News / Europe

Analysts See Notable Differences Between Ukrainian, Russian Elections

Ukrainian voters
Ukrainian voters
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid