Ukrainian Republican party

Ukrainian Republican party (Українська республіканська партія; Ukrainska respublikanska partiia, or УРП; URP). The Ukrainian Republican party grew out of the Ukrainian Helsinki Association when it was decided to turn the dissident human rights monitoring organization into a political party. Its inaugural meeting was held in April 1990 in Kyiv, where Levko Lukianenko was elected leader and Stepan Khmara one of two deputy leaders. It had 2,300 members at that time. Breaking the Communist Party’s monopoly, the URP was the very first new political party to be officially registered in Ukraine, on 5 November 1990. Lukianenko then stood as a candidate in the 1991 presidential election, obtaining 4.5 percent of the vote.

By the time of its third congress, in May 1992, when Mykhailo Horyn was elected leader and Levko Lukianenko made honorary chairman, the party had 8,000 members. However, Stepan Khmara led his more radical faction out of the URP to create the Ukrainian Conservative Republican party (UKRP). In August 1992, on the initiative of the URP and the Democratic Party of Ukraine, the Congress of National Democratic Forces was created. In September 1994, the fifth congress of the URP announced that the party was taking a stance in opposition to President Leonid Kuchma, his government, and the Supreme Council of Ukraine. At that time it had 13,000 members. In the 1994–8 Supreme Council the URP had 10 people’s deputies. In October 1995 historian Bohdan Yaroshynsky was elected leader.

The URP is a nationalist party, and its program proceeds from the idea of the greatness of Ukraine and stresses the importance of national and individual self-determination. It therefore advocates the primacy of private property and market regulation of economic relations, state support for entrepreneurship, and full integration of Ukraine into the European security system including membership in NATO. In 1998 it combined with the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists and the UKRP to contest the elections in the National Front bloc, which obtained only 2.7 per cent of the vote. The URP elected two deputies in single-member districts. In October 1998 O. Shandriuk was elected leader and the party launched an action to impeach President Leonid Kuchma.

Bohdan Harasymiw

[This article was written in 2020.]

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