People's Movement of Ukraine

The People's Movement of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Народний Рух України, romanized: Narodnyi Rukh Ukrajiny) is a Ukrainian centre-right political party. Often it is simply referred to as the Movement (Ukrainian: Рух, Rukh). The party under the name Rukh was an observer member of the European People's Party (EPP) until 2013.

People's Movement of Ukraine

Народний Рух України
PresidentViktor Kryvenko[1]
Founded9 February 1990 (1990-02-09)[2]
HeadquartersKiev, Ukraine
Youth wingYoung Activists of the Popular Rukh[3]
Membership35,000 (November 2016)[4]
IdeologyUkrainian nationalism[5][6][7]
Liberal conservatism[8]
Economic liberalism
Political positionCentre-right[9]
European affiliationEuropean People's Party (observer)
International affiliationNone
Colours         Blue, yellow
SloganStatehood, Democracy, Reforms

Rukh gathers most of its voters and support from Western Ukraine. In November 2016, the party had 35,000 members.[4]


Public movement

Initially organized as the People's Movement of Ukraine for Reconstruction (i.e. for Perestroika), Rukh was founded in 1989 as a civil-political movement as there were no other political parties allowed in the Soviet Union but the Communist Party. The founding of Rukh was made possible due to Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev's Glasnost policies.[10] The program and statutes of the movement were proposed by the Writers Association of Ukraine and were published in the journal Literary Ukraine (Literaturna Ukraina) on 16 February 1989. The organization has its roots in Ukrainian dissidents — the most notable of them being Viacheslav Chornovil — yet not excluding the fact that it was accepting various other politically oriented members from liberal communists to integralist nationalists. From March to September 1989 numerous constituent party conferences took place across Ukraine. The first Constituent Congress of the "People's Movement of Ukraine for Reconstruction" took place on 8–10 September 1989 in Kiev. Elected as the first leader of the movement was the Ukrainian poet and screenwriter Ivan Drach.

Appearance of the organization coincided with dismissal of Volodymyr Shcherbytsky as the First Secretary of Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine and rise of Leonid Kravchuk. On one hand Kravchuk officially promised that "faster he will grow hair on his palm than Rukh will be registered", on the other hand according to author of the book "People's Movement of Ukraine. History" (Ukrainian: Народный рух Украины. История), Hryhoriy Honcharuk, with reference to Ivan Drach, it was Kravchuk who facilitated publishing of the Rukh's program draft in "Literaturna Ukrayina" in February 1989.[11] And according to rumors, he also approved that the rector of KPI Talanchuk would grant the Politech's Assembly Hall to hold the Rukh's constituent congress.[11]

The official Soviet press and government portrayed members as anti-Semites at first.[12]

The movement's biggest public, political, cultural, and social actions were:

  • Human chain (1990) – a chain of volunteers that stretched around 550 kilometres (340 mi) all the way from the city of Lviv to the city of Kiev, the capitals of the two former Ukrainian states that signed the Act Zluky (Unification act) on 22 January 1919. According to the Department of Internal Affairs (Ukrainian SSR) there were only 450,000 participants, while the organizers claimed that there were between four and five million.
  • Mass excursions (1990) – festivities near Nikopol and Zaporizhia to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Zaporozhian Cossacks from 7 September through 12.
  • Various activities near Berestechko, Baturyn, Lubny, and Khotyn.

At first the movement aimed at supporting Gorbachev's reforms,[10] later the People's Movement of Ukraine was instrumental in conducting an independence referendum in the Ukrainian SSR. This was partially due to the Russification policies of the Soviet Union when the USSR Supreme Soviet officially announced the Russian language as the singular official state language of the country in 1989. During Rukh's existence within the Soviet Union, its members were threatened and intimidated.[10] In the western oblasts "Rukh" became colloquially known as an abbreviation for the call Save Ukraine, fellows! (Рятуйте Україну, Хлопці!).[13][14][15]

Political party

The movement initially registered by the Ministry of Justice on 9 February 1990 as the political party. After the creation of the Ukrainian Republican Party (URP) in January 1990 and later the Democratic Party of Ukraine (DemPU), the People's Movement of Ukraine unofficially existed as a coalition of those two along with numerous other smaller factions. These parties created a group within the Verkhovna Rada called the "Democratic Bloc" which stood in opposition to "Group 239", which was led by Oleksandr Moroz ("For the sovereign Soviet Ukraine") (see 1990 Ukrainian parliamentary election). In October 1990 Rukh's second Party Congress took place. During the session it was decided to exclude the word "Reconstruction" (Perestroika), not to be associated with the Communist movement. Ivan Drach was re-elected as leader, while his deputies became Mykhailo Horyn and Oleksandr Lavrynovych. In order to draw the URP and DemPU closer to Rukh, the "Institute of Associative Membership in the Movement" was established. The brittle coalition of the mentioned parties held until the presidential elections in September 1991 when URP and DemPU provided their own candidates in opposition to Vyacheslav Chornovil.

From 28 February – 1 March 1992 the third Party Congress took place during which a schism within Rukh was avoided by electing a leadership triad of Ivan Drach, Mykhailo Horyn, and Vyacheslav Chornovil. The new deputy leaders were M. Boychyshyn, O. Burakovsky, V. Burlakov, and O. Lavrynovych. The "Institute of Associative Membership in the Movement" was formally recognized as dissolved due to both the URP and DemPU declaring themselves as supporters of state president Leonid Kravchuk. The People's Movement of Ukraine declared its parliamentary opposition to the government and in January 1992 re-registered due to substantial changes in its statutes. Soon Ivan Drach left the party, followed by the resignation of Mykhailo Horyn in June 1992 together with V. Burlakov. Horyn was soon elected as leader of the Ukrainian Republican Party. In December 1992 Rukh's IV Party Congress took place which once again revised its statute and the party's goals. Vyacheslav Chornovil was elected leader, the rest of the party's leadership was left without major changes. During the Congress some party delegates in opposition to Chornovil created the All-National Movement of Ukraine (VNRU), headed by Larysa Skoryk.

The People's Movement of Ukraine was registered by the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice as a political party on 1 February 1993.[2] Rukh's parliamentary faction split up into 2 different factions in the spring of 1999 (the breakaway faction was led by Hennadiy Udovenko with its highest Rada membership of 19 dwindling to 14; the "other" faction ended with 23; meaning that 10 elected People's Movement of Ukraine deputies did not represent any segment of the party anymore by June 2002).[16][17] Right before the 1999 presidential elections another major schism took place within the party. Yuriy Kostenko openly protested against the election of Viacheslav Chornovil as the party leader and established another party, People's Movement of Ukraine (Kostenko), where Kostenko became the leader of the party. Despite the split a followed party congress elected Vyacheslav Chornovil as party leader. The congress also adopted the signing of an agreement between People's Movement of Ukraine and the Reforms and Order Party for a political bloc supporting Hennadiy Udovenko as a single presidential candidate for the next elections. At the parliamentary elections on 29 March 1998, the party received 9.4% of the vote[2] and 46 seats. At the parliamentary elections on 30 March 2002, the party was part of the Viktor Yushchenko Bloc–Our Ukraine. Currently, Rukh was a part of the Our Ukraine Bloc,[2] where it represented the right wing of the Union's party spectrum. At the parliamentary elections on 26 March 2006, the party was part of the Our Ukraine alliance,[2] and the party's members secured 13 seats in the parliament. At the 2007 parliamentary elections the party was again part of the Our Ukraine–People's Self-Defense Bloc alliance,[2] that won 72 out of 450 seats.

In the 2010 local elections the party won 8 representative in the regional parliament of the Lviv Oblast, 3 representative in the regional parliament of Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, 1 in Kherson Oblast, 5 in the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea and 3 seats in the city councils of Lviv and Simferopol.[18]

The party competed as one single party under the "umbrella" party "Fatherland", together with several other parties, during the 2012 parliamentary elections[19][20][21][22][23][24] During the election this list won 62 seats (25.55% of the votes) under the proportional party-list system and another 39 by winning 39 simple-majority constituencies; a total of 101 seats in Parliament.[25]

In 2013, the party split in two parts. The party merged with Ukrainian People's Party in May 2013.[26] While its former chairman Borys Tarasyuk and others assimilated into "Fatherland" in June 2013.[27][28] The bulk of the party organisation and ordinary members remained loyal to the party.[4]

In the 2014 Ukrainian presidential election party leader Vasyl Kuybida received 0.06% of the vote.[29]

In the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election the party participated in 3 constituencies; but its candidates lost in all of them and thus the party won no parliamentary seats.[30][31] However, after being expelled from (the political party) Self Reliance the lawmakers Pavlo Kyshkar and Viktor Kryvenko joined the party in April 2016 (in parliament they both joined the faction of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc in March 2016 before leaving it in December 2017).[4][32][33]

In the 2015 Ukrainian local elections the party was able to gain seats in 270 local councils (0.17% of all local councils).[4]

Political platform

We do not impose on Russia how to interpret its own history. Why did Russia try and continues to try to impose on us the use of the Russian language? Why do Russians want to make us forget our own history and our heroes? Ukrainians must know their history and live accordingly, instead of living by the stereotypes spun by tsarist and Soviet ideologists.

— Party-leader Borys Tarasyuk on Echo of Moscow Radio (February 5, 2011)[28]

Directly out of the official website:

Associated organizations

  • Shevchenko Society of Ukrainian language (Ukrainian: Товариство української мови імені Тараса Шевченка)
  • Lion's Society (Ukrainian: Товариство Лева)
  • Committee in support of Lithuania (1990)
  • Qurultay of the Crimean Tatar People
  • Students' Fraternity of Lviv
  • Ukrainian Student League

Elections history

Supreme Council of Ukraine
Constituency /total
Overall seats won
Seat change
Popular vote
Seats /total
1990 no party list voting 15/450
15 / 450
15 opposition
1994 20/450
20 / 450
5 opposition
1998 2,498,262 9.7% 32/225 14/225
46 / 450
26 minority support
2002 Yushchenko Bloc Our Ukraine 15/225 3/225
18 / 450
8 opposition
2006 Bloc Our Ukraine 10/450 N/A
10 / 450
8 opposition
2007 Our Ukraine–People's Self-Defense Bloc 6/450 N/A
6 / 450
4 coalition government
2012 Fatherland-United Opposition N/A 6 opposition
2014 Did not participate
2019 Did not participate
Presidency of Ukraine
Election year Candidate First Round Place Second Round
# of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
1991 Viacheslav Chornovil 7,420,727 23.3 2
1994 Volodymyr Lanovyi 2,483,986 9.6 4
1999 Hennadiy Udovenko 319,778 1.2 7
2004 none fully supported Viktor Yushchenko
2010 none supported Yulia Tymoshenko in second round
2014 Vasyl Kuybida 12,392 0.1 17
DateParty leaderRemarks
1989–1992Ivan Drach
1992–1999Viacheslav Chornovil
1999–2003Hennadiy Udovenko
2003–2012Borys Tarasyuk
2012–2017Vasyl Kuybida
2017–presentViktor Kryvenko

Notable politicians


a Temporarily merged with Batkivshchyna as Fatherland – United Opposition

See also


  1. (in Ukrainian) The People's Movement of Ukraine party nominated its presidential candidate, Ukrayinska Pravda (10 January 2019)
  2. (in Ukrainian) Народний Рух України, Database DATA
  3. Young opposition activists stage rally to celebrate resignation of Azarov's government, Kyiv Post (5 December 2012)
  5. D′Anieri, Paul (2007), Understanding Ukrainian Politics: Power, Politics, And Institutional Design, M. E. Sharpe, p. 113
  6. Bugajski, Janusz (2002), Political Parties of Eastern Europe: A Guide to Politics in the Post-Communist Era, The Center for Strategic and International Studies, pp. 952–953
  7. Magocsi, Paul Robert (2002), The Roots of Ukrainian Nationalism: Galicia As Ukraine's Piedmont, University of Toronto Press, p. 63
  8. Salnykova, Anastasiya (2012), "Electoral Reforms and Women's Representation in Ukraine", Gender, Politics and Society in Ukraine, University of Toronto Press, p. 89
  9. Haran, Olexiy; Burkovsky, Petro (2009), "In the Aftermath of the Revolution: From Orange Victory to Sharing Power with Opponents", Ukraine on Its Meandering Path Between East and West, Peter Lang, pp. 86, 96
  10. How 1989 fanned flames in Ukraine BBC News (10 June 2009)
  11. Rakhmanin, S. Rukh and the presidents: a story of amorous dragon (РУХ И ПРЕЗИДЕНТЫ: ИСТОРИЯ ВЛЮБЧИВОГО ДРАКОНА). Mirror Weekly. 10 September 1999
  12. The Jewish card in Russian operations against Ukraine, Kyiv Post (30 June 2009)
  13. Official website of the party in Ivano-Frankivsk region Archived 14 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  14. Hutsul, Ye. Iryna Farion: "The enemy never vanish on its own "like dew in the sun". "2000 weekly". 14 June 2012
  15. In the anticipation of Apostle. "Newspaper Den". 2004-1-13
  16. Ukraine and Russia: The Post-Soviet Transition by Roman Solchanyk, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2001 ISBN 0742510174
  17. Understanding Ukrainian Politics: Power, Politics, and Institutional Design by Paul D'Anieri, M. E. Sharpe, 2006, ISBN 978-0-7656-1811-5
  18. (in Ukrainian) Results of the elections, preliminary data, on interactive maps by Ukrayinska Pravda (8 November 2010)
  19. (in Ukrainian) Соціально-християнська партія вирішила приєднатися до об'єднаної опозиції, Den (24 April 2012)
  20. Opposition to form single list to participate in parliamentary elections, Kyiv Post (2 March 2012)
    (in Ukrainian) "ФРОНТ ЗМІН" ІДЕ В РАДУ З "БАТЬКІВЩИНОЮ", Ukrayinska Pravda (7 April 2012)
    Yatseniuk wants to meet with Tymoshenko to discuss reunion of opposition, Kyiv Post (7 April 2012)
  21. (in Ukrainian) Tymoshenko and Yatsenyuk united ("Тимошенко та Яценюк об'єдналися"), Ukrayinska Pravda (23 April 2012)
  22. Civil Position party joins Ukraine's united opposition, Kyiv Post (20 June 2012)
  23. Ukrainian opposition parties agree to form single list for 2012 elections, Kyiv Post (23 January 2012)
  24. Opposition to form single list to participate in parliamentary elections, Kyiv Post (2 March 2012)
  25. (in Ukrainian) Proportional votes Archived 30 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine & Constituency seats Archived 5 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Central Electoral Commission of Ukraine
    % of total seats, Ukrayinska Pravda
  26. Ukrainian People's Party, People's Movement Of Ukraine Decide Unite Into Rukh, Elect Kuibida Its Leader, Ukrainian News Agency (19 May 2013)
  27. Batkivschyna, Front for Change, Reform and Order Party, part of NRU unite for victory – Tymoshenko’s address to congress, Interfax-Ukraine (15 June 2013)
    Tymoshenko re-elected Batkivshchyna leader, Yatseniuk council chair, Ukrinform (15 June 2013)
  28. Ukraine-Russia relations didn’t get any better, ex-Foreign Minister Borys Tarasiuk says, z i k (February 5, 2011)
  29. "Poroshenko wins presidential election with 54.7% of vote – CEC". Radio Ukraine International. 29 May 2014. Archived from the original on 29 May 2014.
    (in Russian) Results election of Ukrainian president, Телеграф (29 May 2014)
  30. Poroshenko Bloc to have greatest number of seats in parliament Archived 10 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Ukrainian Television and Radio (8 November 2014)
    People's Front 0.33% ahead of Poroshenko Bloc with all ballots counted in Ukraine elections – CEC, Interfax-Ukraine (8 November 2014)
    Poroshenko Bloc to get 132 seats in parliament – CEC, Interfax-Ukraine (8 November 2014)
  31. (in Ukrainian) Rukh candidates for constituency seats in the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election, RBK Ukraine
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