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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U.S. Special Envoy To Ukraine Says Russian Propaganda Hindering Peace Efforts

File Photo of Kurt Volker and W. Bruce Weinrod, adapted from image at defense.gov with photo credit to Senior Airman Nathan Lipscomb

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – WASHINGTON, Aug. 16, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/u-s-special-envoy-to-ukraine-says-russian-propaganda-hindering-peace-efforts/30112993.html) The U.S. special peace envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, says Russian propaganda is making it a challenge to solve the conflict in the east of the country. Speaking to RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service in Washington, Volker said Moscow’s […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “New technique shows Putin lying about MH17” – Kyiv Post/ Askold Krushelnycky

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

“A scientific technique … to spot deception … studying minute changes in facial expressions has been used to demonstrate that Kremlin dictator … Putin was lying when denying Russian responsibility for shooting down the Malaysian airliner over Ukraine … July 17, 2014, killing all 298 … aboard. The technique and analysis of Putin’s speech were described at a public meeting […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Significant progress on security issue since truce began – DPR” – Interfax

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

DONETSK. July 31 (Interfax) – The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) notes significant progress on security after yet another truce came into effect, DPR foreign minister Natalia Nikonorova told journalists on Wednesday. “At today’s meeting of the security subgroup, negotiators noted substantial progress in the security situation, due to the introduction (agreed on at the last meeting) of the truce […]

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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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RUSSIALINK: “Ukraine Seizes Russian Tanker Over Kerch Incident, Frees Crew” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 25, 2019) Ukraine has seized a Russian oil tanker in the Ukrainian port of Izmail over a November 2018 incident between the two countries in a strategic strait near Crimea. The Ukrainian security services (SBU) said that the tanker had been involved in the Kerch Strait incident in which Russia captured a Ukrainian ship […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Rebels without a Cause: Russia’s Proxies in Eastern Ukraine” – International Crisis Group

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

“Russia and the separatists it backs in Ukraine’s east are no longer quite on the same page, especially since the Kremlin abandoned ideas of annexing the breakaway republics or recognising their independence. The rift gives the new Ukrainian president an opportunity for outreach to the east’s embattled population, including by relaxing the trade embargo. … * * * Resolving the […]

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As Soldiers Disengage, ‘Fragile Hope’ For Peace Appears In One Front-Line Ukrainian Town

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

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Christopher Miller – STANYTSYA LUHANSKA, Ukraine, July 18, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/as-soldiers-disengage-fragile-hope-for-peace-appears-in-one-front-line-ukrainian-town/30062713.html) Beyond the series of checkpoints manned by armed guards with bomb-sniffing dogs in this battle-scarred town lies a mile-long stretch of no man’s land that’s one of most dangerous places in Ukraine. […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia, Ukraine Agree [to] ‘Comprehensive’ Cease-Fire in Donbass” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 18, 2019) Russia, Ukraine and Europe’s top security body have announced an “indefinite” ceasefire in eastern Ukraine that analysts hail as a substantial step toward ending the five-year conflict. The war between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region has killed 13,000 people since it broke out in 2014. Sporadic fighting […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The roots of Putin’s power over Russia; Four new books examine the leader’s hold over the vast nation through the lens of history” – Financial Times/ John Lloyd

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“… Putin is a gambler. Russia’s population is shrinking, its real-terms wages and gross national income per head are tumbling, it has failed to create successful industries and services and is blighted by entrenched corruption – and yet its president behaves like a poker player with a royal flush. … form[ing] a close relationship with [China’s] President Xi Jinping … […]

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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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West Now Wants Rapprochement with Moscow More than at Any Time since 2014, Inozemtsev Says

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 6, 2019) Ukraine faces a serious problem, Vladislav Inozemtsev says. The West as recent events show is more ready for a rapprochement with Moscow than at any time since 2014, and Kyiv over that period has based almost its entire strategy on the idea that it is “defending democratic Europe from […]

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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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‘Zelensky’s Absurd Actions have had a Pro-Russian Result,’ Tsipko Says

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

(Paul Gobble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 4, 2019) It has often been said Ukrainians cannot expect the West to be more ready to stand up to Russian aggression than they are, an observation particularly disturbing now that Igor Kolomoysky, Vladimir Zelensky’s prime backer, has accepted Moscow’s version of the conflict as a civil war (actualcomment.ru/kolomoyskiy-podderzhal-rossiyskuyu-versiyu-konflikta-v-donbasse-1907041321.html). But the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Donbas crisis escalating – DPR” – Interfax

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

DONETSK. July 2 (Interfax) – The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) believes that the situation along the Donbas contact line is becoming tenser every day, while hostilities may be intensified at any moment. “The situation along the entire contact line is heated up every day, as the escalation is constantly on the rise. The intensity and density of attacks on […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Ukrainization should be ‘quite mild’ – Zelensky’s envoy to Verkhovna Rada” – Interfax

Verkhovna Rada File Photo

KYIV. July 1 (Interfax) – A Ukrainian presidential envoy to the Verkhovna Rada, and candidate number two on the Servant of the People party election list, Ruslan Stefanchuk, believes that one needs to fight for the Ukrainian language offering “quality, but not harassment.” “As for the law on language, there are several positions. Firstly, the Ukrainian language is a state […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin has nothing to add to Putin’s remark on Zelensky’s call for freeing Ukrainian sailors – Peskov” – Interfax

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

MOSCOW. July 1 (Interfax) – Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has invited journalists to reread Russian President Vladimir Putin’s comments on Ukrainian sailors detained following the Kerch Strait incident. “As regards replying to the emotional appeal of the Ukrainian president, I think I have nothing to add to what Putin has already said during the final press conference in Osaka. As […]

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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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Public Opinion Paradoxes? Russians Are Increasingly Dubious About the Costs of Putin’s Foreign Policies

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(PONARS Eurasia – Harley Balzer – May 20, 2019) Harley Balzer is Professor Emeritus of Government and International Affairs, and founding Director, Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies, at Georgetown University. (PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) Recent survey and focus group data indicate that Russians increasingly are questioning whether some of President Vladimir Putin’s policies are worth the price […]

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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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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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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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Fighting to be seen: how Ukrainian and Russian professional women are securing their place in public

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

In Ukraine and Russia, civil society and professional associations are helping women experts to raise their profile in the public arena. (opendemocracy.net – Olena Strelnyk – May 13, 2019 – opendemocracy.net/en/odr/female-experts-in-russia-and-ukraine-en/) Olena Strelnyk is a writer and researcher on gender issues. She is a doctor of sociology, and lives and works in Ukraine. “A 32-year-old blonde woman is now acting […]

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Key to Putin’s Passport Offers to Ukrainians? Russia’s Shrinking Labor Force

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

(Russia Matters – Simon Saradzhyan – April 30, 2019 – russiamatters.org/blog/key-putins-passport-offers-ukrainians-russias-shrinking-labor-force) Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent decree to make it easier for residents of some separatist-controlled parts of Ukraine to get Russian citizenship has drawn criticism not only from Kiev but from key partners of the Ukrainian government, such as the U.S., EU and individual EU states. His subsequent statement […]

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Ukraine’s New Language Law ‘Best Gift to Putin’ Since Russian Invasion Began, Pastukhov Says

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

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 29, 2019) Not because of its goal but because of its methods, Kyiv’s new language law does not serve Ukrainian national interests in unifying society or integrating with Europe, Vladimir Pastukhov says. Instead, it represents “the best gift to Putin” he has received since he launched his invasion of Ukraine in […]

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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: “Center for issuing Russian passports to LPR residents starts working in test mode in Rostov region” – Interfax

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

NOVOSHAKHTINSK. April 29 (Interfax) – A center for issuing Russian passports to residents of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) has opened in Novoshakhtinsk, Rostov region. “The center begins operation in test mode today. We are now accepting documents from authorized persons of the LPR. We will increase the number of such points as the number of applications increases,” Kirill […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How the Obama White House engaged Ukraine to give Russia collusion narrative an early boost” – The Hill/ John Solomon

File Photo of Susan Rice and Barack Hussein Obama in St. Petersburg Russia, with Mural of St. Petersburg Scene in Background, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“As … Trump began his meteoric rise … the Obama White House summoned Ukrainian authorities to Washington …. Ukrainian participants said it didn’t take long … to realize the Americans’ objectives included two politically hot investigations: one that touched … Biden’s family and one that involved a lobbying firm linked closely to then-candidate Trump. … [O]ne of the earliest documented […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “It’s Time to Rethink Russia’s Foreign Policy Strategy” – Carnegie Moscow/ Dmitri Trenin

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

“A broad public discussion on Moscow’s foreign policy goals and objectives is long overdue. International issues are affecting the interests of Russian society as a whole more and more, making it necessary for private citizens to take a greater interest in their country’s conduct abroad, especially in the single continental space that is Greater Eurasia.” “It has been just over […]

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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: “President Zelenskiy is the wind of change” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

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

“… Now the hard part starts. Zelenskiy has swept a deeply unpopular oligarch from the presidency not because he has something special to offer voters but because they were deeply disappointed with Poroshenko’s failure to deliver on the promises implicit in the Euromaidan uprising in 2014. Poroshenko, a minister in the regime of ousted president Viktor Yanukovych, was still a […]

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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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Poroshenko has Suffered Fate of Winston Churchill, Khandurin Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 22, 2019) Just as British voters rejected Winston Churchill after he had led the country to victory in World War II because they wanted a new leadership for peacetime, so too Ukrainian voters have rejected Petro Poroshenko after he led his country in standing up to Russian aggression over the last […]

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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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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Frolov: Zelenskiy’s presidency won’t be a picnic for Moscow” – Meduza

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“… columnist and former diplomat Vladimir Frolov argues [in a separate op-ed] that … Zelenskiy’s likely presidency in Ukraine is a mixed bag for Moscow. … [that] the Kremlin initially hoped only that … Poroshenko’s re-election would leave him battered and pave the way to future success for a Russia-friendly parliamentary opposition …. [republic.ru/posts/93574] Zelenskiy comes without Poroshenko’s toxicity in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Comic Who Vowed to Unite Ukraine Wins Votes in East and West” – AP

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

“… With nearly all ballots counted, Zelenskiy had 73% … compared … Poroshenko’s 24%. [OSCE m]onitors … said the election … respect[ed] … ‘fundamental freedoms’ and set the stage for a ‘democratic and orderly transfer of power.’ The first-time candidate, who stars in a TV sitcom about a high school teacher who becomes president almost by accident, appeared to have […]

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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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JRL NEWSWATCH: “A Shadow over Ukraine’s Presidential Election” – International Crisis Group/ Katharine Quinn-Judge

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

“With Ukraine’s establishment forecasting doom after the presidential runoff, the far right’s influence on politics is impossible to ignore. Its resurgence is both a symptom and a cause of the country’s ills: there is less daylight between it and the political mainstream than either admits.” “… Zelensky’s campaign has hinged on shying away from policy specifics …. appealing to voters […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why frustrated Ukrainians may elect a comedian as president” – Christian Science Monitor/ Fred Weir

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

Whom do voters turn to when elected leaders disappoint? Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko looks set to be trounced in elections Sunday, but not because of approval for his opponent, a TV comedian. “… Ukrainians seem ready to overwhelmingly elect a political novice, a comedian whose main claim to fame is that he played a president on TV …. Many in […]

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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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