political debates and nurture a new generation of political leaders. However, snap parliamentary elections in October 2014 featured several new parties, but no distinct Euromaidan political party. Three out of the six parliamentary parties were only created shortly before the election, namely Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc, the Popular Front, and the Opposition Bloc. New on paper, these parties could still be linked to the existing political projects. Was there a space for the Euromaidan movement party in Ukraine’s political system?

In theory, the emergence of new parties is linked, among other reasons, to the reactions of the other parties. When a social movement arises due to an unaddressed social concern, existing parties may or may not support it. As a new player develops and enters the electoral competition, existing parties may undermine it and incorporate its claims into own electoral agendas to attract a broader electorate.

Euromaidan was triggered by the decision of the government to suspend the signing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. The collective actors who mobilized first were CSO members and unaffiliated activists, soon joined by the opposition parties. Apart from the key demand of the return to the pro-European foreign policy course, protesters also demanded the resignation of the government and the impeachment of the president. Thousands of people protested against police violence. Important demands included the fight against corruption and economic reforms.

In the autumn of 2014, four parliamentary parties directly referenced Euromaidan in their agendas. Petro Poroshenko Block referred to the movement as a starting point to “live anew” – their main political slogan. Opposition Block called for an investigation of all deaths at Maidan, both protesters and police officers, in line with their general rhetoric that the “country is tired of civic uprisings”. Experienced political players, like Fatherland and the Radical Party, also did not hesitate to reference Euromaidan as a turning point in Ukraine’s political history. “We have everything to win and we already proved this at Euromaidan!” stated Fatherland’s agenda, directly pointing at the party’s involvement in the movement.

Word clouds of the 2014 election agendas of the parliamentary political parties, multi-mandate constituency

Popular Front



Opposition Block

Lyashko’s Radical Party


The parties’ electoral agendas were very much unified in terms of both structure and contents, and also recalled the Euromaidan demands. Fighting corruption, judicial and law-enforcement reforms, civil service reform and lustration became the themes that preoccupied all analyzed party agendas (See figures). The Popular Front made a special emphasis on EU integration, promising to implement reforms following European standards. BPP was focused on fighting corruption, reforming the judicial system, and implementing various economic reforms. Self-Reliance emphasized economic development, science and education. The Radical Party’s agenda was all about fighting oligarchs; Fatherland concentrated on fighting corruption. Opposition Block promised generous social and welfare policies. Additionally, all agendas included a part addressing Russian aggression, increased military capabilities, and social guarantees for the veterans.

That said, is such agenda appropriation by the established political players the reason behind the Euromaidan movement party non-emergence? This remains a subject for further research.

This is a preliminary analysis presented at the ECPR 2022 Joint Sessions Workshop. Please do not cite, share or otherwise distribute. This research was funded by the National Science Centre, Poland (UMO-2021/40/C/HS6/00229).