Before I start, I must warn you there are two Viktors, who share the same initials to make matters worse.
The Orange Revolution in Ukraine faces its biggest test as the presidential elections head into a run-off.
Opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych secured the most votes, but not enough to meet the threshold, in the election, followed by the current PM Yulia Tymoshenko.
The current president, Viktor Yushchenko, did not poll enough votes and is alimented from the run-off.
The players in this drama. From left to right: Viktor Yuschenko, Yulia Tymoshenko, and Viktor Yanukovych.
The situation is grim for the groups responsible for the Orange Revolution, who came to power following the events of the Orange Revolution in late 2004 and early 2005 after a lot of optimism and support from the people.
These came in response to the 2004 elections, where Viktor Yushchenko (the current president) ran off against Viktor Yanukovych. The voting had initially indicated that Yanukovych had won, but Yushchenko accused the elections of being fraudulent. After producing evidence of it being as such, the Ukrainian authorities refused to recognize it.
This led to mass demonstrations, termed the Orange Revolution, organized by Viktor Yushchenko's "Our Ukraine" (center-right) political group, Oleksandr Moroz's "Socialist Party of Ukraine", Petro Symonenko's Communist Party of Ukraine, and Yulia Tymoshenko's collection of center-left parties.
International attention was focused on the incident when Yushchenko was the victim of dioxin poisoning, which nearly killed him. While not proven, a conspiracy suggested that pro-Russian elements in Ukraine had poisoned him, possibly encouraged by Russian authorities. The damage left him with scars.
The Ukranian government eventually folded and ordered a second run-off, where Yushchenko won by a fair margin in 2005. A constitutional change also took place for parliamentary elections, changing from single-member districts to proportional representation.
Yushchenko's victory marked a new era for Ukraine. The main difference between the supporters of the Orange Revolution and those who supported Yanukovych was their position on Russia. Those who were part of the Orange Revolution wanted Ukraine to gravitate more towards the European Union and NATO, and away from Russia.
However, Yanukovych (the loser), did not give up and rallied the pro-Russian parties around him and put up stiff opposition to the Orange Revolution politicians. This denied the Orange Revolution a victory in 2006, making Yanukovych the Prime Minister and causing problems until an election was called in 2007 due to parliamentary deadlock, where he was unable to have a majority around the coalition of Orange parties, handing the Prime Minister role to the co-pilot of the Orange Revolution, Yulia Tymoshenko.
The Yushchenko/Tymoshenko coalition proceeded to advance the Orange Coalition's agenda, but were unable to secure progress on admission to the E.U. or NATO. Divisions in the politics of Ukraine became highlighted during the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008, where Yushchenko's attempt to take a hardline stance against Russia was met with opposition from Tymoshenko. The two were already different political ideologies, and inevitably the alliance the two shared fell apart.
Confidence in the government plummeted during the gas disputes with Russia, notably in 2009 where gas was cut off to Ukraine and much of Europe.
With all the issues and division, the government was unable to advance its promises to the people, leading to a significant plummet in popularity of Yushchenko who had once enjoyed strong support from the people.
The 2010 elections saw the orange coalition largely gone. Yushchenko and Tymoshenko ran against each other, as well as the familiar Yanukovych who saw the opportunity to get into power by playing off their divisions.
What is at stake here? Quite simply, Ukraine's future alignment. As Yanukovych's party and his alliances with the anti-orange groups hold a strong command of parliament, a victory in the presidential polls will signal death for the Orange Revolution, and Ukraine's re-alignment with Russia. Tymoshenko can find a way to secure victory if she gets the support of those who voted for Yushchenko, but there would still be the matter of rebuilding the old Orange Coalition.
Well, in this case I'm rooting for Tymošenko, seeing as how Juščenko's messed up so much. The whole gas fiasco didn't just affect his own country, but large parts of Europe. My own grandparents in Budapest depend on that gas, I wouldn't want him remaining if he's going to butt heads with Russia at every oppurtunity. Seeing as the Russians are going to build a new pipeline through the Baltic Sea instead, Ukraine will also probably become much more vulnerable to similar situations in the future, once that's completed.
That and I've never really trusted the Russians, I think they're suspicious. They're smart, that's for sure, but I've never been able to shake the feeling that below that nice exterior hides a dirty, unwashed core. Politovskaja, Litvinenko, Jukos, all those just seem a little too suspicious to happen with such short intervalls, not to mention the war with Georgia and that new law in Russia that any new NGO to be formed will have to obtain a government permit to do so. That just smells fishy.
Not to mention that Janukovič belongs to the party that rigged elections that caused the Orange Revolution. I'd never vote for a party that has messed with election results, no matter if I agree with them or not.
Nederbörd;5214037 Not to mention that Janukovič belongs to the party that rigged elections that caused the Orange Revolution. I'd never vote for a party that has messed with election results, no matter if I agree with them or not.
That very thing is what ended up causing a fairly low turn out (below 50%) for the initial election. The three main candidates had problems with the populace and led to apathy.
Though the second run-off might have a larger turnout when people realize what's at stake.
Wanna go Double Dutch?
9th December 2003
Persoanlly I'd probably favour Tymošenko over both Juščenko and Janukovyč.
The later two both seem to be a bit stubborn and focus too much on one etity or the other (EU and Russia respectively). Though as far as I know Janukovyč still wishes to keep stable relations with the EU, which is a lot better then being hostile towads them. So if he will win, internationally the difference might be small. So if I had to picke one candidate I'd look more into the national plans first, though in the end I would almost certainly not support Janukovyč due to the election fraud. Just like Nederbörd said, no matter your orientation, fraud is unacceptable. Sothat's why in the end I'd probably favour Tymošenko.
Too bad about the grid lock and the coalition falling apart, not much seems to have changed since the previous elections.
Tymoshenko seems to be the more "moderate" in regards to their foreign relations, but that might be her undoing when she's in office because it's becoming increasingly difficult to navigate between the interests of the EU and Russia.
She will need to see if she can salvage anything in the parliament, because she might run into the same problems that Yuschenko ran into dealing with the sizable bloc that Yanukovych has (and the votes he some how manages to rake in).
Though even she's moderate, doesn't she lean somewhat more towards the EU than towards Russia? At least, that's always been my impression of her.
Nederbörd;5215214Though even she's moderate, doesn't she lean somewhat more towards the EU than towards Russia? At least, that's always been my impression of her.
Oh of course, that's why she joined in the orange revolution in the first place. However at the same time she doesn't want to do anything to get Russia pissed off like Yushchenko ended up doing. Again, this was highlighted in their differences in approaching the Georgia Invasion. Yushchenko wanted to issue a strong condemnation of Russia while Tymoshenko didn't want to enrage Russia. Particularly since they are, for better or worse, neighbors and having poor relations with Russia will continue to cause gas problems, and by extension damage their reputation with the rest of Europe. She would much rather try and keep Russia neutral rather than into a bad neighbor.
From what I have been reading Viktor Yanukovych has the majority vote but not enough majority to escape a runoff vote.
Viktor Yanukovych has already said he has no intentions of Ukraine joining NATO.
This probably would not bode well for Georgia to ahve a former Ally against Russia turn hostile.
Not only a former ally against Russia, but if I remember it right, then Ukraine were in a military alliance together with Moldova and Azerbaijan. Don't really remember the name though... GUSP or GUPS or something of the like. It would be most disadvantageous for Georgia if Janukovyč was elected.
Though if it'd be a runoff vote, most Juščenko voters would probably go over to Tymošenko, probably tipping the balance in her favour, or?
Yeah, I think considering the situation they'll turn out in favor of her.
This is in the case they won't be apathetic though, which I hope they won't.