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Ukraine Votes
Ukrainians Speak Up, But Can They Act?

The election results have left little doubt: Ukraine’s voters have given an absolute majority to three pro-Western, pro-EU parties. Reuters:

“The majority of voters were in favour of the political forces that support the president’s peace plan and seek a political solution to the situation in the Donbass,” Poroshenko said soon after polls closed, referring to the region where fighting has been heaviest in the industrialised east.

Final results from voting on party lists and single-seat constituencies will not be known for days. But with a third like-minded party, Selfhelp, on 11 percent with 38 percent of votes counted, Poroshenko can forge a strong coalition government.

The 49-year-old confectionery magnate is likely to continue working in close tandem with Yatseniuk, with the latter possibly staying on as prime minister to handle sensitive talks with the West on aid for the war-shattered economy.

Now the real work begins. Ukraine is an oligarchy, with billionaires controlling much of the political and economic life of the country. Since they first amassed their fortunes as communism collapsed, the oligarchs in Ukraine have tried to keep the country balanced between east and west. They didn’t want Putin to break their political power and control their assets as he did with Russia’s oligarchs—and they didn’t want a bunch of pesky anti-corruption judges, EU bureaucrats, and tax collectors messing with the fiefs they had put together.

That middle course was a disaster for the people of Ukraine, who have lived under kleptocracies almost without interruption since 1990. The economy has withered, and deep corruption has penetrated the country’s governmental and even educational institutions. One consequence of a generation of state failure was the country’s haplessness before Russian invasion.

Now the question isn’t whether Ukraine’s new rulers sign a bunch of agreements with the EU and the IMF. It’s whether they can build a real country even as Putin tries to block all progress and keep Ukraine as weak and divided as possible.

The next six months will tell us much about the future of Ukraine.

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  • Alexander Scipio

    DATELINE 5 Nov Washington DC: America’s elections have confirmed the country’s desire to alter course back to Constitutional government. But the road ahead is long and difficult, with oligarchs whose interests don’t include transparency and accountability still holding overwhelming power in the country.

  • Behind_You1

    Cue the Web Brigades with copy-pasted propaganda news from RT and RIA Novostia, sixty-year old Russian-language World War II footage, knee-jerk accusations of “Russophobia” in response to criticism of Russian policy, and English-language articles from places like InfoWars they clearly didn’t read or understand in 3, 2…

  • Sibir_RUS

    Russia is not a party to the conflict in Ukraine.
    The followers of Stepan Bandera was not likely to come to power democratically.
    They used the scenario of a bloody coup with the support of the West. The occasion was the decision of the President Yanukovich to postpone the signing agreement of a free trade area with the EU. This agreement did not meet the national interests of Ukraine. After the unconstitutional coup, towards dissent sounded the threats, was attempts to ban Russian language, murders and cruelty. In these conditions Eastern regions of Ukraine took up arms to protect children, honor and dignity. Crimeans who disagree with the coming to power in Kiev neo-Nazis, held a referendum and joined Russia. Russia became the main initiator of the peace talks of the conflicting parties.

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