Democracy in Ukraine: Elections 2012

Director’s Note: I am bumping this post, entered on September 5, because the elections are ten days away. While we will still look at other parts of the former Soviet Empire during this period, our focus until October 28 will be Ukraine. Matthew Lina, our resident Ukraine scholar, has holed up with enough caffeine and sugar products to see him through the next fortnight; expect more from him during that time.

In October, Ukraine will go to the polls to elect its Verkhovna Rada, or Parliament. We have had a special focus on Ukraine to date because one of our scholars lives and works there; because Ukraine is by population the largest of the former Soviet Socialist Republics; and because the unique confluence of so many demographic, political, and economic trends there makes the country a proving ground both for the post-Soviet states and for the European Union (and to a lesser extent the United States).

For this reason, we expect to turn a significant portion of our attention to Ukraine in the coming weeks. This is a critical chance to test Ukraine’s commitment to democracy, both by the Government and by the Opposition. Kyiv has promised elections that improve on 2010’s — widely accorded the label of “free and fair” — and has invited election observers for that reason. Yulia Tymoshenko is asking the Council of Europe to declare the election invalid before it even happens.

Exciting times are ahead.


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