JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Lawmakers Offer Bill to Boost Aid for Ukraine Military” – Reuters

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“… [S]enators [from both parties] introduced legislation to back Ukraine with $300 million of annual military financing …. The bill also authorizes up to $4 million to train Ukrainian military officers, requires a [DOD] … and State Department report on the requirements of Ukraine’s armed forces and a plan to supply security assistance and requires the appointment of a special […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine Cease-Fire Begins in Tense Climate” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove

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

A cease-fire between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists … offer[s] the prospect of an end to a slow-burning conflict … claim[ing] thousands of lives in Eastern Ukraine … [Remaining] [p]oints of friction … includ[e] Russia’s control of … Crimea and Kyiv’s resistance to holding elections in separatist strongholds […]

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New Russian Policy Toward Ukraine: Citizenship Beyond the Borders

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

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Kennan Cable No. 54 – Igor Zevelev, Global Fellow; Former Professor at George Marshall European Center for Security Studies; Former Director, MacArthur Foundation, Moscow Office – July 9, 2020) A major change in Russian policy towards Ukraine is underway. Policymakers, experts, and the media across the world have focused mostly on the conflict in eastern […]

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The Map of Political Forces in Today’s Ukraine

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

“In contemporary Ukraine, political parties rarely survive more than one electoral cycle. The super-electoral year 2019 changed the party structure once again …. A year later, there is already palpable interest on the part of the citizenry in new parties, as people have started losing trust in the current ones […]

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Ukrainian President Names Saakashvili To Head Reform Council

Mikheil Saakashvili file photo

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has named former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to head the executive committee of Ukraine’s National Reform Council, created in 2014 to carry out strategic planning and coordinate reforms.

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Zelenskiy’s First Year: He Promised Sweeping Changes. How’s He Doing?

File Photo of Zelenskiy Extending Handshake, adapted from image at a subdomain of senate.gov

“… the first year since the 42-year-old comedic actor’s election has been chock full of ups and downs and twists and turns, with plenty of serious criticism … from constituents and international observers, not to mention an array of opponents. …”

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “With the World Distracted by Coronavirus, Hopes for Peace in Ukraine Are Dimming” – Wall Street Journal/ Ann M. Simmons

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

“Sound of gunfire and shelling has become part of everyday life in the city of Mariupol as hopes fade for an end to the war.” “… in eastern Ukraine … hopes for an end to the long-running war between Russian-backed separatists and Kyiv have faded since this winter’s tentative detente between … Putin and … Zelensky. … The conflict has […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s moment of truth” – Kyiv Post/ Kurt Volker

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

“… As the novel coronavirus increasingly impacts the country, the Verkhovna Rada must finally pass the banking legislation necessary to free up $8 billion in International Monetary Fund lending, and a further $1.5 billion from other sources. … Achieving peace and restoring Ukrainian sovereignty in eastern Ukraine and Crimea will never come as the result of a military victory. Peace […]

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Trade or Blockade? Economic Relations with Uncontrolled Territories in Moldova and Ukraine

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

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Kennan Cable No. 48 – Brian Milakovsky – March 9, 2020) Brian Milakovsky works in the development sector in Luhansk Oblast and has written about the Donbas economy since 2015. He has lived in Ukraine and Russia since 2009, working on both ecological and humanitarian issues. It is still too early to gauge the chances […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukrainian Leader Backs Calamitous Reshuffle to Deliver Results” – Bloomberg, Daryna Krasnolutska, Volodymyr Verbyany

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

“… Zelenskiy defended a cabinet reshuffle that unnerved investors and dismayed voters who’d backed him to clean up the country’s notoriously murky post-Soviet politics. The revamp swapped young newcomers picked to sever ties with the past for experienced hands whose task is to revive stuttering reforms. … [I]n one of Europe’s most corrupt nations, previous administrations are tainted by accusations […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Zelensky promises Ukrainians cheap loans to start business in attempt to stop people leaving the country” – Interfax

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

KYIV. Dec 3 (Interfax) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has announced a launch of the new state program dubbed ‘Come Back and Stay’. “Dear Ukrainians, I said during my swearing-in ceremony that there are 65 million of us Ukrainians across the globe, and our country badly needs you, your knowledge, your talents and mental values. We very much want you […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin wants to ‘understand’ Ukrainian leader’s approach to conflict settlement” – Interfax

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

(Interfax – Dec. 1, 2019) Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has said that the expected meeting between Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Paris would be “very useful” for understanding the Ukrainian leader’s vision for the implementation of the east Ukraine conflict settlement plan known as the Minsk accords. The meeting will “certainly be very useful because we […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Foreigners to be granted right to buy land in Ukraine only if permitted via nationwide referendum – Zelensky” – Interfax

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

KYIV. Nov 11 (Interfax) – Citizens of other countries and foreign companies will be granted the right to purchase Ukrainian land only if the Ukrainian people permit this via a referendum, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said. “Foreigners and companies whose founders include foreigners will be granted the right to purchase Ukrainian land, plots of Ukrainian land only if the Ukrainian […]

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Zelenskyy’s High-Stakes Russia Game

File Photo of Zelenskiy Extending Handshake, adapted from image at a subdomain of senate.gov

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Vitaliy Syzov – October 9, 2019 – wilsoncenter.org/blog-post/zelenskyys-high-stakes-russia-game) Vitaliy Syzov is chair of the Donetsk Institute of Information, an NGO working in the media field in Ukraine. He worked for ten years a journalist in regional and national media and graduated from the Political Science Department, History Faculty, at Donetsk National University in 2012. The […]

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Mission: Impossible? Ukraine’s New President Ventures To Reform Powerful State Spy Agency [Excerpt]

File Photo of Zelenskiy Extending Handshake, adapted from image at a subdomain of senate.gov

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Christopher Miller – KYIV, Aug. 17, 2019 – full article text appeared at rferl.org/a/ukraine-zelenskiy-reform-state-spy-agency-sbu-/30114589.html) When Ukraine’s domestic security service revealed last year that it had faked the death of a dissident Russian journalist to expose a team of hit men allegedly hired by Moscow to destabilize the country […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Zelensky, U.S. reps hope Donbas truce enacted on July 21 to be comprehensive, permanent” – Interfax

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

KYIV. July 26 (Interfax) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker and U.S. Representative to the European Union Gordon Sondland have discussed the current situation in the area of Kyiv’s Joint Forces Operation in Donbas, including the disengagement of forces and military hardware near Stanytsia Luhanska. “The sides expressed hope that the ceasefire enacted […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine Election: President’s Party Leads, Majority Unclear” – AP

Verkhovna Rada File Photo

“… Zelenskiy’s party has the most support in opinion polls ahead of Sunday’s snap parliamentary elections, but … a solid majority in the Verkhovna Rada is far from certain. Zelenskiy … took office in May, [yet] has been stymied by a parliament dominated by his opponents. He ordered the elections to be held three months earlier than scheduled in order […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Zelensky’s idea of multilateral Donbas summit has right to exist – Lavrov” – Interfax

Sergei Lavrov file photo

HIGH TATRAS (Slovakia). July 9 (Interfax) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s idea of a summit involving Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the United States has a right to exist, but emphasis should be put on direct dialogue between the conflicting sides, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the press on Tuesday. “This format, both the Normandy and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine President’s Party Leads Poll Ahead of July Election” – Reuters/New York Times/ Reporting: Natalia Zinets, Editing: William Maclean

Verkhovna Rada File Photo

“… ahead of a [July 21] snap parliamentary election …. [a] survey conducted by research group Reiting … showed Zelenskiy’s party, Servant of the People, … support[ed by] 37.3% of people who said they would vote. … The outgoing parliament … is dominated by loyalists of … Poroshenko. Servant of the People, campaigning on a pro-European, anti-corruption ticket, has no […]

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VIDEO: Ukraine’s President Promises NATO Referendum As Part Of Path To West

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – BRUSSELS, June 5, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/ukraine-president-promises-nato-referendum-as-part-of-path-to-west/29982943.html) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has promised to hold a referendum on NATO membership — a move strongly opposed by Moscow — as the country embarks on a path of European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Speaking in an interview […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Zelensky’s party seeking one-party majority in future Rada – election campaign head” – Interfax

Verkhovna Rada File Photo

KYIV. May 27 (Interfax) – The Servant of the People party has set itself the task of obtaining a one-party majority in the future Verkhovna Rada on the basis of an early parliamentary election. “We would not like to turn to other parties to form a coalition. Our ultimate goal is to form a coalition from one political force,” the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine oligarch urges Volodymyr Zelensky to default on debt; Concern grows over Igor Kolomoisky’s influence on the novice president” – Financial Times/ Max Seddon

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

“… Zelensky should … reject[] the [IMF] austerity programme and default[] on … external debt, according to his contentious oligarch supporter[] Igor Kolomoisky … [a suggestion that] will ring alarm bells with … western backers even though … Zelensky … said he would stick to the terms of Ukraine’s $3.9bn bailout. Concern among Ukrainians and western officials about … Kolomoisky’s […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Zelensky calls for tightening anti-Russian sanctions at meeting with U.S. delegation” – Interfax

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

KYIV. May 20 (Interfax) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has received representatives of the Administration and Congress of the United States who came to Kyiv to attend an official presidential inauguration ceremony. Zelensky thanked the U.S. for its leading role in regaining Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and for the assistance in promoting domestic reforms, according to the official presidential […]

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JRL RUSSIALINK: “Zelensky should prove readiness to settle Donbas conflict by complying with Minsk agreements – Slutsky” – Interfax

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

MOSCOW. May 20 (Interfax) – Russian State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Leonid Slutsky has said he is counting on the new Ukrainian parliament’s ability to pass legislation ensuring the implementation of the Minsk agreements. “In assuming office [Ukraine’s new President Volodymyr] Zelensky was saying the right things about the need to cease fire in Donbas. […] If that is […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “President Zelenskiy’s inauguration speech (Complete English Translation)” – Kyiv Post

Verkhovna Rada File Photo

“[note from JRL web editor: first full paragraph from source’s version of transcript follows:] Dear Ukrainians, After (my) victory at this election, my six-year-old son said, ‘Daddy, I was watching TV, they say Zelenskiy is the president. So it means I’m the president too, right?’ At the moment it sounded like a child’s joke. But later I understood that it […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Zelensky prioritizes ceasefire in Donbas, says ready to make unpopular decisions” – Interfax

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

KYIV. May 20 (Interfax) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has described a ceasefire in Donbas as his primary objective and said he is ready to make unpopular decisions, including ones that might lead to his resignation as the Ukrainian president, for the ceasefire’s sake. “Our primary objective is to enact a ceasefire in Donbas,” Zelensky said in his address to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s parliamentary coalition collapses, making snap elections impossible” – bne Intellinews

Verkhovna Rada File Photo

“The ruling coalition in the Ukrainian parliament … Verkhovna Rada[] collapsed … May 17 … [with] the withdrawal of the People’s Front faction, headed by former prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. According to Ukrainian legislation, the Verkhovna Rada should now keep working until the next parliamentary election … October 27, meaning president-elect … Zelenskiy will not be able to call a […]

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Zelensky’s Victory and Poroshenko’s Defeat Offer Three Unwelcome Lessons for Ukraine, Tsipko Says

Mariyinsky Palace file photo, adapted from image at cia.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 15, 2019) Aleksandr Tsipko, one of the most senior and thoughtful Soviet-Russian commentators, argues that the victory of Vladimir Zelensky and even more the defeat of Petro Poroshenko in the recent Ukrainian presidential elections offers three important but unwelcome lessons about and for Ukraine. The first, he writes in Nezavisimaya gazeta, […]

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Expectations for Kyiv-Moscow Relations After Ukraine’s Presidential Election

Mariyinsky Palace file photo, adapted from image at cia.gov

(PONARS Eurasia – Emmanuel Dreyfus – May 13, 2019 – ponarseurasia.org/memo/expectations-kyiv-moscow-relations-after-ukraines-presidential-election) Emmanuel Dreyfus is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the George Washington University. (PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) At first glance, Ukraine’s recent presidential election further confirmed the dramatic decrease of Russian influence in Ukraine. Not a single candidate based his or her […]

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‘Look at Us: Everything is Possible’ – Zelensky’s Existential Challenge to Putinism

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

“… Zelensky has so challenged … Putin’s vision of the world that he already has turned the Kremlin leader into his mortal enemy … According to … Russian sociologist [Eidman], Putin’s autocracy rests on the conviction … that there is no possibility of change. … But if what Zelensky has achieved in Ukraine is possible, then change is possible not only there but in Russia and … other post-Soviet states. …”

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Back In Parliament After Abrupt Release From Jail, Savchenko Praises Zelenskiy

Verkhovna Rada File Photo

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – KYIV – April 23, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/back-in-parliament-after-abrupt-release-from-jail-savchenko-praises-zelenskiy/29898734.html) Ukrainian lawmaker Nadia Savchenko has returned to parliament a week after she was unexpectedly released from jail, where she had been held for more than a year over allegations that she plotted a terrorist attack on […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Ukraine President-Elect Zelenskiy’s Positions on Russia, Explained” – Moscow Times

Mariyinsky Palace file photo, adapted from image at cia.gov

(Moscow Times – April 22, 2019 – themoscowtimes.com/2019/04/22/ukraine-president-elect-zelenskiys-positions-on-russia-explained-a65341) Volodymyr Zelenskiy will be inaugurated as Ukraine’s new president in about a month with questions still swirling about his true policy positions toward neighboring Russia. A native Russian speaker with no political experience, Zelenskiy has been accused by critics of having adopted a soft stance toward Russian aggression – including the annexation […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Helping Ukraine to Help Ourselves; Russia and the international community should take advantage of this window of opportunity.” – Moscow Times/ Igor Ivanov

File Photo of Igor Ivanov, adapted from image at defense.gov by Steven C. Welsh, www.stevencwelsh.info and www.stevencwelsh.com

“It is common knowledge that Russia and the leading Western states have wildly different assessments of the Ukrainian crisis with regard to its causes, nature and driving forces. Some of these differences will be very hard to overcome, particularly in the short term. … notwithstanding, it is absolutely clear that both Russia and the West should be extremely interested in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s TV President Is Dangerously Pro-Russian” – Foreign Policy/ Alexander J. Motyl

Mariyinsky Palace file photo, adapted from image at cia.gov

“Volodymyr Zelensky could become the country’s next real-life leader. If his show is any guide, Ukrainians should be worried. …” Alexander J. Motyl is a professor of political science at Rutgers University-Newark. Click here for: “Ukraine’s TV President Is Dangerously Pro-Russian” – Foreign Policy/ Alexander J. Motyl  

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RUSSIALINK: “Zelensky describes return of all Ukrainian POWs home as No. 1 task” – Interfax

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

KYIV. April 22 (Interfax) – Volodymyr Zelensky, who is winning the Ukrainian runoff presidential election according to exit polls, has described the liberation of Ukrainian prisoners-of-war and captives as No. 1 task of his team. “In my opinion, our task No. 1 is to bring back all captives, all prisoners of war, and our sailors. I have been talking with […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Ukraine’s Election Result Pleases Both Russia’s Opposition and the Kremlin; The two sides have for once found something they agree on – for different reasons” – Moscow Times

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Moscow Times – Evan Gershkovich – April 11, 2019 – themoscowtimes.com/2019/04/22/ukraines-election-result-pleases-both-russias-opposition-and-the-kremlin-a65325) Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a comedian and actor with no political experience, swept to victory on Sunday in the second round of Ukraine’s presidential election, in a race that has fascinated the country’s looming neighbor to the north. The victory triggered speculation in Russia on Sunday that relations between the neighboring […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Voter turnout in 2nd round of election in Ukraine reaches 61.37% – CEC” – Interfax

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

KYIV. April 22 (Interfax) – The voter turnout in the second round of the Ukrainian presidential election on Sunday reached 61.37%, which is less than in the first round of March 31, Ukrainian Central Elections Commission (CEC) Chairperson Tetiana Slipachuk said. “It turned out that the turnout in the second round was lower than on March 31. According to tentative […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia hopes Ukraine’s administration is ‘negotiable’ after election” – Interfax

Sergei Lavrov file photo

(Interfax – April 21, 2019) Moscow is most hopeful that the winner in Ukraine’s presidential election will possess an ability to negotiate and a willingness to implement ceasefire commitments in Donbass, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said. Speaking in the lead-up to the second round of voting, Lavrov suggested Russia gave little weight to campaign statements made by either […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Hacked Emails Appear To Reveal Russia Is Backing Comedian Likely To Be Ukraine’s Next President” – Newsweek/ Cristina Maza

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

“… hacked emails suggest … Zelenskiy may have a powerful patron of his own: the Kremlin. … Ukraine’s security services … are investigating whether Zelenskiy’s campaign received financing from members of the Russian security service … supporting the leadership of the Donetsk People’s Republic … self-proclaimed, pro-Russian separatist proto-state in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. … [A] Ukrainian hacking group associated […]

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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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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: “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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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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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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