Research on successor parties in the former Soviet Union has mostly focused on leftist parties and paid little attention to their interplay with centrist forces which equally have their roots in the Soviet system. This article examines the development of both leftist and centrist successor parties in post-Soviet Ukraine. After consideration of the role of legacies of the old regime as well as the current legal and societal framework, the evolution of leftist parties and the so-called parties of power is explored. The analysis shows that the leftists were weakened by internal splits and a partial inability to modernize. But equally important was the logic of power preservation in the Leonid Kuchma regime, which promoted the formalization of the party of power and crowded out the leftist competitors.

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