Political Spectrum of Wartime Ukraine

Despite the war, the political life in Ukraine doesn’t stop. Even if the majority of the population is undoubtedly pro-Ukrainian, with the pro-Russian minority keeping low profile, there are different shades of opinions in the media and society that I have broken down into the nine groups below. However, these are not set-in-stone categories, but rather general trends, and so some individuals may be attributed to more than one group, or they may move along the spectrum with time.

Credit: Depositphotos

1. Mainstream/Official

This title is self-explanatory. These are people who stick with the official position of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the general staff, stressing that national unity at this point is more important than political differences. In the media, this group is represented by the United News telethon of the major Ukrainian TV channels and radio stations.

I would say this group also has a more radical wing prone to condemning any dialogue even with anti-Putin Russians and criticizing Western countries for their indecision (the Germans, and Olaf Scholz in particular, often get a lot of flak).

2. The Poroshenko Camp

The TV channels related to the former president Petro Poroshenko were excluded from the national telethon — although another version has it they had originally refused to join — and later from digital terrestrial TV broadcasting in the country (they are still available on cable and satellite TV as well as in the internet). Poroshenko and his team also seem to have been “shadow banned” from the mainstream media. The explanations vary from the conflict with Zelenskyy’s administration through refusing to comply with the telethon conditions to Poroshenko’s ambition to stay in opposition despite the common challenges.

While before the full-scale war Poroshenko’s followers used to sling a lot of mud at Zelenskyy personally, today they mostly focus on criticizing the government and looking for traitors in the president’s entourage. Even if some of their criticisms seem reasonable, often it looks more like political stubbornness than anything else.

3. Pro-Ukrainian Russian Speakers

There are, of course, many Russian speakers in the other groups, but those whom I attribute to this category share a number of characteristics. They keep watching and reading Ukrainian Russian-language media as well as Russian opposition media like Meduza, keep communicating with Russians, are reluctant to switch to Ukrainian, and defend monuments to Russian writers like Pushkin in Ukraine saying the war is not the culture’s fault but Putin’s and his followers’. Some of them also defend the Russian Orthodox Church’s Ukrainian branch and deny its connection to Russia, which makes them borderline problematic in the eyes of some.

The remaining groups are much smaller than the three above:

4. The Far Right

These are followers of various nationalist organizations, most notably Svoboda, the Right Sector, and the National Corps (the Azov’s political wing). You can recognize them on social media by their attacks at liberals and “lefties” despite expecting help from the liberal and (very much) left West.

5. Independent Liberals

These are those who put liberal values and rationality above emotions when possible, refrain from unnecessary radicalization such as criticizing Western countries, and prefer doing their own fact-checking. Even if they are more reserved now, before the full-scale war they were more prone to attack the far right as compared to other liberals. Zaborona comes to mind as a media outlet that would fit into this category.

6. Democratic Socialists

I would also call them “young socialists” as opposed to old socialists and communists who had some influence in the 1990s but today are banned and/or have completely lost their political capital as in the case of the Socialist Party of Oleksandr Moroz who now makes pro-Ukrainian posts on Facebook but remains largely ignored, as well as to the old Social Democratic Party, many members of which subsequently joined Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions and Viktor Medvedchuk’s Opposition Platform.

This group is pro-Ukrainian and pro-Western but often criticizes both domestic politics and Western reaction from the socialist perspective.

The media Commons and their related community organization known as the Social Movement are the primary representatives of this group.

Despite rather limited following, they are important because they have some quality publications in English that can be useful in a dialogue with those Western leftists who are reluctant to support Ukraine playing pacifists or swallowing Russian propaganda.

7. Left Anarchists

This is a very small group, but I have included them because, standing on Ukraine’s side, they can try and win over their comrades in the West who claim that anarchists should not support the state, even in war. Besides, they may be useful in case they have any contacts with the Russian Anarcho-Communist Battle Organization (aka BOAK) involved in anti-Putinist guerrilla activities. Nihilist is the best-known Ukrainian anarchist online resource. (By the way, most of their materials are in Russian.)

8. Pro-Russian Outsiders

The Opposition Platform and the Opposition Bloc are the major parties that were considered pro-Russian before the full-scale war and are now banned, but it should be noted that after February 24, 2022, some of their members — most notably Oleksandr Vilkul, the mayor of Kryvyi Rih, — as well as some of their followers became pro-Ukrainian. The most radical Putin sympathizers fled to Russia, collaborate with the aggressors in the occupied territories, got arrested, or are laying low. Some less radical or more cautious public figures from these parties may call for negotiations with Putin while claiming they support the inviolability of Ukrainian borders.

Another pro-Russian politician, Anatoliy Shariy, a blogger who founded a party that bears his name, has been hiding in Spain and is now waiting for a possible extradition to Ukraine. The communists have been banned since 2015, and the “old socialists”, also mostly considered pro-Russian (despite the aforementioned pro-Ukrainian posts of Oleksandr Moroz), since March 2022.

9. Russian-Influenced Population

There is also a fringe minority that isn’t necessarily pro-Putin, but is too obviously influenced by Russian narratives either through the Russian Orthodox Church or through Russian subtle disinformation campaigns. Some of these people live in regions that have been less affected by the war and may think it’s fine if Ukraine cedes some territories to Russia as long as they and their homes stay in safety. Naturally, they blame the war on NATO and the US, and they are mostly represented by freaky social media personas who, by a not-so-strange coincidence, had been active anti-vaxxers and COVID deniers in 2020–2021.


Breaking down the political spectrum helps to see that it’s not all black-and-white, and also that, instead of the mythical “Neo-Nazis” invented by the Russian propaganda, there are actually liberals, nationalists, socialists, and even anarchists, all fighting on the same side both on the information front and in the trenches.



Ukrainian writer, translator, independent thinker and researcher

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