News / Europe

Analysts See Notable Differences Between Ukrainian, Russian Elections

Ukrainian voters
Ukrainian voters
Peter Fedynsky

Political observers have praised the recent Ukrainian elections, saying the outcome of Sunday's second round contest between Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and one of her predecessors, Viktor Yanukovych, is not predetermined.  That's in stark contrast to neighboring Russia, where the 2008 election of President Dmitri Medvedev was a forgone conclusion.  VOA Moscow Correspondent Peter Fedynsky contrasts presidential elections in two former Soviet republics.

About 3,000 foreign election observers declared that, despite a few irregularities, the first round of Ukraine's presidential election on January 17 met international standards for honesty.

Joao Soares, is President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, which facilitates dialogue among members of the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe.

"This election was a very good election,said Joao Soares. "It was election of high quality. It offered the voters genuine choice between candidates, and it showed significant progress over previous elections."

The OSCE did not send observers to monitor Russia's 2008 presidential vote citing restrictions imposed by the Russian government.

Liliya Shibanova is head of the independent Russian monitoring group, Golos. She says the organization received a steady stream of complaints about ballot box stuffing, false voter registration and use of multiple ballots.

"What we've observed at polling stations is a lack of control, dependence of the election commissions on the authorities, on the election organizers, massive violations of the political competition and of the election procedure on the whole," said Liliya Shibanova.

Media access before the election was a problem too.

During the Russian presidential campaign, Dmitri Medvedev, in his  capacity then as deputy prime minister, was featured almost daily on state-controlled news programs but opponents were largely excluded.  

The Kremlin's media grip has prompted several prominent Russian journalists to move their programs to Ukraine.

They include Savik Shuster, who now hosts a political talk show from Kyiv. 

"Look, the program runs live, all political parties are present, and the lawmakers are talking, arguing, debating," said Savik Shuster.

In Ukraine, presidential contenders Tymoshenko and Yanukovych have been seeking the support of candidates they defeated in the first round, especially Serhiy Tihipko.

The businessman and former Economics Minister finished third with 13 percent of the vote.

Ms. Tymoshenko has offered him the prime minister's job, if she wins,  in exchange for an endorsement.  Tihipko says he is willing to serve as prime minister regardless of who wins. 

Many Ukrainians say the choice is difficult. Tymoshenko  opponents express fears of what they perceive as her authoritarian streak and poor economic skills.

Mr. Yanukovych's detractors cite his criminal record and say he would serve the interests of oligarchs.  He explains his two prison sentences for assault and robbery as errors of youth more than 40 years ago.

In Moscow, civil servant Yuri Traftov says Ukrainians need not worry.

"Well, what can one say, Ukraine has democracy," said Yuri Traftov. "They are electing a president and this is good. If they are not satisfied, they will elect another one."

No so for Russia.

Russia and Ukraine both prohibit more than two consecutive presidential terms,  

Neither Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin nor President Dmitri Medvedev has ruled out another presidential bid.

But Mr. Putin has also said they would decide between themselves who would run.

And whoever it is, hardly anyone doubts he will win.
 

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid