THE SOURCE: “Counterrevolution in Kiev” by Rajan Menon and Alexander J. Motyl, in Foreign Affairs, Nov.–Dec. 2011.
In a stunning reversal of fortune, the villian of Ukraine's Orange Revolution, Viktor Yanukovych, won the January 2010 contest for the country's presidency fair and square, five years after he was denied the office following allegations of electoral fraud. How has the onetime Soviet republic fared in the two years since he became its chief executive? Horribly, say Rajan Menon, a professor of international affairs at Lehigh University, and political scientist Alexander J. Motyl, who teaches at Rutgers.
As many Ukrainians feared, Yanukovych has revealed himself to be a power-hungry, Soviet-style administrator. In his short time in office, he has broadened the powers of the presidency and brought the judiciary under his control. He has canceled government programs that promote Ukrainian language and culture, upsetting a large portion of the country that believes that the language deserves support after being suppressed by the Soviets. And he has signed over valuable port space in the Crimea to the Russian navy’s Black Sea fleet for what some see as a pittance. The recent imprisonment on corruption charges of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the populist firebrand who has considerable support in western Ukraine, is widely believed to be politically motivated and has further damaged the president’s image both at home and abroad.
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