JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine votes: The incumbent, the populist, or the comedian?” – Christian Science Monitor/ Fred Weir

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

“Ukraine’s Maidan Revolution brought hope and enthusiasm to Kiev, but now much of that energy has sapped away. Sunday’s presidential election has a chance to reinvigorate Ukrainian reform.”

“Ukraine’s presidential election, set for this Sunday, looks to almost everyone like a chaotic 39-way horse race. … featur[ing] … allegations of skulduggery, including fraud, bribery and … Russian meddling. … [T]he sheer diversity of the 39 candidates – representing different regions, interests, and ideologies – is a strong indication that genuine political competition is alive in Ukraine five years after the Maidan Revolution wrenched the country out of Russia’s orbit. Yet despite some success in efforts to bring European-style reform and democracy, the revolution’s promises remain largely unfulfilled.* * * … surveys show most people have run out of patience with the status quo and virtually all familiar politicians. … Ukraine’s economy is growing (albeit slowly), inflation has been tamed, and the financial sector stabilized after many dodgy banks were shut down. But per capita income, as a percentage of gross domestic product, remains well below the level of five years ago. Millions of Ukrainians have left the country – as many as 5 million heading west, and about 2 million moving to Russia. … [A]bout 5 million former Ukrainian voters … are now located in the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula and the rebel-held republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. …”

Click here for: “Ukraine votes: The incumbent, the populist, or the comedian? Ukraine’s Maidan Revolution brought hope and enthusiasm to Kiev, but now much of that energy has sapped away. Sunday’s presidential election has a chance to reinvigorate Ukrainian reform.” – Christian Science Monitor/ Fred Weir

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia