05/28/2014, 00.00
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Poroshenko’s Ukraine, an election miracle and future hopes

by Vladimir Rozanskij
The ‘king of chocolate’ won with 54%; the so-called "fascists" took only 0.9%: the "Ukrainian Spring" is not just a "terrorist operation supported by the CIA". But the elections, openly democratic, are not everything: amid the clamor of European Union economics and the pro-Russian fold, there are groups and people who want to be heard.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - After months of tensions and conflicts, Ukraine has elected Petro Poroshenko as its new president.  Many have been surprised at how democratically " normal " the ballot was: the much feared and reviled (especially by the Russians ) nationalists "followers of Bandera" and "fascists", violent extremists of the "Far Right", only gained 0.9% , showing that the new "Ukrainian Spring" is not a movement of terrorists and fanatics supported by the CIA , or other dark forces, but a true uprising of the people, who have a shared desire for change.

The new leader won a landslide victory, greater than expected, and gained a democratic legitimacy that on the eve was anything but a foregone conclusion. Recent months have been marked by deaths and injuries across the country; an important region such as the Crimea fell apart ; in two regions civil war continues, with real victims, like those killed yesterday at the airport in Donetsk.

In addition, neighboring Russia has tried in various ways to sabotage the elections; the corrupt and ousted former leader Yanukovich supports and finances the insurgency and violence from his exile, supported in turn by no less corrupt and violent forces within Russia itself . With this in mind, Poroshenko won with 54 % of the votes, without fraud or disputes : one might call it a  "Ukrainian miracle".

The elections pitted several worthy candidates from the old and new order against each other, these included the charismatic "heroine" Timoshenko, recovering from years of political persecution and imprisonment, with full press freedom and party financing by economic lobbies of all kinds, who openly and legitimately supported Poroshenko, but also Timoshenko, Tigipko, Dobkin and others.

Pro-Russian and Ukrainian nationalists, liberals and socialists were represented across the political spectrum and every citizen received an electoral card upon request, even those with no fixed abode or with double -even triple- nationalities.  Observers were everywhere and raised no objections to th procedures, it would be difficult to find more free and democratic elections ...

The new president has clearly expressed its priorities, which relate primarily to the normalization of the country, bringing peace to the eastern regions with a moderate use of force (to society, however, it is not that simple), but especially by fostering dialogue between all ethnic and social groups.

His most symbolic proclamation to date concerns the return of the Crimea to Ukraine and Ukrainians left in the defense of the peninsula, where the real way out is a federal agreement that would allow the eastern regions to remain with a foot in both camps, Russian and Ukrainian .

Poroshenko says he wants to maintain the current Prime Minister Yatsenjuk , but at the same time will call parliamentary elections as soon as possible (parliamentary disorders are one of the causes of the tensions in the country) .

He has also promised to resolve his own conflict of interest as soon as possible, by selling-off his assets, but not the private television "Fifth Channel", which gave critical support to the Majdan revolution. He has clear intentions to continue plans for economic cooperation and integration with the European Union, but also on negotiations with Putin, whom the new president should meet by June; the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has said Moscow will "respect the will of the people".

So everything is sorted then? The Poroshenko victory was complemented by that of his greatest supporter , ex- boxer Vitaly Klichko, leader of the "Udar" party (an acronym that means "punch"), who left the post of president to the candy magnate, to become in turn mayor of Kiev.

The challenge of the new Ukraine, that of a pro-European nationalism , intersects with the uncertain fate of the European Union itself, where winds of nationalism are blowing in exactly the opposite direction.

Beyond the restoration of order, this is the crux of the question. The Ukrainians are in fact quite accustomed to sudden changes, which have dogged their complex history and geography: a melting pot of peoples, such as the Balkans or the Caucasus , the area on both sides of the Dnepr is challenging other neighboring peoples and the entire European continent, on the issue of identity and coexistence.

Obviously the economic interests prevail, gas, manufacturing facilities and financial markets , but the Ukrainians have noted that there are also people, groups, families divided within not only by  practical reasons, but by their ideals and passions and even religions.

In the end the electoral victories and majorities in Ukraine, will make little difference: the issues at stake in the daily reality of people's lives cannot be measured by exit polls or percentage points. For centuries the Russian Empire, has pushed u - krainy, the most pressing problems, to its margins; Now it is a question of placing man and his complexity, with his often confused and contradictory aspirations and desires which cannot be reduced to a single dimension, at the center of any future progress.


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