Saturday, April 01, 2006

Ukraine: The Status Quo

Igor Torbakov, in EDM:
Most Russian pundits agree that the recent Ukrainian elections once again underscored that politically, geographically, and linguistically, Ukraine is a divided country. However, the plurality of votes garnered by Viktor Yanukovych's allegedly "pro-Russian" Regions of Ukraine Party will not necessarily lead to Moscow having more leverage over Kyiv's politics. The trick is that the various dividing lines cutting across Ukraine prevent the executive -- or any other branch of power, for that matter -- from forming what in Russia and other post-Soviet lands is known as a "party of power." Ukraine's pronounced regional differences, so vividly reflected in the voting patterns, coupled with the recently enacted constitutional changes that gave more political clout to the local parliament, paved the way for the emergence of a political system in Ukraine that differs markedly from those existing in the other former Soviet republics. It is a system where there is no absolute winner. "From now on, no one in Ukraine will enjoy absolute power," one perceptive Russian observer has noted.

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