Who Are Ukraine’s “Darth Vaders?” The Masks Are Off

October 16, 2014

Darth Vader is real, and he ran for president of Ukraine. This spring one of the candidates for President was a masked man, wearing a Darth Vader costume, who was running as a member of the Internet Party. He was disqualified because he refused to use his real name, but his candidacy was controversial for two reasons. Many saw him as the ultimate symbol of the distrust of the political system in Ukraine — if politics is a farce, why not go all the way with the joke? Others suspected he was backed by Moscow to discredit the entire process.

Now, the Internet Party is back and running for parliament. Below is a translation of an article titled “Darth Vaders. The Masks are Off” written by Dmitry Korol. – The Interpreter

One of the episodes of the British serial “Black Mirror” is the story of a cartoon character Waldo who decides to stand for parliament and nearly beats a real candidate. Waldo indulges in curses and calls things in politics as they are.

During a time of troubles, such characters can replace real people. The same path has been taken by creators of the Internet Party, which is lead “under the dome” by characters of the multiple-series film Star Wars, made by American director George Lucas.

After the unsuccessful attempt by Darth Vader to try his efforts in the presidential elections in May, the Internet Party of Ukraine has launched several other odious figures from the star saga and intends to get into parliament.

On September 23, the Central Elections Commission registered the lists of candidates for people’s deputies from four parties including the Internet Party. There are 17 candidates who have expressed the wish to run for the elections from this party, including Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, Stepan Chewbacca, Padme Amidala and Master Yoda. Darth Vader wrote on the party’s web site:

“Each one of the declared mighty five openly represents the interests of one of the five financial and political groups in Ukraine. Master Yoda is delegated to the Levochkin group; Princess Amidala to the Firtash quota; Stepan Chewbacca to the junior business partner Kolomoyskiy; Emperor Palpatin is looking after Yuriy Enakievskiy’s list. Taking into account the reliability of the rear guard, it can be boldly said that there are no fortresses that the Bolsheviks cannot take.”

Such statements are no more than a joke and a ridicule of Ukrainian politics. The Insider learned who in fact is behind the masks of the movie characters.

According to the Central Elections Commission, Magister Vladimirovich Yoda, number five in the list, has a higher degree and is currently working as director of the company Silence, Ltd.

Apparently he changed his first name, patronymic, and last name recently because the government registry of companies has the director of the same company Silence, Ltd. as Mikhail Vladimirovich Salomatin.

Mikhail Salomatin (photo via Facebook)

Mikhail Salomatin (photo via Facebook)

On his Facebook page, the Kiev resident openly reports that he is really number five in the Internet Party and is agitating his friends to vote for it.

Earlier he ran a post from Jón Gnarr, a famous Icelandic comedian who created the Best Party. The party consists of musicians and anarchists and its election program was like a surrealistic show.

Unexpectedly for everyone, in 2010, conservative Icelanders gave almomst 40% of their votes to Gnarr in elections, who as a result became mayor of Rejkavik, the capital of Iceland. Despite its lack of experience, in 4 years the Best Party managed to bring the Icelandic capital out of the crisis and conduct quite a few positive reforms.

Number 4 in the Internet Party list is Amidala Nikolayevna Padma, an unemployed resident of Chernihov who was born in 1993.

The Chernihov Region television channel Dytynets filmed a show about Anatasiya in which she tells the story.

In reality she is named Anatasiya Gavrilenko. She was a student at a technological university until she was expelled for non-payment. She has changed her name so as “not to be like everyone else.” She is certain that her party will manage to get into the Rada.

Stepan Mikhailovich Chubakka, third on the list, is the only “hero” whose real identity has not managed to be revealed.

According to the Central Elections Commission, he is 26, he has a higher decree and is working currently at the Institute for Technical Telephysics of the National Science Academy of Ukraine. He lives in the city of Korostyshev in Zhitomir Region.

Number 2 in the Internet Party list is Emperor Viktorovich Palpatin. The CEC site states that he has a higher degree and is currently working as director of Palpatine Finance Group.

Emperor also changed his name recently. The company register has the owner of Palpatine Finance Group as Dmitry Viktorovich Fisinchuk of Odessa, born 1990. Earlier he headed the Odessa cell of the party.

A person by that name is a trainer at the Grigo Gym sports club, opened by one of the members of the supreme council of the Internet Party, the athlete Denis Grigoriev.


Fisinchuk does not write about his political activity on social media, but after he became Emperor Palpatine, he removed almost all the information from his personal profile on VKontakte. Even so, from his photo, publications and comments he can be identified.


Number one in the Internet Party list is Darth Viktorovich Vader. Besides him, there are 15 Darth Vaders who are running in the single-mandate majoritarian districts. They are either independent nominees or members of the Internet Party.

According to the CEC, the party leader is 27, he lives in Kiev and works as director of two companies, Flexend and Dark Side of the Power. Previously, the director of Flexend was Aleksei Viktorovich Shevchenko who is of the same age and address as Vader.

Shevchenko is a member of the supreme council and head of the Kiev cell of the Internet Party. He is one of its main activists. He previously worked as a programmer.

Aleksei Shevchenko. Photo via VKontakte

Aleksei Shevchenko. Photo via VKontakte

He does not hide his activity in social networks but does not admit that he is Darth Vader. Among his comments, some explanations for the unusual program of the Internet Party can be found.

“Everyone says that we need new faces in politics, but the standard method simply doesn’t allow them through,” writes Shevchenko.

Where does the money come from?

The Internet Party was created in 2007. Its founder is the Odessa entrepreneur and programmer Dmitry Golubov.

The 30-year-old Odessa native has a somewhat checkered past — in 2005 he was under investigation for about 6 months accused of hacking into the US banking system and stealing almost $11 million. After a long probe, the Solomensky Court in Kiev exonerated him for lack of evidence.

Golubov believes his main purpose in politics is to advance energetic and talented youth into power.

Although legally Golubov is still head of the Internet Party, in the elections to parliament he is running in the 136th district (Odessa) from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc.

The Internet Party is linked to Golubov’s close friend and colleague, Aleksei Goncharenko, head of the Odessa Region Council. But Goncharenko denies this connection.

“I have personal relations with Dmitry Golubov, but I have nothing to do with the Internet Party,” Gonchareno told The Insider.

Left to Right: Vader, Golubov, Goncharenko

Left to Right: Vader, Golubov, Goncharenko

Goncharenko’s father, Aleksei Kostusev, is a Party of Regions member and the former mayor of Odessa. He abandoned his family when his son was 3. As a consequence, they did not speak for years, and later became political opponents.

In 2002, Goncharenko obtained a medical degree after which he unexpectedly went to study as an economist at the government academy in Russia. After 2006, he became a member of the Party of Regions and a deputy of the Odessa Regional Council.

Then after Maidan and the flight of Yanukovich, Goncharenko left the party and quit his post. In August 2014, he was appointed head of the Odessa Regional Council. In elections to parliament, like Golubov, he is on the Petro Poroshenko Bloc list, but not in the majoritarian district, but as no. 40 in the party list.