By Iryna HAVRYLOVA, The Day
On June 2, several labor collectives in Donetsk (though it would be more
logical to expect such news from Dnipropetrovsk) nominated Pavlo Lazarenko
as their candidate for President. According to Hromada deputy leader Viktor
Omelych, this was very unexpected and it was in no way sanctioned by Hromada.
Oleksandr Yemets, however is convinced that this is "the competent work
of Mr. Lazarenko's team aimed at reminding people that, despite all the
insinuations of the authorities against him, he is safe, sound and, beloved
by the public." People's Deputy Yemets does not think the regime has begun
to rehabilitate the Hromada leader, although such a conjecture is not unfounded:
the hyping of Mr. Lazarenko could discredit Oleksandr Moroz as an ally
of Hromada and its corrupt leader.
However, Borys Bezpaly thinks drawing this kind of attention to Lazarenko
could backfire: "When in power, Mr. Lazarenko did not cooperate at all
with Moroz. So I fear this situation could boomerang." Mr. Bezpaly also
stressed: "I would not regard Lazarenko as a serious presidential campaigner."
Incidentally, the Hromada leader's trusted lieutenants also think so or
nearly so. Mr. Omelych believes Mr. Lazarenko could only get the nod from
the Hromada congress, the date of which has been put off indefinitely due
to the court proceedings in San Francisco. Mr. Omelych told The Day
that "Lazarenko's personal participation is doubtful, and as to an indirect
involvement, the party is not aware of any personal wishes of the leader
about supporting (including financially) any specific candidate."
Indeed, if Hromada knows something about Lazarenko's personal predilection
for a certain candidate, it would be better to keep quiet about it. The
Hromada deputy leader confirmed: "We have not yet raised the question of
a particular individual: all the blows Hromada is taking today will automatically
affect this presidential candidate." Hromada is now likely to stick to
a very cautious and vague position: to support all anti-presidential forces,
without specifically singling anyone out.