Kremlin-Linked Forces in Ukraine’s 2019 Elections: On the Brink of Revenge?

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Series Details Number 25
Publication Date February 2019
ISBN 978-2-36567-981-7
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The 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine take place against the backdrop of the continuing “hybrid war” with Russia, but are also marked by the visible successes of the Ukrainian leadership in strengthening the country’s defenses, reviving its economic growth and implementing pro-European policies.

For the Kremlin, the stakes in these elections are high: for years, the entire Putin policy has been aimed at bringing Ukraine back into Moscow’s “zone of responsibility.” The Russian president has an opportunity to “get even” for all the losses he suffered in Ukraine from 2004 to 2014. The timing for this is good: Ukrainians have become tired of the mobilizational agenda and of anti-Russian rhetoric, and wish above all to improve their day-to-day well-being.

In these circumstances, the Kremlin’s primary objective has been to lower President Poroshenko’s ratings and take him out of competition in the first round of the presidential elections. To secure this outcome, Moscow has been building relationships with any opposition forces that fiercely reject the current leaders.

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