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Donetsk-based Kirill Cherkashin answered ISRIA's
questions following the election of Viktor Yanukovych as President
Kirill Cherkashin answered ISRIA's
questions following the election of Viktor Yanukovych as President
of Ukraine. Mr. Cherkashin is the Head of the Sociological
Service of the Center
for Political Studies (Donetsk, Ukraine), Candidate of
Political sciences and an Associate Professor of Political
Science at the Donetsk National University.
Summary: The possibility of court challenging
by Tymoshenko seems unlikely and the international observers
have unanimously recognized the elections as valid. Yet, the
second round of 2010 presidential elections in Ukraine was not "perfect" and
there have been some "manipulations", Cherkashin said.
Anyway, the Obama administration seems configured to cooperate
with Yanukovych in order to have a stable partner and a relative
stability in Ukraine. The economic issues will be top priority,
not geopolitics. Any membership to NATO is very unlikely as most
of the Ukrainian population develops anti-NATO sentiments rather
than just simply opposing the membership.
This page may be updated in the following
hours, with additional interviews,
1. Sources from Tymoshenko's staff said that there
may be court challenge regarding the holding of the elections
last sunday. Can one think Yanukovych is already the President
of Ukraine or should one wait for that the appropriate institutions
put forward their opinion?
K.C.: One can consider Yanukovich the legal
President of Ukraine only after his oath and assumption the office,
which is consistent both with the Ukrainian legislation and international
standards. As soon as CEC announces the results of the elections,
which will take place in the nearest future, he can be considered
the winner of the election campaign-2010. At least, until this
decision isn`t challenged in the court. Nevertheless, the possibility
of court challenging seems unlikely. Although there have been
some mutual distortions of the voters' true will, all the missions
of international observers recognized the elections valid and
passed in accordance with basic democratic standards.
2. In a statement delivered
by its embassy in Kiev, the United States commends the Ukrainian
people on the conduct of the second round of presidential elections,
does it mean Washington is fully ready to work with Yanukovych
K.C.: As we noted above, the second round of
presidential elections-2010 in Ukraine was not "perfect".
There have been some "manipulations", however, applied
by the two staffs and were unlikely to determine the outcome
of elections. Among such "manipulations", which are
questioning the democratic will of the procedure, are the following.
- 1. Artificial mobilization of voters (free delivery of
voters to polling stations; facts of "compulsion to
vote" in a number of organizations (not even for a particular
candidate, but generally),
- 2. Imperfect electoral law and making corrections to the
election law "at the last moment",
- 3. Uncertainty of operating procedures for voting at home
(without checking the supporting medical certificates) and
enrolling the voters to the list on the polling day,
- 4. Secrecy of some information about the voting results
on the official website of the Central Election Commission
of Ukraine (no data on the total number of voters in the
territories and the number of voters received ballots).
In our view, such a rapid acceptance of democratic Ukrainian
elections-2010, while some "issues" would occur, indicates
that the administration of Barack Obama is configured to cooperate
with Yanukovych. Apparently, this is due to three factors.
- 1. Recognition of his Yanukovych's greater popularity in
the Ukrainian society.
- 2. Unreliability and dubious of his rivals (including "the
case of Lazarenko", Tymoshenko`s populist statements,
- 3. Desire to have a stable partner and a relatively stable
situation in Ukraine. This could provide the leaders of the "Orange
Movement" (Yushchenko, Tymoshenko) that came to power
in the wake of the fight against falsification of elections-2004.
In recent years, they expressed the opinion of the minority
population of Ukraine and, therefore, they were unable to
secure the stability in large areas of Ukraine.
3. Some commentators in Washington D.C. seem surprised
by this announcement which "has been issued too quickly",
they say. Does it show any change in how the Obama administration
deal with Ukraine compared to Bush's?
K.C.: Apparently, the administration of Barack
Obama wants to "disown" the already losing "orange
project" of Bush in Ukraine, and to demonstrate that the
relationships between the two countries will be built in a new
way (probably as in the early years of President Leonid Kuchma).
4. Most experts say that the top priority for Yanukovych
won't be to make any choice between the EU and Russia but to
deal with the economic crisis. Do you agree with this statement
and what is your appreciation of the economic situation in
K.C.: We agree with the assertion that the
priority for the Yanukovich will be not the geopolitical, but
economic issues. Since, geopolitically Ukraine is in "stuck",
the greater integration with the EU is not possible. Among other
reasons due to if only because of economically disadvantaged
situation in the country and anti-Western sentiments of a large
segment of the population; too much integration with Russia would
not benefit the Ukrainian political elite, as they face loss
of power. The new president will practice "multidirectional" cooperation
with the West and Russia. The economic problems are really acute,
as they have been precipitated by the global economic crisis
and, above all, the political instability of recent years within
the country. The new president will have to talk about economic
problems and will have to solve them. I am not an economist,
so it is difficult to give a detailed assessment of the economic
situation in the country, but in general it is not satisfactory
(for the reasons mentioned above). Key figures: 1) low standards
of living (even in comparison with neighboring countries, the
former USSR states), 2) the lack of perspectives of thoughtful,
purposeful, and above all efficient and complete economic reforms.
5. Can one say that with the election of Yanukovych,
Ukraine's ambition to get NATO membership is over?
K.C.: Certainly, Mr. Yanukovich will not act
as a supporter of the country's accession to NATO. However, Ukraine
will continue to apply forces, which will not abandon this idea,
and will consider it for themselves as one of the key ones (the
nationalist and national-democratic "movements"). The
need for entry the NATO will be defended by the "right opposition" ( "Our
Ukraine", part of the YTB). Although, this idea is very
unfruitful, because a large proportion of the population is not
simply against joining the Alliance, but is very opposed and
claims "anti-NATO" ideas.
6. In 2004 when the Orange revolution changed the political
landscape in Ukraine, the West supported now former President
Viktor Yushchenko, especially because of his poisoning with
dyoxine. Is there any credible information today about who/what
was behind such an attempt?
K.C.: This case in Ukraine is already quiet
one. Recently it has not been updated in the public consciousness.
For most people, everything
remains a mystery - as what had actually happened, and who had been involved
in this. Presumably, the majority of people have a little faith in the version
of the poisoning. They are inquiring: "Otherwise, why this high-profile
case has still not been solved?". The detractors of President Yushchenko
(who are of considerable amount nowadays) share these prevailing ideas: 1)
the poisoning was due to a bad plastic (cosmetology) tampering with the appearance
of Mr. Yushchenko, and 2) the "poisoning" bore artificial and deliberate
nature, in order to provide Yushchenko on the eve of 2004 elections with a
status of "victim" of the old regime, with increased chances of winning
as a result.
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