Turmoil in the Ukraine

Dec. 6, 2004, midnight | By Fidan Karimova | 15 years, 11 months ago

Disputed results of a presidential election

On Friday, Dec. 3, the Ukrainian Supreme Court agreed on a new date for the country's hotly contested presidential election. The re-election will take place on Dec. 26, according to The Washington Post. Local residents with ties to the Ukraine had mixed reactions.

During the initial Nov. 21 election, Prime Minister Victor Yanukovych was declared president. His opponent, Victor Yushchenko, then stated that he was robbed of his victory because of an alleged fraud that took place during voting. Yushchenko's hundreds of thousands of supporters filed out to the streets of Ukraine, wearing orange (Yuschenko's campaign color) to protest the allegedly unfair election results. Kiev, Lviv and several other cities announced they would only recognize Yushchenko as the winner.

Yushchenko wants Ukraine to be allied chiefly with the West and the European Union (EU). Yanukovych sees Ukraine's destiny as tied to Russia, which supplies the country with its energy needs. Yanukovych also has the support of Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, and the current Ukrainian president, Leonid Kuchma.

Many Ukranians are still unsure what to expect from the vote that will determine their future. Sixteen-year-old Natasha Svetlovna, a Ukrainian citizen currently living in America, explains that this event has been very nerve-racking for her. "This whole thing is kind of scary. I don't sleep at night, and watch the news,” she said. What worries her most is America's one-sidedness on the issue. "America is saying it doesn't support Ukraine's prime minister and I think even if Yanyukovich wins the re-election, America will still not recognize him,” she says.

Senior Yulya Romanova, a student from Wilson High School in D.C., believes that this disagreement will destroy the country. "I think Ukraine will eventually be divided into three different regions: the West – in the area of Polsha, East side and Krim, which will most likely go to the Russians.”

What bothers Romanova the most is America's part in the event. "Americans are saying that Russia should not get involved with the elections in Ukraine, while they themselves are getting involved.”

Alexey Gregorievich, a chemistry teacher at the Russian Embassy in D.C., mentions that hatred has been growing in the country. "Most people don't know [this], but people have been kicked out of universities because they have been voting for Yanukovich. [In addition], Yushchenko's side is paying people 300 Ukrainian hryvnias ($56.27) in order to have them out on the streets and protesting. Most of them are poor people, who take this event as an opportunity to obtain money,” he alleges.

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