Sixteen Darth Vaders have made an imperial march onto the ballot in Ukraine’s upcoming parliamentary elections, the latest and most expansive appearance of the “Star Wars” villain’s name and likeness in the country’s political life.
All have been registered by Ukraine’s Central Election Commission for the October 26 ballot, a snap election announced by President Petro Poroshenko in August.
Seven of the "Darth Vaders" are with the Internet Party of Ukraine, which advocates technological improvements to eliminate bureaucracy, while the other five are running as independents.
Ukrainian political activists have used the “Dark Lord” of the legendary science-fiction series in several political stunts in recent years.
In 2013, Internet Party of Ukraine activists dressed as the evil commander tried to enter the Justice Ministry in Kyiv, demanding an appointment with then-Justice Minister Oleksandr Lavrynovych to demand that the ministry stop pressuring the party.
In 2011, a Ukrainian official in the Ukrainian Black Sea resort of Odesa didn’t flinch when a resident showed up dressed as Darth Vader to apply for a free plot of land, citing a Ukrainian law stating that citizens have a right to own 1,000 square meters of land, Reuters reported at the time.
The man identified himself as "Darth Vader, the right hand of Emperor Palpatine,” and said that because local elected officials had “switched to the dark side” he had come for a plot of land to park his “space cruiser.”
While the 16 Darth Vaders registered for the October vote have the same first and last names, they have a range of patronymics. Six are named “Darth Volodymyrovych Vader,” while the others have patronymics such as “Viktorovych,” “Leonidovych” and “Olehovych.”
While Darth Vader was a paragon of evil in most of director George Lucas’s first three “Star Wars” films, none of the Ukrainian candidates has a criminal record.
The Internet Party of Ukraine is running several candidates with names of “Star Wars” characters, including "Master Volodymyrovych Yoda," "Stepan Mikhaylovych Chewbacca," and "Emperor Viktorovych Palpatine."
-- Carl Schreck