Ukraine – Trying to build a future beyond the past

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Series Details June 2014
Publication Date June 2014
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On 25 May 2014 Ukrainian businessman Petro Poroshenko became Ukraine’s fifth President, winning in the first round with some 54% of the vote, far ahead of Yulia Tymoshenko. While Poroshenko has been involved in Ukrainian politics for several years, including a short stint in the government of disposed President Viktor Yanukovych, his support and involvement in the EuroMaiden anti-government protests, along with the decision of Vitali Klitschko to drop out of the presidential race and support Poroshenko’s candidacy, were key to his success.

The result has provided Ukraine with a legitimate, democratically elected leader and underlined that Ukrainians overwhelming support a united country. Given that Poroshenko ran a pro-European, pro-reform campaign, it also demonstrates that Ukrainians want a European future in a peaceful, democratic, law abiding state. The high turnout (some 60%), including some thousands of voters traveling from occupied Crimea, and others risking the violence in the East, has debunked the narrative that Ukraine is a divided state.

While Poroshenko’s election offers Ukraine a chink of hope for the future, the challenges are enormous, with the country occupied (Crimea) and crisis-ridden. For the last quarter of a century Ukraine’s political elites and oligarchs have systematically worked to consolidate their power and wealth, turning some regions into fiefdoms and creating self-serving power structures that have drained the state and left many ordinary Ukrainians destitute. To all intents and purposes Ukraine needs to be rebuilt from scratch. This will require delivering on a number of key issues related to democracy, security, corruption and economic development.

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ESO: Key source: Ukrainian presidential election, 2014
ESO: Key Source: Euromaidan - Protests in Ukraine 2013 - 2015 - Key source

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