JRL NEWSWATCH: “Maybe We’ll Be Better Off With a Clown as President; Ukraine’s absurd election may turn out well for its people” – New York Times/ Alisa Sopova

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

“Branding himself ‘Ze,’ he campaigned mostly via social media postings and … touring the country with his comedy shows. Instead of substantive messages, he offered banter and mockery. … accused of being a clown instead of a serious candidate … Zelensky proudly agreed, posting a video selfie … with a round red nose …. asked to share his plans for […]

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Will Ukraine’s Fractured Electorate Create Another Power Turnover?

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

(PONARS Eurasia – Sergiy Kudelia, Associate Professor of Political Science, Baylor University – April 8, 2019) [Text with charts ponarseurasia.org/article/will-ukraines-fractured-electorate-create-another-power-turnover] (PONARS Eurasia) The first round of the presidential election in Ukraine on March 31 produced two frontrunners who will face each other in the run-off on April 21: challenger Volodymyr Zelensky (30.24 percent) and incumbent Petro Poroshenko (15.95 percent). Only […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Will a Comic Actor Become Ukraine’s Next President? Why Volodymyr Zelenskiy Won the First Round of Elections” – Foreign Affairs/ Melinda Haring

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

“… Front-runner Volodymyr Zelenskiy, an inexperienced 41-year-old comic television actor, came out on top, with even higher numbers than predicted. … 30 percent …. Incumbent … Poroshenko came in second with just under 16 percent. … fac[ing] off in a second-round runoff on April 21. … Poroshenko gets solid marks as a wartime president, but the economy is barely growing. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s TV President Is Dangerously Pro-Russian; Volodymyr Zelensky could become the country’s next real-life leader. If his show is any guide, Ukrainians should be worried.” – Foreign Policy/ Alexander J. Motyl

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

“… Unforgivable is the absence from [Zelensky’s television] show of Russia or … Putin. In its alternate universe, Crimea and Donbass are not occupied. There is no war. … no deaths. … no mention of Russian attempts to quash Ukrainian independence …. suggest[ing] either … Zelensky, who serves as the show’s executive producer, has no idea how to deal with […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “5 ways that Poroshenko can still win” – Kyiv Post/ Brian Bonner

Petro Poroshenko file photo, with additional men in background, adapted from image at state.gov

“… Most Ukrainian voters, however, see … [Poroshenko] as someone who squandered the clear mantle of leadership handed to him with a resounding 54 percent of the vote in 2014, securing a first-round knockout victory over ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, whose third presidential bid ended in failure on March 31. Voters say they see him as no better than all […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Ukrainian voters tired of atmosphere of hatred in country – Center for Current Politics director on outcome of first round of election” – Interfax

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

MOSCOW. April 1 (Interfax) – The outcome of the first round of the presidential election in Ukraine shows that voters are tired of the atmosphere of hatred and have a demand for a solution to vital internal problems, Alexei Chesnakov, Director of the Center for Current Politics, said. “The results received are a call on the political elite to stop […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine election turns ugly as president and comic reach run-off” – Financial Times/ Roman Olearchyk, Ben Hall

Column in Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

“Poroshenko expected to launch onslaught on Zelensky in bid to make up ground” “… exit polls indicated [that Volodymyr Zelensky] … convincingly won the first round of Ukraine’s presidential election …. The 41-year-old actor and comic[‘s] political experience is limited to playing an honest teacher elected president in a popular TV series …. [T]here was already anxiety … that the […]

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Russian State Media Highlights The Negative In Ukrainian Presidential Vote

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“As Ukrainians voted for a new president, Russians keeping track of the election on state TV were bombarded with coverage of Ukraine’s failures as an independent state and reports of alleged electoral fraud. … Incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, who has consistently played on the threat from Russia to rally his supporters, was not a popular choice in Moscow. …”

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Revolution That Wasn’t: Disillusioned Ukrainians Head to Polls” – Wall Street Journal/ Georgi Kantchev

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

“Frustrated with graft, their inability to join NATO and the EU and a conflict with Russia, voters make a politically inexperienced comedian their top candidate” “Five years ago, Ukrainians staged a revolution that sought to throw off a Russia-backed government and sweep away a corrupt ruling class. Europe and the West would pull the country into their orbit, reviving a […]

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How To Watch (And Understand) Ukraine’s Presidential Election

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

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Christopher Miller – KYIV – March 29, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/how-to-watch-(and-understand)-ukraine-presidential-election/29849578.html) The choice is stark. Stay the slow and not-quite-steady course with a deeply unpopular but seasoned leader who knows the ropes and has taken Ukraine westward despite foot-dragging on reforms and a failure […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s leading presidential candidate Zelenskiy denies dependence on oligarch Kolomoisky” – bne Intellinews/ Sergei Kuznetsov

“Ukrainian comic and presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy has denied any dependence on controversial oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky. … some experts and journalists in Kyiv are speculating that Zelenskiy is ready to de-nationalise … PrivatBank, co-owned by Kolomoisky …. Zelenskiy has strengthened his lead in the presidential elections, and now has nearly double the ratings of his rivals, according to the latest […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “What’s at Stake in Ukraine’s Presidential Election” – AP

File photo of statue of St. Volodymyr in Kyiv overlooking the Dnieper River, adapted from image at cia.gov

“Awash in corruption, plagued by a war with Russia-backed separatists, reliant on international institutions for billions of dollars in aid, Ukraine presents stern challenges for its next president. Sunday’s election, which will require a second round if none of the 39 candidates wins an absolute majority, comes five years after mass protests drove the pro-Russia president to flee the country. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Kharkiv’s pro-Russian protesters still mistrustful of Kiev; Some in Kharkiv see Ukrainian government as ‘illegitimate’ and will not vote in Sunday’s presidential elections” – Aljazeera/ Tamila Varshalomidze

Kharkiv at Sunset, file photo adapted from image at ua.usembassy.gov

“… Pro-European demonstrations born in 2013 on Kiev’s Independence Square – known as the Maidan protests – were copied in the country’s second-largest city, but … crowds were never more than about 300 people. … [A] sprawling pro-Russian protest camp occupied the central square in 2014 with Russian flags on display. … The differences that led to the split in […]

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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 […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Enjoys the Show in Tight Ukrainian Election; As Ukrainians head to the polls this weekend, the Kremlin is paying close attention” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Gershkovich – March 29, 2019 – themoscowtimes.com/2019/03/29/russia-enjoys-the-show-in-tight-ukrainian-election-a65015) A chocolate baron, a comedian who plays a president on television and a former prime minister hoping third time’s the charm. These are the leading candidates for the Ukrainian presidency as voters head to the polls on Sunday for the second time since the 2014 Maidan Revolution […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “‘Dirtiest’ Race Ever Drags Ukraine Election Into Perilous Waters” – Bloomberg/ Kateryna Choursina, Yulia Surkova

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

“… the first of two spots in an almost certain runoff next month looks wrapped up[;] a battle for the other is raging between incumbent Petro Poroshenko and ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Accusations are flying — everything from voter payoffs to wiretaps and shady donors. There’s even a decoy candidate …. Dirty tricks aren’t unique to Ukraine. They’re a common […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s 2019 Election: the End of Ideology and the Last Comedian [Excerpt]” – PONARS Eurasia/ Sergiy Kudelia

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

Sergiy Kudelia is Associate Professor of Political Science at Baylor University and a member of PONARS Eurasia. [Full text with charts: ponarseurasia.org/point-counter/article/kudelia-ukraine-2019-election?fbclid=IwAR3I3Y-JM4qgHgQ_guQPMZ5FHV4TPxbH-E1n3KqcgJiDAV5cypW3McQAHEs] The frontrunner in the Ukrainian presidential campaign is someone who has never held a government position and has no record of political or civic activism. Rather, Volodymyr Zelenskiy has risen to prominence by ridiculing on stage the very […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Zelensky projected to beat any opponent in 2nd round of Ukrainian presidential election” – Interfax

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

KYIV. March 20 (Interfax) – Ukrainian entertainer and presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to win in a second round of presidential elections no matter which of the other candidates he faces, as is evident from a poll the Social Monitoring public opinion survey service and the Oleksandr Yaremenko Ukrainian Institute of Social Studies conducted on March 11 to 18. […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Ukraine expecting 700 observers, 800 journalists to arrive for presidential election – State Border Service” – Interfax

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

KYIV. March 14 (Interfax) – Ukraine is expecting about 700 foreign observers and 800 foreign journalists to arrive for its presidential election of March 31, Ukrainian State Border Service spokesman Oleh Slobodyan said at a press briefing in Kyiv on Thursday. “Emphasis will be put on the arrivals of international observers and accredited media representatives. As of now, about 700 […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine Candidate Urges Talks to End Conflict in East” – AP

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

“A comedian leading Ukraine’s presidential race says the country needs to negotiate with Russia to put an end to fighting in the east. Volodymyr Zelenskiy … plays the nation’s president in a popular TV series [and] has surged ahead of … Poroshenko and … Tymoshenko [in a poll] …. He said he would encourage the United States and Britain to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Tymoshenko out of Ukraine top-two presidential candidates, new poll says” – bne Intellinews

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

“… Tymoshenko is losing public support ahead of the March presidential elections and after taking an early lead has now fallen out of the top two, according to the … Kyiv-based Razumkov Center …. [indicating] 17.5% [of] all respondents plan to vote for Ukrainian comic … Volodymyr Zelenskiy and [that] of those that said they will definitely vote in the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Losing the Plot – Ukraine’s Opposition Seeks a Strategy; Ukraine’s pro-Russian opposition is targeting next year’s parliamentary elections, not the presidential ones-so is Russia. But they cannot agree among themselves on who their leader should be and what their strategy is” – Carnegie Moscow/ Konstantin Skorkin

Rada File Photo

“Disoriented since the downfall of former president Viktor Yanukovych, the parts of Ukraine’s opposition more sympathetic to Russia have not disappeared. They are regrouping, with an eye mainly to next year’s parliamentary elections, seeing the presidential election as all but lost. But they have yet to find a common leader or unifying idea. …”

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Pre-election poll gives Poroshenko highest ‘anti-rating’ of all presidential candidates” – Kyiv Post/ Daria Shulzhenko

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

“… [incumbent President] Petro Poroshenko is facing an uphill battle for re-election ….  Nearly 50 percent of Ukrainians won’t vote for Poroshenko under any circumstances, according to [a] poll … conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, the Razumkov Center, and the Rating Group sociological organization. … giv[ing] Poroshenko the highest ‘anti-ranking’ …. The poll shows presidential candidate Yulia […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine president looses public support, poll says” – bne Intellinews

“[With Ukraine scheduling a presidential election for March 2019,] … Poroshenko … popularity [is declining], according to … [a] Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) [poll]. … Yulia Tymoshenko … [has] 22.8% support among decided voters. … followed by former defence minister Anatoliy Grytsenko (16%), populist Oleh Lyashko (13.2%), pro-Russian opposition leader Yuriy Boyko (10.6%) and Petro Poroshenko (10.5%). * […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Cessation of hostilities in Donbas Ukrainians’ biggest expectation from next president – poll” – Interfax

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

KYIV. June 26 (Interfax) – A cessation of fighting in eastern Ukraine is the prevailing requirement of the country’s citizens for the next president of Ukraine, being backed by 63% of respondents in a poll conducted by the Rating sociological group on June 14-24. Forty-nine per cent are expecting more efforts to fight corruption, 40% want a revival of manufacturing, […]

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Old Guard Clinches Mayoral Race on Edge of Ukraine’s Eastern War

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Daryna Krasnolutska – December 2, 2015) An opposition candidate backed by allies of Ukraine’s ousted pro-Russian leader won the mayoral election in Mariupol, a port city on the fringe of the nation’s 21-month war. Vadym Boychenko, an independent supported by the Opposition Bloc, a group dominated by members of ex-President Viktor Yanukovych’s now-defunct Party of Regions, […]

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Mariupol elections: will Donbas voters be represented in Ukrainian politics?

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

The Donbas is being airbrushed out of Ukrainian politics. This will only build another barrier to a united and democratic country. (opendemocracy.net – Vitalii Atanasov – November 26, 2015) Vitalii Atanasov is a freelance journalist, videographer and coordinator of media education projects at Kyiv’s Center for Social and Labor Research. He specialises in reporting on social inequalities, civil and labour […]

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Winning the peace in Slovyansk

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

In eastern Ukraine, grievances are still strong following local elections. The city of Slovyansk, where the separatist campaign began last year, may not be lost, but it still hasn’t quite been won (opendemocracy.net – Dan Peleschuk – November 11, 2015) Dan Peleschuk is a journalist based in Kyiv, Ukraine. He has previously reported from Moscow and elsewhere in the former […]

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BNE: Local elections in Ukraine pave the way for parliamentary crisis

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – KYIV BLOG: Sergei Kuznetsov in Kyiv – October 27, 2015) Local elections in Ukraine, held on October 25, predictably demonstrated a decline in public support for pro-Western political forces headed by the current president and prime minister. This outcome could trigger manoeuvring among other political players, including members of the ruling coalition, aimed at […]

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District 205: what the Chernihiv elections mean for Ukrainian politics

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

Ahead of municipal elections in October, Ukrainian politics gets dirty, hot and local in the northern town of Chernihiv. (opendemocracy.net – Valery Kalnysh – August 3, 2015) Valery Kalnysh is deputy editor of Ukraine’s Radio Vesti. Meteorologists in Ukraine called 26 July the hottest day on record for 80 years. But while temperatures reached 26 degrees in Chernihiv, some 140km […]

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Ukraine: Tainted Chernihiv Election Raises Concerns about Future Elections

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Subject: Ukraine: Tainted Chernihiv Election Raises Concerns about Future Elections Date: Mon, 27 Jul 2015 From: Freedom House <press@freedomhouse.org> Ukraine: Tainted Chernihiv Election Raises Concerns about Future Elections Washington – July 27, 2015 – Following a badly marred one-off parliamentary election July 26 in Chernihiv, Ukraine, marked by serious electoral irregularities before and after the vote, Freedom House released the […]

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Interfax: Ukraine to hold new local elections after decentralization amendments to constitution take effect – parliamentary speaker

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

KYIV. July 23 (Interfax) – After amendments to the Ukrainian constitution aimed at decentralizing the governance system take effect, Ukraine will hold new local elections, Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said. “After the constitutional amendments take effect, we will hold elections for local self-government bodies again, because these constitutional amendments invest territorial communities with absolutely different powers,” Yatsenyuk said at a […]

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Local Elections in Ukraine Could Work to Moscow’s Advantage and Undermine Ukraine’s Ability to Function

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

(Paul Goble – Staunton, July 7, 2015) Many analysts have warned that local referenda on autonomy in the Donbas could lead to “a parade of sovereignties” in Ukraine, threatening its survival (svpressa.ru/politic/article/126718/). But now Oleg Rybachuk says that local elections scheduled for this fall could also weaken Ukraine because the country is “not prepared for them.” In a commentary for […]

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Interfax: Poroshenko’s declarations drive Donbas peace talks to blind alley – Pushilin

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

MOSCOW. May 17 (Interfax) – The leadership of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic finds unacceptable the instructions given by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to Kyiv’s envoy to the subgroup for political issues Volodymyr Horbulin about the possibility of launching the dialogue on the modality of local elections in Donbas only after a complete ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy armaments […]

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Poroshenko ready for referendum on Ukraine’s state system

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Interfax – April 6, 2015) Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he is ready to hold a referendum regarding Ukraine’s state system. “I am ready to launch a referendum on the issue of the state system, if you see a need for that,” Poroshenko said at a meeting of the constitutional commission in Kiev on Monday. Poroshenko earlier said he is ready […]

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NEWSLINK Los Angeles Times: Ukrainian president says any vote on ceding power to rebels will fail

Petro Poroshenko file photo, with additional men in background, adapted from image at state.gov

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Monday signaled a readiness to let Ukrainian voters decide whether to decentralize their government but denounced the demands of pro-Russian separatists for independence as an “infection” spread from Russia. Los Angeles Times: Ukrainian president says any vote on ceding power to rebels will fail.

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Ukrainian Leader Is Open to a Vote on Regional Power

Petro Poroshenko file photo, with additional men in background, adapted from image at state.gov

President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine on Monday denounced calls for “federalization” of the country, which Russia has endorsed as a way of granting political autonomy to the areas of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists. Establishing greater local autonomy and governmental authority is widely viewed as crucial to settling the nearly yearlong war in the eastern regions of Donetsk […]

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Interfax: Nearly 20% would vote for Poroshenko in presidential elections – poll

File photo of Barack Obama and Petro Poroshenko facing one another, with Obama gesturing

KYIV. March 24 (Interfax) – As many as 19.4% of Ukrainians would vote for Petro Poroshenko in presidential elections in Ukraine if such were held now, as is seen from a public opinion survey conducted by the Razumkov Center sociological service presented at a press conference in Kyiv on Tuesday. Another 6.5% would vote for Lviv Mayor and Samopomich party […]

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New parliament, old ways in Ukraine

Rada File Photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – December 1, 2014) It should have been a great day in Ukraine’s effort to transform itself into a modern liberal democracy in the EU mould. The freshly elected Ukrainian parliament held its first session on November 27, completing the process of political transition from the kleptocratic autocracy of Viktor […]

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Ukraine’s Revolutionary No. 1 Goes to Parliament

Rada File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – November 2, 2014) In the history of Ukraine’s Maidan revolution, which ousted President Viktor Yanukovich in February, Mustafa Nayyem deserves prominent mention. A year after the journalist’s Facebook post drew the first protesters to Kiev’s main square, he’s now a freshly elected member of parliament, conflicted about his role and struggling to find […]

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Can Lviv Mayor Change Ukrainian Politics Once And For All?

Ukraine Map and Flag

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Daisy Sindelar, Halyna Tereshchuk – October 31, 2014) Andriy Sadovyy acts like a man with nothing to hide. In 2013, when the Lviv mayor purchased a new family home, he invited journalists to the house for a tour. And now, as his fledgling party prepares to enter the notoriously down-and-dirty world of parliamentary politics, Sadovyy says […]

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Ukraine President Tells Party to Back Yatsenyuk for PM

Arseniy Yatsenyuk file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Daryna Krasnolutska, Volodymyr Verbyany – October 31, 2014) Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko “suggested” his party support Arseniy Yatsenyuk for the post of prime minister. The president made the announcement on his Twitter account today, less than a week after Poroshenko’s and Yatsenyuk’s parties finished neck-and-neck as the top vote winners in Oct. 26 parliamentary elections. Pro-European […]

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Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk parties dispute victory in tight elections

Rada File Photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 30, 2014) The People’s Front party, founded and led by Ukraine’s prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, and President Petro Poroshenko’s eponymous Petro Poroshenko Bloc are disputing which of them won Ukraine’s landmark parliamentary elections held on October 26. At stake is the right to draw up a crucial programme of sweeping reforms on which […]

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