Batkivshchyna, a 24-member faction in Ukraine’s parliament, has announced that it will go into the opposition to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s ruling Servant of the People party after the legislature passed a law lifting a longstanding ban on farmland sales in its first reading.

Members of Batkivshchyna made their announcement during a briefing convened after the vote on the law.

Yulia Tymoshenko, the faction’s leader and the former prime minister of Ukraine, said that “today’s vote for the sale of agricultural land in Ukraine is the red line which was crossed contrary to the aspirations of the Ukrainian people.”

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Tymoshenko said the law had been “passed against Ukraine for the benefit of transnational corporations.” For this reason, she said her party would move into the “opposition to the policy of destroying Ukraine, opposition to prolonging the epoch of poverty… (of) auctioning off all the strategic assets of Ukraine, including land.”


Batkivshchyna said it intends to stall the land reform by requesting that the Constitutional Court of Ukraine explain an article of the constitution stating that the land belongs to the people of Ukraine. Tymoshenko and her party believe the law to violate this provision of the constitution. Tymoshenko also cited polls suggesting that the majority of Ukrainians oppose introducing a land market.

Tymoshenko also stated her intention to organize a mass movement against the land market. Her party plans to appeal to agricultural unions and civic organizations in order to “ask the Ukrainian nation to rise up against such decisions and not to let this law pass the second reading,” she said.

The Batkivshchyna leader also characterized President Zelensky, his party and his Cabinet as “people with years of working on foreign grants lobbying international interests.”

Standing behind Tymoshenko during this announcement was her deputy in the party, Hryhoriy Nemyrya, who managed the International Renaissance Foundation’s activities in Ukraine in 2001-2005. The foundation is a grant-giving body financed by American philanthropist George Soros.


The European Solidarity faction of former president Petro Poroshenko also voted against the land market law. Both European Solidarity and Batkivshchyna used to promote the idea of a land market when their leaders were in power.

The pro-Russian Opposition Platform — For Life faction were registered as absent during the vote, while the Voice party, led by rock star Sviatoslav Vakarchuk, abstained.

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